Wednesday August 29, 2018
BIRMINGHAM’S play-off destiny will now be decided on the road after a 43-47 defeat to Coventry at Perry Barr.

The Brummies head to Plymouth on Friday and Stoke on Saturday, along with three further trips to come, and almost certainly need to win at least two of them if they are to keep in touch for the top four once other sides have completed their fixtures.

Already without Danyon Hume after his crash at Kent on Monday, the last thing they needed was to lose another rider early in the meeting.

But Callum Walker, who would have been required to take five rides, was ruled out after a nasty smash in the very first race which left him with hand and foot injuries.

Walker had made a good start but was overtaken on either side by Bees duo Connor Mountain and Danny Phillips, and the home man was squeezed between the pairing before clipping Phillips’ rear wheel and crashing into the fence on the back straight.

That put enormous pressure on at both top and bottom of the team, and major heat advantages were always going to be hard to come by until the Brummies could pair their big guns in the closing stages.

Tom Bacon, James Shanes and Leon Flint did all they could under the circumstances, but the Bees took full advantage of their all-round strength especially against the inexperienced home reserves to build a lead.

They carded 5-1s in Heats 2 and 8 which both appeared to be vulnerable races for the Brummies, and the hosts lost another point in Heat 3 when Luke Ruddick rounded Flint as the youngster suffered from a loose seat.

A ten-point advantage always looked enough for the visitors going in the closing stages, although the Brummies battled on with Flint this time passing Ruddick in Heat 12, and then Bacon and Shanes both went past Mountain in one of the races of the season for a 5-1 in the next.

But the Bees secured victory in Heat 14 with Luke Harris and Jamie Halder content to share the points behind Flint.

The final margin would have been down to two points but for Shanes hitting trouble in Heat 15, but the overall equation remained unchanged and the Brummies now have it all to do.

Edwards Plumbing Brummies Team Manager Laurence Rogers said: “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, if we didn’t have bad luck we wouldn’t have any luck at all.

“It was going to take a big effort from the boys just being without Danyon, but then to lose Callum on the very first lap of the very first race left us even more up against it.

“We send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery naturally and we cannot fault the effort and commitment from the boys.

“Our top three were absolutely superb and it was just a shame the two reserves couldn’t chip in with a point or two more each but it was always going to be tough for them against that Coventry team.

“It’s disappointing after putting up a real fight but we have to move on now and make sure we put a few more decent performances in on the road with a patched up side again.”

BIRMINGHAM 43: Leon Flint 16, James Shanes 12+1, Tom Bacon 12, Josh Embleton 3, Sheldon Davies 0, Callum Walker 0, James Chattin (Number 8) 0, Danyon Hume R/R

COVENTRY 47: Connor Mountain 10, Luke Harris 9+3, Luke Ruddick 9, Danny Phillips 6+2, Jon Armstrong 6, Jamie Halder 4+3, Ryan MacDonald 3+2.

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