Devils 45 Belle Vue 45
The only luck that the Plymouth Devils had in their clash with top of the table Belle Vue Colts was unfortunately bad but they battled on relentlessly and secured a league point with a 45-45 draw at the St Boniface Arena on Thursday night.
If it was going to go wrong it certainly did and turned a victory into a shared situation with Belle Vue returning to Manchester with two lucky league points.
The pattern started in heat 2 as the Devils attempted to claw themselves back from conceding a 5-1 in the first heat . Richard Andrews and William O’Keefe looked like they were going to reverse that as they sat on maximum 5-1 heat win only for young O’Keefe to hit the deck on turn four when in a comfortable second spot.
Then in heat 9 Henry Atkins and skipper Benji Compton were on another 5-1 when the 16 year old ‘s bike lifted violently coming out of bend two and he went hurtling into the air fence at high speed destroying two of the air bags. Thankfully he emerged unscathed with the track staff having to replace the air bags.
Then in heat 12 Benji Compton and the on form Richard Andrews were on another 5-1 before Andrews hit the deck and as he cleared the track the referee put the red stop lights and the race had to be re-run . And as what normally happens in thus situation Belle Vue’s Kyle Bickely took the race and gave his side a valuable 4-2 that put them in the lead 37-35with 3 heats remaining.
Heat 14 saw Atkins and Andrews produce a mammoth 5-1 to put the Devils two up at 43-41 and needing 3-3 in heat 15 to snatch the win.
The Devils Adam Roynon, carrying a hip injury from a crash guesting at lakeside the previous Saturday, was ruled out of being used having had to be lifted off his bike after heat 13 in pain. That meant Steve Boxall and Benji Compton lining up against the unbeaten Dan Bewley and Jack Smith .
Bewley shot into the lead followed by Boxall with Smith and Compton tussling for 3rd spot before Compton , trying an inside pass on bends 1 and 2 hit the deck. Boxall tried all he could to get past Bewley but he held on for victory to tie the meeting at 45-45. There was some superb speedway for the fans to enjoy but clearly the Devils had missed out on a great win by the bad luck they suffered.
Team Manager Laurence Rogers looked back at the lost points , “ We were so unlucky and really should have won this one .It is so frustrating at the moment as we should have won at Cradley now this so league points have been literally thrown away. The boys battled hard and I suppose at least we got one point from the clash but Belle Vue must count themselves as having stolen two points that puts them top if the table. It was great to see Richard Andrews back on form and had he not suffered his fall he would have had a paid 18 point maximum ! Adam Roynon was in pain all night and that curtailed his scoring and I could not consider him for heat 15 . It was a frustaring night for sure but the fans were treated to some top drawer racing.”TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
PLYMOUTH 45: Richard Andrews 12+3, Steve Boxall 10, Adam Roynon 9+1, Benji Compton 7+1, Henry Atkins 6+1, William O’Keefe 1+1, Callum Walker 0
BELLE VUE 45: Dan Bewley 15, Kyle Bickley 10+1, Jack Smith 8, Andy Mellish 7, Luke Priest 3+2, Luke Woodhull 2+1, Lee Payne r/r
National League points: Plymouth 1 Belle Vue 2