After just five heat wins from their previous 30, Buxton began this meeting with three victories and supporters could have been forgiven for thinking that their season-long wait for a home win was on the cards. However, Coventry Storm were in no mood to lay-down and make things easy for the Hitmen. Coventry who remain the only team to have lost to Buxton this season were never more than five points behind as the home side contrived to throw away lead they held until the end of Heat 14.
Despite those three heat wins, it was not a totally smooth start to the meeting with returnee Ryan Burton aggravating a hand injury in heat 3, forcing him to withdraw from this meeting and making him doubtful for the forthcoming trips to both the Isle of Wight and Birmingham. Burton in his debut season with the Hitmen fell in his first outing and following medical advice took no further part.
Once again Buxton relied heavily on their Australian reserve Shelby Rutherford to cover Burton’s rides and he combined with Ryan Blacklock in Heat 5 to register a rare 5-1 this season yet it was injuries to these two riders that ultimately contributed to the demise of the Hitmen. Blacklock who registered eight points from his first three rides crashed heavily in Heat 10 resulting in a face wound that will require stitches he then picked up some drive whilst a comfortable second in heat 14 and collided with the home straight safety fence. Rutherford picked up a shoulder injury in heat 11 in a first bend collision that sent the visitors Dan Greenwood to A & E with a suspected broken collarbone. The popular Aussie still managed to top score with 10 + 3 but was forced to withdraw from his final ride.
It was and eventful debut from David Wallinger who struggled early on only to win heat 8 and have a chain snap in his next ride when handily placed. “It’s a bit different to any track I’ve ridden before but it’s my first competitive meeting for eight years” – He showed great promise and will improve.
For the visitors Ex-Hitman Liam Carr was supreme an untroubled five wins from his five rides including the all-important heat 15 where he clinched the league win for his team with the impressive Mitchell Davey.
Carr was surprised the bike he had brought to D & P Raceway performed quite so well speaking post-match he elaborated; “I knew it was a good bike it’s the second one I use for Berwick (his Premier League team) but didn’t expect it to go so well around here – it’s a bit of a missile!”
For Buxton Jason Pipe he has to re-group and get his team together for the visit to the Isle of Wight; “I’m pretty much speechless after that. Injuries and thrown away points but I thought we had done it. All credit to Laurence (Rogers) and his team they needed and away win as much as we needed a home one well done to them. I’m already thinking about our next meeting later this week on the Island (Isle of Wight) I’m unsure what we can do to cover Burt (Ryan Burton) it looks like our only option is an unattached 3-pointer. Lee (Dicken) is back and Ellis Perks will guest for Ollie Greenwood, I have a few more phone calls to make. It will take a little bit of thought to sort this out.”
The Hitmen’s next home meeting is Sunday 21st August when the Isle of Wight Warriors are the visitors.
BUXTON 42: Shelby Rutherford 10+3, Ellis Perks 10, Ryan Blacklock 8, Tony Atkin 8, David Wallinger 4, Lee Geary (No.8) 2+1, Ryan Burton 0, David Speight r/r.
COVENTRY 46: Liam Carr 15, Mitchell Davey 11, Jamie Halder 7+2, Conor Dwyer 5+1, Callum Walker 5, Ryan Terry-Daley 3+2, Dan Greenwood 0.