Friday May 27, 2022
BIRMINGHAM have a number of injury concerns after going down to a 52-36 defeat at Edinburgh in a meeting punctuated by a spate of crashes.

The Curtis Sport Brummies were already without No.1 Claus Vissing, who damaged his neck in Wednesday's incident with the starting tapes, and both reserves James Pearson and James Shanes were withdrawn during the meeting at Armadale.

And then to compound matters Stefan Nielsen was also withdrawn after the completion of racing, having continued to compete after a Heat 8 crash.

The first indications of a fraught night ahead came when Brummies guest Tom Brennan tangled with Edinburgh's Lasse Fredriksen as they went over the finish line in Heat 1, with both coming down but thankfully without injury.

However, that situation changed when Shanes and Monarchs guest Greg Blair collided on the first bend of Heat 2, with the resultant crash also bringing down Pearson who had made a good start from the outside.

Pearson was a non-starter for the re-run and was withdrawn with a chest problem, whilst Blair came to grief again in the second staging leaving only two finishers.

And the Brummies had more misfortune in Heat 3 when they held a 3-3 position only for Justin Sedgmen to hit mechanical trouble and then skipper Ashley Morris fell on turn three.

At that stage it was 13-4 in Edinburgh's favour and a big home score looked on the cards, but the Brummies battled away despite losing riders.

With Pearson already ruled out, Shanes was involved in a heavy Heat 6 crash with Fredriksen on the third bend as the riders were affected by the setting sun. The Norwegian was ruled out with a shoulder injury, whilst Shanes was unable to continue having damaged two helmets.

And there was more carnage in Heat 8 when Nielsen and Blair came down on the first bend, causing Jacob Hook to go into the fence.

Blair was disqualified and throughout the mid-stages of the meeting, the Brummies pegged their hosts with wins for Morris over Kye Thomson and Brennan impressively over Sam Masters.

Sedgmen was overtaken by a fired-up Josh Pickering in Heat 11 but then rode strongly to defeat Thomson in Heat 12, with the Brummies still only six points adrift at that stage.

But with the visitors depleted, the Monarchs were always likely to stretch clear at the end, especially with the powerful Masters/Pickering combination in Heats 13 and 15, who duly recorded two 5-1s as the latter completed a paid maximum.

Brummies boss Laurence Rogers said: "I'm very proud of the four riders we had remaining, who battled right to the end of the meeting and kept us in with a chance of a point. We had a lot of juggling of riders to do.

"James had pains in his chest so he was pulled out, and although he was a bit wobbly initially it wasn't concussion, and Shanesey has two helmets gone and he was battered and bruised anyway from yesterday in Germany.

"Stefan carried on after his crash, which was heavy landing, but he went to see the medics afterwards and they've sent him off to hospital to look at his shoulder."

Rogers now has the task of assessing team options ahead of Wednesday's local derby with Leicester at Perry Barr.

EDINBURGH 52: Josh Pickering 14+1, Sam Masters 13+1, Jacob Hook 9+2, Paco Castagna 7+1, Kye Thomson 7, Lasse Fredriksen 2+1, Greg Blair 0
BIRMINGHAM 36: Ashley Morris 11, Tom Brennan 10+1, Justin Sedgmen 7+2, Stefan Nielsen 4+1, James Shanes 4, James Pearson 0, Claus Vissing r/r
Championship points: Edinburgh 3 Birmingham 0

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