Wednesday October 19, 2016
BIRMINGHAM will take a slender six point lead into the second leg of the Knockout Cup Final after a 48-42 home win over Eastbourne.

It leaves the tie on a knife edge ahead of the decider at Arlington on October 30, with the Surestop Brummies knowing plenty of work will be required when they go to East Sussex.

With some of the best racing of the season on display at Perry Barr, the two evenly matched sides battled away in a tense encounter throughout.

With former No.1 Adam Ellis coasting to a full maximum on his return to his old circuit, the Brummies have talented teenage duo Jack Smith and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn to thank in the main for claiming a first leg victory. They outscored their Eastbourne counterparts 27-2 in the reserve berths but Brummies boss Graham Drury admits it was a frustrating night overall.

"After being ten points up half way through the meeting, I'm a little bit disappointed to only be going into the second leg six up," said Drury.

"We threw away some silly points and there was a lot of panicking mechanical wise in the pits tonight as well.

"We've had a chat as a team and we know we need to cut those mistakes and worries out and get back to what we've been doing all season long.

"Our two reserves were the difference in the end tonight and they were absolutely superb.

"The rest of the lads know they are much better than their scores suggest tonight, but we have to learn from it and make sure we finish the season off with some trophies!"

Jack Smith was voted Ductair Electrics Ltd Rider of the Night as he and reserve partner Jack Parkinson-Blackburn were once again in devastating from. The duo combined for three huge 5-1s as the teenagers enjoyed another sensational night on the shale.

Captain Tom Perry had an up and down night overall but started and finished on a high. He claimed a maximum race advantage with Parkinson-Blackburn in heat four before making a crucial pass around the outside of Ellis Perks in the final race to deny him an unbeaten night.

Darryl Ritchings and guest No. 1 Mitchell Davey both struggled for speed, but the ten points between them could prove to be significant over the two legs.

Tom Bacon endured his toughest night of the season as he slid off whilst leading heat three before being taken out of his final programmed ride.

The Brummies travel to Manchester on Friday as they wrap up their regular National League programme against the Belle Vue Colts before heading to Eastbourne on Sunday for the first leg of the National League Play-Off Grand Final.

BIRMINGHAM 48: Jack Smith 14+2, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 13+3, Tom Perry 8+1, Darryl Ritchings 5+2, Mitchell Davey 5+1, Tom Bacon 3+1, Danyon Hume R/R.

EASTBOURNE 42: Adam Ellis 15, Ellis Perks 13, Jake Knight 7, Connor Coles 5+2, Luke Harris 1, Tom Brennan 1, Gary Cottham R/R.

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