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Heathens 60 Isle of Wight 32
DUDLEY Heathens took a huge step towards the National League Knockout Cup final with a resounding semi-final first leg win.
The hosts won 14 heats at Monmore Green with skipper Adam Roynon landing an 11 point paid maximum.
Tom Perry top scored with 13+1, while Ashley Morris bounced back from a crash in his first race to win his next four.
Kyle Hughes claimed the only race win for the Isle of Wight, who now have a mountain to climb in next month’s second leg.
They are unlikely to reach the summit against a Heathens seven who are all contributing points at the moment.
Given their dominance in race wins, the winning margin should have been greater but for some sloppy errors by the hosts in the first half of the meeting, which allowed the Islanders to peg the gap at eight points between heats four and nine.
Morris lost control when comfortably in the lead of heat four, while Hughes was pretty much handed the visitor’s only win of the night when Perry nearly went off on lap one of the next heat - the Dudley rider re-mounting his bike after appearing to momentarily lose his seat.
Dan Greenwood fell on the first bend of heat eight, allowing Islanders boss Chris Hunt to escape embarrassment after the rather bizarre decision to hand reserve rider Gary Cottham the first tactical ride. Jamie White-Williams won the re-run for the Heathens, with Cottham finishing second to take four points as team-mate Ben Hopwood slowed on the line to let him through. The hosts hit further trouble in heat nine when Byron Bekker crashed out when riding in a comfortable second to Perry.
But the visitors, as for the rest of the meeting, couldn’t take full advantage of the Heathens mistakes. Perry passed Paul Starke in thrilling fashion on the final bend of the re-run to maintain the eight point lead and the hosts proceeded to dominate the remainder of the match.
Morris and Darryl Ritchings blocked out Hughes’ tactical ride in heat 11 and five of the final six races were 5-1s for the hosts, who edged closer to another piece of silverware.
HEATHENS: Tom Perry 13+1, Ashley Morris 12, Adam Roynon 11+1, Darryl Ritchings 7+3, Byron Bekker 6+2, Dan Greenwood 6, James White Williams 5+1.
ISLANDERS 32: Kyle Hughes 7+1, Danny Stoneman 6+3, Danny Warwick 6, Gary Cottham 5+1, Paul Starke 4, Ben Hopwood 3+1, Aaron Baseby 1.
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