Stoke Potters were held to a 45-45 draw by the Isle of Wight in the National League last night.
The Potters took the lead early on with a 5-1 advantage from Joe Lawlor and Luke Priest after Chad Wirtzfeld had fallen while in second place and they continued to maintain a four point advantage until the Warriors gained a 4-2 advantage from Ben Morley and former Potter Chris Widman over Potters skipper Tom Perry, but it was Stoke that were still in front 19-17 after six heats.
The home side went behind in heat eight as Wirtzfeld and Widman combined for a 5-1 over Joe Alcock after Shelby Rutherford was excluded after falling as the Warriors went in front for the first time in the meeting, they extended their lead in the following race as Morley took his fourth successive victory ahead of Joe Lawlor with Connor King taking third place giving the visitors a 29-25 lead after nine races.
The Isle of Wight maintained their four point advantage until heat twelve as Lawlor took the chequered flag ahead of Scott Campos with Alcock taking third place for a 4-2 heat advantage and the Potters then went on to regain the lead with a 5-1 heat win with Perry coming from third to first swooping around Morley and then his partner Connor Coles as the Stoke duo lowered Morley’s colours for the first time, giving the Potters a 40-38 lead with two heats remaining.
Widman gated in the penultimate race ahead of Luke Priest who pressured the visitor but just couldn’t find a way past the Warrior with Campos taking third place for a Warriors 4-2 drawing the sides level at 42 all.
In the final race the team managers named the same riders as in heat 13, but Morley made no mistake and took the chequered flag despite the efforts of Perry who tried inside and out to pass the Warrior who seemed to place his bike just in the right spots at the right time with Coles third to draw the meeting.
Potters rider Joe Lawlor commented “I’m a little gutted that we didn’t win tonight and perhaps we may have thought we were going to walk away with it and made the mistake of under estimating the Isle of Wight, but everyone has worked hard tonight and chipped in and we can’t really complain if I’m being honest as we win, draw or lose as a team. Personally it was a tough night for me as I’ve been struggling with my clutches lately and I’ve been trying a few new things and they were working in this league but when you step up as I’ve done it’s a different story and harder and things were not working, but I feel towards the end of the meeting I got things working so I’m pleased with that.”
STOKE 45: Tom Perry 13, Connor Coles 10+2, Joe Lawlor 10, Joe Alcock 6+1, Luke Priest 5+2, Kieran Douglas 1+1, Shelby Rutherford 0.
ISLE OF WIGHT 45: Ben Morley 16, Chris Widman 9+2, Jack Smith 7, Scott Campos 6, Chad Wirtzfeld 5+2, Connor King 2+1, Danno Verge r/r.