Wednesday June 22, 2016
BIRMINGHAM will take a slender advantage into the National Trophy Final second leg on Monday after a 47-43 home win against Kent.

The result means the Surestop Brummies are now the only unbeaten side in British Speedway this season.

It was another close contest throughout with both teams having their fair share of luck and misfortune.

The Brummies led by six-points with eight heats gone, but let their advantage slip as Kent pulled back level and the scores remained tied up until heat 13.

A 5-1 from Darryl Ritchings and Jack Smith in heat 14 would prove pivotal in the end as Kent were denied a draw when skipper Luke Bowen fell whilst the visitors were on a maximum heat advantage of their own in the last.

A frustrated team manager Graham Drury admitted he had mixed emotions after the first leg.

"It's really hard to sum up how I'm feeling because although we've won, it could and should have been by more," said Drury.

"When we started to hit form mid-meeting, I thought we were going to take off and get the double-figure lead we had targeted prior to the start of the meeting.

"But we threw some needless, silly points away on a number of occasions and only time will tell if they will prove costly or not.

"However, if you'd have said your heat-leaders will have a tough old night and you'd still come away with any sort of victory I'd have snapped your hands off.

"Matt Williamson gave it his all but things just didn't quite go his way, Darryl (Ritchings) didn't have the most spectacular of meetings but was solid and obviously there's nobody more frustrated with Zach (Wajtknecht) than Zach himself right now.

"Danyon Hume and the two Jacks (Parkinson-Blackburn and Smith) at reserve were tremendous once again and credit to them for continuing their super form.

"We win as a team and when and if it happens, we'll lose as a team.

"We've showed that we all stick together and battle for each other and while Kent may feel they will be favourites, we will be going there and giving it everything we've got on Monday to try and secure our first silverware of the season."

Reserve duo Jack Parkinson-Blackburn and Jack Smith both smashed paid double-figures for the third meeting in a row as the two teenagers continued their spectacular run of form.

Danyon Hume provided another vital contribution from the middle-order of the team as he also reached double-figures for the third time this season.

Darryl Ritchings produced another solid display while guest Matt Williamson's tally was hampered after falling while leading his opening three rides.

Zach Wajtknecht suffered an engine failure on the start-line in his first outing before picking up his only three points of the evening with a win in heat six on another tough and frustrating night for the youngster.

Sidelined duo Tom Perry and Tom Bacon both successfully came through a spin after the meeting and could be in contention for a return to the team for Sunday's National League trip to Coventry.

BIRMINGHAM 47: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 11+3, Danyon Hume 11+1, Jack Smith 10+1, Darryl Ritchings 7, Matt Williamson 5+1, Zach Wajtknecht 3, Tom Bacon R/R.

KENT 43: Danny Ayres 15, Luke Bowen 10, James Shanes 8+1, Jack Thomas 5+2, David Mason 3, Luke Clifton 1, Danno Verge 0.

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