Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting DN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Heathens 68 Isle of Wight 22
10:56pm Tuesday 4th September 2012 in Sport
DUDLEY Heathens secured the National League Leaders Trophy with a crushing win over the Isle of Wight.
The former Cradley club can now not be caught at the top of the standings and will have their pick of play-off opponents.
Guest Ashley Birks was one of three Heathens riders to score paid maximums as the hosts racked up 11 5-1s.
Paul Starke led the visitors with eight points after a battling display which saw him take their only heat win.
The Leaders Trophy is the second piece of silverware in the Heathens’ cabinet this season and they will be hoping for two more before the campaign is out.
Tonight’s visitors could well find themselves back at Monmore in the play-offs, a trip they will not relish after shipping more than 60 points at the venue for the second time this season.
In reality, the first half of this meeting saw far closer racing than witnessed in June’s Knockout Cup clash, thanks in large part to the efforts of the unlucky Starke.
He kept his nerve under severe pressure from Ashley Morris to grab victory in heat four but from then on fortune rarely ventured his way.
A tactical ride in heat seven went awry when, after holding off the challenge of Morris and Darryl Ritchings, he lost his steel shoe on the final lap allowing the Heathens to nab the points.
Two heats later, he was passed by the magnificent Tom Perry on the final bend after another titanic tussle.
Perry was in mean form and was only denied a full maximum by Morris in heat 15. Meanwhile, Ritchings picked up his second consecutive paid maximum as the hosts claimed 5-1s in nine of the final ten heats to streak away on the scorecard and finish the regular season in style.
DUDLEY 68: Tom Perry 14+1, Ashley Morris 13+1, Ashley Birks 11+1, Darryl Ritchings 9+3, Dan Greenwood 9+1, James White Williams 7+2, Byron Bekker 5+2 ISLE OF WIGHT 22: Paul Starke 8, Danny Warwick 5, Steve Jones 3, Ben Hopwood 2+1, Ross Walter 2, Danny Stoneman 2, Aaron Baseby R/R