Wednesday March 18, 2015
BIRMINGHAM endured a tough return to the shale as they suffered a 63-27 defeat against Cradley in their season-opener at Perry Barr.

The Surestop Brummies put in a battling display in front of a bumper crowd before eventually being undone by their highly-rated neighbours in an entertaining clash.

Despite the defeat, there was a feel-good factor around the packed terraces as the Birmingham supporters celebrated their emotional return following nine months away from the track.

There were certainly a number of positives for Graham Drury’s side to take from the meeting, although Cradley’s fast-starting ultimately proved their undoing.

However, Drury was nonetheless keen to look on the bright side as his young team displayed some encouraging signs against the National League’s defending Champions.

Said Drury: “Obviously the score wasn’t what we wanted but there were a lot of positives. I’ll stick to what I said prior to the match, that leagues aren’t won on this performance.

“The purpose of these sorts of meetings is obviously to try and win, but the main thing is that the lads really did learn an awful lot tonight.

“It was a learning curve, and we’ve got a lot to work on, but it was great to see everyone out practising to work on things after the meeting and I’m sure we’ll be much more prepared when the National League campaign does start.”

No.1 Adam Ellis experienced a torrid evening, falling on a tight first bend as he took a tactical ride in heat six before suffering bike troubles as he battled for the lead in heat 10.

It was also a debut to forget for Harvie Banks as his evening was summed up by a blown engine in his final ride, whilst Zach Wajtknecht and Alex Wilson struggled at reserve despite showing encouraging pace as the meeting progressed.

Skipper Tom Perry put in a determined display to lead the side, completing the ride of the night as he rounded Matt Williamson to provide Birmingham’s first race winner in heat seven.

There were also solid showings from Sam Chapman and Adam Kirby in the engine room of the side as the Brummies put up a resilient fight against a much more experienced Heathens side.

The two sides will again do battle next Wednesday (7.30) in the second leg of the Travel Plus Tours Challenge for the Dan McCormick Memorial Trophy at Perry Barr.

BIRMINGHAM 27: Tom Perry 10, Sam Chapman 6, Adam Kirby 4+2, Adam Ellis 3, Zach Wajtknecht 2, Alex Wilson 2, Harvie Banks 0

CRADLEY 63: Max Clegg 14, Matt Williamson 12, Ellis Perks 11+1, Michael Neale 9+1, Nathan Greaves 8+2, Arron Mogridge 7+4, Luke Harris 2+1


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