MATCH REPORT: Depleted Coventry no match for Birmingham

A youthful Coventry side couldn’t produce the goods on Sunday afternoon at Perry Hall Playing Fields against Birmingham, though team manager Lee Marsh was delighted with the overall performance.

Missing key riders including Bobby McMillan, Mason Phillips, Dominik Rycharski, Kyle Roberts and Joe McLaughlin, Coventry called upon Ollie Morris, Ben Wells, Jimmy Walsall and Matt Hambidge to step up to the first team.

Shaun Reynolds made his first appearance of the season while Myke Grimes, Daniel Drewett and Matt Lawrence spearheaded the Coventry attack.

Birmingham were without World Number 2 Chris Timms, who remains sidelined with a knee injury following a football incident, though they need not worry as Ricki Johnson, Paul Timms and Mark Winwood all starred for the home side.

Birmingham announced their intent early on with maximum race advantage in the opening four heats.

Jimmy Wassall on his way to his first ML1 maximum heat. Photo by Paul Devine.

Jimmy Wassall on his way to his first ML1 maximum heat. Photo by Paul Devine.

A standout moment for Coventry though came in heat 5 when Jimmy Wassall superbly won ahead of skipper Grimes and former European Junior Champion Ricki Johnson.

A slick switch to the inside racing line heading into the first corner of lap one ensured Grimes could team ride Johnson out of the equation leaving young Wassall to earn Coventry’s second win of the afternoon.

Coventry clawed the home side back a further point in the following race with Ben Wells and Matt Lawrence teaming up for a 5-4 heat advantage – Coventry trailing 51-36 at the half way stage.

The Monarchs picked up five 7-3s in the second half, ruining any chance of Coventry limiting the home side to less than 100 points.

Myke Grimes shone with a faultless 19+1 paid maximum, though Coventry members agreed Jimmy Wassall deserved to be ‘rider of the day’ with maximum effort in each of his four rides.

Post-match, Coventry team manager Lee Marsh said: “That was a tough meeting but we knew it was always going to be that way.

“Jimmy was outstanding and the lads put some effort in this afternoon so you can’t fault the performance.

“It’s good experience for the youngsters and I’m excited for the future that some of them have.”