MATCH REPORT: Coventry juniors still in with a chance after edging out Leicester

In one of the most enjoyable and exciting matches of the season, Coventry`s Midland Junior League team (U14s) kept up their challenge for league championship glory by winning at Leicester by 65-63 on Tuesday evening (29th September).

The opening heats were shared and by heat 5, the scores were still level at 25 points all. The Ben Wells/Jack Reynolds partnership broke the deadlock by taking heat 6 for Coventry, followed by a maximum heat success to the Jimmy Wassall/Bailie Phillips pairing in heat 7.

Urged on by dozens of Coventry parents and supporters, the city whizz-kids just held on in the final heats, with the speedy Wells ensuring victory in heat 12 with his third win of the evening.

This win means the Midland Junior League championship title will be decided at Hearsall Common on Sunday 18th October, when Coventry entertain Birmingham. The title decider will start at 3.30pm.

Coventry point scorers:

Ben Wells 15, Bailie Phillips 12, Jimmy Wassall 9, Sam Slatter 9, Jack Reynolds 9, Jacob Slezak 5 and James Morris 4.

The Coventry junior side

The Coventry junior side | Back row L-R: Sam Slatter, Ben Wells, Jimmy Wassall, Carl Wassall (manager), Bailie Phillips, Jacob Slezak. Front Row L-R: Jack Reynolds, James Morris.

The reformed Brandon Bees team were also in action under the Leicester floodlights on Tuesday evening (29th September) and they sprang a late selection shock by fielding the returning Kyle Roberts in their starting line-up in the Midland League division 2.

Roberts, who also races for Mercia Vikings Speedway team, has missed most of the Cycle Speedway season in his efforts to break into motor speedway. However, the 16 year old jumped at the chance for another pedal sport outing and he looks set for more racing in the final weeks of the season.

Bretford based Roberts was soon into his stride, winning his first comeback race, on the way to a top scoring 17 points for the Bees as Brandon just went down by the narrowest of margins – 65 to 64 – in a pulsating last heat decider.

Brandon Bees points scorers:

Kyle Roberts 17, Dan Drewett 12, Ollie Morris 9, Jake Slatter 9, Matt Hambidge 9 and Sammi Marsh 8.

Brandon make a quick return to the track by completing a successful comeback year by racing their final match of the campaign in Wolverhampton this Tuesday evening (6th October) at the impressive East Park venue.

Coventry Cycle Speedway team raced to their third successive home Midland League victory last Sunday at sun-soaked Hearsall Common after overcoming a gallant and ever trying Wednesfield Dragons side in an entertaining affair.

The Hearsall Common based side, enjoying a busy end of season schedule of matches, posted a 96-82 score line to confirm a hat-trick of league wins for the first time this year. This win moves Coventry up to third in the Midland League standings.

The first race set the scene for an exciting afternoon of racing. Wednesfield hit the front on the first bend but by the end of the opening lap both Coventry riders – teenager Dan Drewett and Australian ace Bobby McMillan – had stormed to the front.

Great Britain star Myke Grimes rode a textbook race to account for heat two for the home side but it was World junior number 7 Mason Phillips who secured a Coventry heat success with some clever tactical riding to take the important third place.

McMillan was involved in more exciting racing in heat 4. Trailing from the tapes, the robust Australian soon made up ground, and, in a perfect team riding manoeuvre, he skilfully passed his Wednesfield opponent and brought teammate Josh Marsh to the front.

At this stage, Coventry were 23-16 ahead and seemingly set for a comfortable afternoon. However, Wednesfield hit back with two heat successes of their own and trailed by just 5 points, 47-42, at half time.

In heat 10, Coventry`s combative junior Matt Hambidge took an alarming spill, allowing Wednesfield to further close the gap to just 3 points in arrears.

However, a timely Grimes/Phillips maximum success – from the outside starting grids – in the next race allayed home fears. They then preceded to provide the first man home in each of the next three races to pull away.

Coventry closed out proceedings by winning the final two heats, by the maximum 7-3 margin, to ensure the Midland League points and to keep alive their end of season momentum.

It was fast maturing 16 year old Phillips who again stole the show for Coventry. Composed and assured, Phillips displayed some fine team riding, and some electric speed, to notch 18 points, including four race wins.

Big guns Grimes, with some assertive gating, and McMillan, featuring several entertaining overtaking, were the `engine room` of this win with undefeated maximum returns, both being unbeaten by an opponent.

Coventry point scorers:

Myke Grimes 18, Mason Phillips 18, Bobby McMillan 17, Dave Frith 13, Dan Drewett 12, Matt Lawrence 9, Josh Marsh 6 and Matt Hambidge 3.


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