CRADLEY 43 BRUMMIES 43

Monday August 21, 2017
LIAM Carr struck a stunning 15-point maximum and was Birmingham’s last-heat hero as they drew 43-43 against Cradley at Monmore Green.

The Surestop Brummies were involved in a Travel Plus National League thriller against their local rivals and eventually had to settle for two vital points.

They looked set for more when they led by 10 points after nine races – but the Heathens staged a brave comeback and could have snatched it in the closing stages.

The two sides went into the final race level, and Carr capped off a faultless performance with a composed victory whilst Cradley pair Tom Perry and Danny Ayres shut out Tom Bacon at the back.

Carr was delighted to ensure they withstood the Heathens’ late onslaught – and he believes they can consider themselves happy with a draw in what was a crucial meeting for the play-off hopes of both clubs.

Said Carr: “It would’ve been nice to get that win, and we had a comfortable lead at one point but it ended up even going into the last race.

“In the end, two points was better than one so we’ve got to be pleased with it and it pushes us a little bit further ahead of Cradley.

“It’s strengthened our position in third place and gives us a better chance to make the play-offs, so although we’re frustrated it wasn’t a bit more we’ve got to be pretty pleased overall.”

Carr was in imperious form throughout against a powerful Heathens’ side, whilst Tom Bacon offered tremendous back-up as the visitors won the battle of the heat-leaders.

Bacon dusted himself down from a crash when he collided with Ayres in heat seven to cruise around for a 3-0 after both Paul Bowen and Layne Cupitt had pulled up.

Meanwhile, Carr forced Ayres into a mistake whilst chasing in heat four as the Brummies were gifted a 5-0 to take the lead before he picked off Richard Hall on the line in heat nine to move them 10 clear.

No.1 Jack Parkinson-Blackburn won his opening two rides to set the tone, and Taylor Hampshire snatched a vital third place from Conor Dwyer on the run to the line in the penultimate race.

Guest Alex Spooner showed plenty of maturity to notch paid six, and although Cupitt experienced a night to forget the Brummies claimed a hard-earned draw.

They will be back in action as they host top of the table Belle Vue in a huge meeting at Perry Barr on Wednesday (7.30).

CRADLEY 43: Conor Dwyer 14+1, Tom Perry 8+1, Richard Hall 8+1, Luke Harris 7+3, Danny Ayres 5+2, Paul Bowen 1, Sam Wright (no.8) 0, Joe Lawlor R/R.
BIRMINGHAM 43: Liam Carr 15, Tom Bacon 13, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7, Alex Spooner 4+1, Taylor Hampshire 3+1, Layne Cupitt 1, David Mason R/R.

Picture: JOHN HIPKISS

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