MATCH REPORT: Cov defeat East Park for first time

Coventry Cycle Speedway Club finally managed to notch a win against their West Midlands opponents in the Midland League One fixture, with a strong performance against a battling young East Park side in Wolverhampton.

It started well for the visitors with new Australian signing Bobby McMillan, making his league debut, orchestrating a 6-4 with partner Mason Phillips in the first heat against Dave Ball and Jamie Whetton. East Park almost hit back in heat 2, in a race that required four restarts due to first bend bunching (pictured below). Eventually Coventry’s Charlie Barnett managed to hold Zac White from the start and let team mate Matt Lawrence through to even up the race with Jamie Ball out in front.

Matt Lawrence, Zak White and Charlie Barnett all aim for the same spot. Photo Paul Devine

Matt Lawrence, Zak White and Charlie Barnett all aim for the same spot. Photo Paul Devine

The following two¬†heats ended in stalemate, as despite their efforts, Coventry couldn’t turn over a heat advantage. However, Coventry extended their lead in heat 5 with Sam Bishop coming down heavy, causing the race to be stopped, with the exclusion of the East Park rider. Coventry’s McMillan raced away for the victory ahead of Whetton for a 6-3 to the Godiva City side.

East Park pulled the scores back to one point with a 7-3 from Jack Hibberd and fast prospect Jake White against Lawrence and Barnett. Coventry returned the favour a heat later though with Myke Grimes putting a dive in on Jamie Whetton, making way for Dan Drewett to come through into the lead for a 7-3.

Coventry then turned the screw in Heat 8, with McMillan and Phillips notching another 7-3 against Jamie Ball and Zac White. A squared heat followed in heat 9 leaving the scores at the interval at 40-49 to the visitors.

East Park rallied after the break with two 5-5s and a 7-3 for David Ball and Jamie Whetton against Lawrence and Barnett. Coventry hit back straight away with a 6-4 from McMillan and Phillips, followed by a Grimes/McLaughlin 7-3.

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McMillan and Phillips pairing is working well for Coventry. Photo Paul Devine.

Coventry did what was needed in the next few races, as they finished all square, before East Park added a final 6-4 in heat 17. It finished on a maximum return for Coventry in heat 18 though, with McMillan and Grimes completing paid maxes and taking a 7-0 final heat. After an all 4 restart, Hibberd moved at the tapes and then Jamie Ball had a bike malfunction off the start, leaving McMillan and Grimes to race away for the points alone.

It was the first time in the history of the two clubs that Coventry have won against East Park, although the Wolves are not as strong as they were last year, Coventry’s young riders in Mason Phillips and Dan Drewett are really starting to show maturity.¬†Even younger Jake Slatter scored well at reserve and was well looked after by his team mates, something the Coventry team did well all afternoon.

Coventry's Dan Drewett put in a well measured performance. Photo by Paul Devine.

Coventry’s Dan Drewett put in a well measured performance. Photo by Paul Devine.

East Park’s Jake White was looking fast and rode some great races, with Jamie Whetton putting in some quick gates and solid races. All in all it was a great advert for Cycle Speedway with a match ridden in a great spirit in front of a sizeable and vocal crowd, which attracted passers by all afternoon.

East Park 80
David Ball 12+1, Jamie Whetton 16, Jamie Ball 11+1, Zac White 9, Jake White 12, Jack Hibberd 10+1, Will Cartwright 8+1, Sam Bishop 2

Coventry 96
Mason Phillips 15, Bobby McMillan 19+1, Matt Lawrence 8+1, Charlie Barnett 10+2, Myke Grimes 18+2, Dan Drewett 11+1, Jake Slatter 8, Joe McLaughlin 7+2

For more information on Coventry Cycle Speedway, visit www.coventrycyclespeedway.co.uk.