HITMEN 38 EASTBOURNE 52

Sunday June 25, 2017
Eastbourne breezed into Hi-Edge and underlined their title credentials in taking this win in a hard-fought Travel Plus National League encounter.

The teams were fairly closely matched for half of this meeting and when guest Kyle Bickley and Lee Geary combined to notch-up a 5-1 in heat 7 the teams were within two points of each other. It was only then that the Eagles strength in depth prevailed and they pulled away to seal the victory even then the home side were not done as skipper Tom Woolley and Lee Geary combined in heat 14 to register their second maximum heat win. After the meeting Buxton team boss Jason Pipe was full of praise for the visitors

‘I think today we've now come across the 2nd team that will be contesting the 2017 NL play-off final together with Belle Vue!! It was always going to be an uphill battle against a strong team, who are still unbeaten this season. Well done to Eastbourne on their win. It's just a shame we couldn't have kept close to them all the way to a last heat decider. After heat 7 when the progressive scored stood at 20-22, I really did think at that point that we could have. But the turning point came in heat 8, when we disappointingly gave away a 5-1 and then a 4-2 in the next, which then left us with a bit of a mountain to climb. Their strength took hold during the second half of the meeting and we were unfortunately no match for them. To be fair the lads all give it a good go and they shouldn't be too down hearted after that defeat. It was good to see debutant Ben Woodhull score a few points, which will have given him a good confidence boost. Shelby was very unlucky today. In two of his rides the track just caught him out and in his last race, that he very nearly came to being pulled out of, I think he was just over trying and came down having too much speed going into the first bend on lap 3, which was very unfortunate because Shelby had worked so hard to get in to that 3rd Place from the start of the race. Yes, I did nearly pull Shelby out of that race. It's not nice pulling riders out of a race and I had another little think about it and I said to myself, the win had gone from us now so it was best to leave Shelby in his last ride. Just one good ride can ride you out of a bad patch and that last race could have been it for Shelby and he was having a great ride until he unfortunately came off trying too hard. Ryan Kinsley was having bike issues and has apologised for that today and he'll have sorted that out for our next meeting against Cradley at Wolverhampton. It was good to see Max lead the team like that again and also getting involved and passing on his advice to his team mates. Tom Woolley rode really well and rode like we should be expecting him to, in most home meetings now. Lee Geary rode his socks off today and it was good to see him get the 5 points at reserve that I require from him each home meeting’

Pipe went on to bemoan the absence of talisman Matt Williamson

‘One thing that is really standing out at the moment is how much we miss Matt Williamson when he's not with us. We've only got 2 heat leaders in this team and when Matt is missing we only have one and having to rely then more on the rest of the team to get a couple of extra points each. Kyle Bickley came to guest for Matt today, but it was in a very difficult spot in the side at number 5 and a position he'd never found himself in before and he did find it a little too much on the day. In fact his battling efforts deserved more points than he actually scored.’

It’s now a long break until the next home meeting for the Hitmen

‘It's such a shame that we now have to go 5 weeks without a home meeting. It's not ideal at all. Apart from Max & Matt, our lads are not getting enough track time in like a lot of other riders in this league. The big gap in home fixtures is the last thing our riders needed at the moment, as it will be like starting our home season all over again!’

BUXTON 38: Max Clegg 13, Tom Woolley 10+1, Lee Geary 5+3, Kyle Bickley 4, Ben Woodhull 3, Ryan Kinsley 2+1, Shelby Rutherford 1.

EASTBOURNE 52: Jake Knight 14, Mark Baseby 10+1, Charley Powell 9+3, Georgie Wood 9, Tom Brennan 6+1, Matt Bates 2+1, William O’Keefe 2+1.