Stoke Potters have landed their first piece of silverware in five years after winning the National League Fours title in dramatic fashion last night.
Stoke went into the last heat of the final level on 12 points with Isle of Wight and Mildenhall with three sets of supporters shouting for their club, Potters rider Connor Coles hit the front from the start as Georgie Wood of the Isle of Wight took up the challenge and stalked him for the four laps.
Coming off the final bend with the two riders going for glory as the chequered flag went down two sets of supporters and teams were celebrating victory, a hush descended around the stadium riders and officials looking up awaiting the result and when Coles was announced as the winner by SCB referee Ronnie Allan it sent Potters supporters into cheers of celebration and some very emotional officials at the club burst into tears.
In the final the Isle of Wight stormed into a lead with Ben Morley and Georgie Wood taking victories in the opening two races, but they were pegged back by both Mildenhall and the Potters Tom Perry holding Danny Ayres at bay in the third heat and Jason Edwards getting the better of Drew Kemp as Coles fell and was disqualified.
Ben Morley edged the Isle of Wight four points clear as he took victory in heat 5 from Kemp and Perry leaving the Warriors in front on 11 points with the Potters and Tigers both on 7-points and Kent at the rear on 3-points.
National League Fours expert Luke Priest who has won the title 3-times now took a hard-fought victory from Jason Edwards who did everything to pass the Potter but just couldn’t find a way past with Chad Wirtzfeld taking third place.
In the penultimate heat of the final Danny Ayres took victory for Mildenhall with Joe Lawlor second and Kent’s Jordan Jenkins keeping Danno Verge at bay to send three clubs into the final race all square on 12-points.
An emotional Stoke team manager Adam Isherwood said “I’m on top of the world and what a result for Stoke Speedway. It puts us back on the map and some silverware on the shelf and it’s been a long time coming and it has been an absolutely fantastic night with some good racing and the right result for Stoke Potters. I couldn’t ask anything more from these lads here they never let me down and they keep plugging away and if they make a mistake in one ride they come back and do their best to put things right.
"The young lads in the team Corban Pavitt and Joe Alcock have been in the pits with us tonight and it’s been a whole team effort not only on the track but off it as well with the staff working hard behind the scenes this has truly been a club effort and everyone here should be proud and it’s been a great advert for National League speedway tonight.”
The Potters qualified for the final by winning Group A from the Isle of Wight, the Potters finishing four points ahead on 18-points with the Warriors on 14 knocking out both Cradley and Leicester.
Group B saw Mildenhall edge out Kent by a couple of points to take them through to the final with Belle Vue Colts and Leicester being eliminated.
STOKE 18: Joe Lawlor 6, Connor Coles 5, Luke Priest 4, Tom Perry 3.
ISLE OF WIGHT 14: Ben Morley 6, Danno Verge 4, Georgie Wood 3, Chad Wirtzfeld 1.
CRADLEY 8: Jack Smith 4, Dan Halsey 3, Tom Spencer 1, Harry McGurk 0.
LEICESTER 8: Dan Thompson 4, Joe Thompson 2, Danyon Hume 1, Ryan Terry-Daley 1.
MILDENHALL 16: Danny Ayres 6, Henry Atkins 4, Jason Edwards 4, Matt Marson 2.
KENT 14: Jordan Jenkins 6, Drew Kemp 3, Anders Rowe 3, Bailey Fellows 2.
PLYMOUTH 8: Ben Wilson 5, Richard Andrews 3, Luke Chessell 0, David Wallinger 0.
BELLE VUE 8: Connor Bailey 3, Jordan Palin 3, Kyle Bickley 2, Danny Phillips 0.
STOKE 15: Tom Perry 4, Luke Priest 4, Joe Lawlor 4 Connor Coles 3.
ISLE OF WIGHT 14: Ben Morley 6, Georgie Wood 5, Danno Verge 1, Chad Wirtzfeld 0.
MILDENHALL 13: Danny Ayres 5, Jason Edwards 5, Henry Atkins 3, Matt Marson 0.
KENT 6: Drew Kemp 4, Jordan Jenkins 1, Anders Rowe 1, Bailey Fellows 0.
DESPITE taking their first trophy in five years there is no rest for the Stoke A.R. Richards Potters as they make the trip to Suffolk to face the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National League at West Row on Sunday afternoon, 3pm.
The Potters will be without both Joe Lawlor and Connor Coles with both riders riding for the Championship clubs Leicester and Edinburgh respectively. Coming into replace them are two former Mildenhall riders with David Wallinger having just been released by the Tigers and last seasons’ Mildenhall captain Jordan Jenkins with both riders looking to prove a point against their former club.
The Tigers have a powerful heat-leader trio in Danny Ayres, Henry Atkins and Jason Edwards while they are back-up by Matt Marson and Charlie Brooks while Arran Butcher and Elliot Kelly complete the septet.
Adam Isherwood commented “We are going there to win and we know it will be difficult, we have chosen our guests wisely in two former Mildenhall riders who I’m sure will have a point to prove and hopefully we can get a result there.”
MILDENHALL: Danny Ayres, Matt Marson, Jason Edwards, Charlie Brooks, Henry Atkins, Arran Butcher, Elliot Kelly
STOKE: Tom Perry (Captain), Shelby Rutherford, Jordan Jenkins, Luke Priest, David Wallinger, Corban Pavitt, Joe Alcock