| BIRMINGHAM suffered a 47-43 opening night defeat to Cradley in the West Midlands Trophy Challenge at Perry Barr. |
The Surestop Brummies fought back from a six point deficit to go into the final race level, but Danyon Hume and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn couldn't stop former team-mate Tom Perry and Danny Ayres from sealing a Heat 15 5-1.
It was a first home defeat for Birmingham since October 2015, but team boss Graham Drury says there's more to come from his side.
"At the end of the day, this was our first meeting as a team and to run Cradley close was a good effort under the circumstances," Drury said.
"Cradley raced at Perry Barr last week and thrashed King's Lynn - and having that extra meeting under their belt gave them an advantage I feel.
"While it's always nice to beat your local rivals, this was a challenge meeting and it was about blowing the cobwebs away ahead of our first league fixture next week.
"I thought Danyon Hume and Layne Cupitt in particular were outstanding. Darryl Ritchings and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn rode very well and we know Tom Bacon won't have many meetings like that one.
"As for Chris Hay and Macauley Leek, they'll learn from tonight but with Chris especially, he showed his gating prowess and he'll steadily improve as the season progresses."
Danyon Hume secured three classy race wins on his way to 12 points as he was voted the Ductair Electrics Ltd Rider of the Night.
Layne Cupitt impressed on his debut, scoring paid double figures with a notable scalp of experienced National League racer Dan Greenwood in a 5-1 with Darryl Ritchings in Heat 12.
Ritchings himself was solid with two race wins to his name in his first meeting of the year while Jack Parkinson-Blackburn was in the mix in all but one of his rides when he slid off on bend four.
Tom Bacon had a rare off night at No.1 while Chris Hay and Macauley Leek endured a tough opener.
The Brummies travel to King's Lynn next Wednesday (April 12) as they begin their defence of the National League title before hosting the Young Stars at Perry Barr on Good Friday (April 14, 7.30).
WEST MIDLANDS TROPHY
BIRMINGHAM 43: Danyon Hume 12, Layne Cupitt 9+1, Darryl Ritchings 8+2, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7+2, Tom Bacon 5, Chris Hay 1+1, Macauley Leek 1.
CRADLEY 47: Danny Ayres 12+2, Tom Perry 12, Dan Greenwood 9+1, Luke Harris 9, Joe Lawlor 3, Ryan Burton 2, Conor Dwyer R/R.
Picture: STEVE FEENEY
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