Wednesday April 20, 2016
CHAMPIONS Birmingham launched the defence of their Travel Plus National League title by crushing rivals Cradley 55-35 at Perry Barr.

Both teams were unbeaten, but it was the Surestop Brummies who went marching on as they continued their sublime form from the National Trophy and Knockout Cup.

The Brummies had luck on their side in heat one when Zach Wajtknecht snatched the win on the line from Cradley skipper Max Clegg who suffered mechanical problems off the final turn.

Reserve duo Jack Smith and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn kept their 100% home heat two record going as they registered a 5-1 to give the reigning Champions an early six point advantage.

Eight of the next ten heats would be shared before the home side kicked on in style.

In one of the best races fans will see this season, Wajtknecht and Tom Perry bamboozled their opponents to creep either side of Clegg and Ashley Morris as they secured the full three league points with a 5-1 in heat 13.

Two 4-2 heat advantages would follow as the Brummies wrapped up a 20-point victory in the big Midlands derby.

Team manager Graham Drury said: "What a tremendous way that was to get our 2016 National League programme up and running!

"It was a great advert for National League speedway, there were some terrific battles on track and thankfully the result went our way as well.

"While I feel we fully deserved all the league points tonight, I have to be honest and say I didn't think the scoreline reflected the entertainment.

"There were some top class speedway races out there and full credit to the Cradley riders as well for playing their part.

"The crowd was absolutely unbelievable and once again it was one of the highest attendances we've had here at Perry Barr.

"This group of riders are something special and they're making people want to come and stand on the terraces and see the class and potential that they've got.

"This is yet another great confidence booster and it keeps the momentum going into what is another busy weekend for the team."

The Surestop Brummies travel to Stoke in the National Trophy on Saturday before making the trip to Rye House for the second leg of their Knockout Cup tie.

BIRMINGHAM 55: Zach Wajtknecht 12+1, Tom Perry 11, Darryl Ritchings 10, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7+4, Danyon Hume 6+2, Tom Bacon 6+2, Jack Smith 3.

CRADLEY 35: Ashley Morris 10, Luke Chessell 9+1, Max Clegg 9, Jack Kingston 3+1, Bradley Andrews 2, Ben Basford 2, James Purchase 0.

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