MATCH REPORT: Narrow defeat for Exeter against Newport

Exeter Aces were narrowly defeated by reigning league champions Newport, in a thrilling SW&W league encounter at Cofton Road last weekend.

The Aces took an early lead, by taking advantage after the exclusion of Newport’s Sean Bennett for foul riding in heat 3. Exeter built on this lead, with Craig Nethercott, Dan Winchester, Owen Tidball and Connor Tucker all achieving race wins in a hotly contested first half battle on a pacey race circuit.

In the first race after the interval, Exeter’s star rider Craig Nethercott was instrumental in team riding Lauren Hookway to maximum points, as the Aces’ swept into a 11-point lead and appearing set for a surprise victory.

However, this was the cue for Newport to show their championship credentials by quickly reducing the deficit and, with just two races remaining, the scores were level.

Despite the efforts of Exeter pair, Winchester and Tucker, it was the Welsh pairing of Sean Bennett and an impressive Dale Clark who sped away to a maximum heat score in heat 17.

A Jack Harrold win in the final heat, to complete an untouchable maximum, snatched victory from the Aces and ensured Newport maintained their charge to retain the regional league title.

It was a disappointing result for Exeter, after a spirited Aces performance, with Craig Nethercott once again showing his value to the team. However, the unfortunate absence of injured Exeter star Aaron Herbert proved to be difficult for the Aces to overcome.

Newport’s success can be attributed to the efforts of fast-gating Jack Harrold, along with some great second half support from Jacob Soper and Dale Clark. In what was a good team performance, both Dan Bock and Sean Bennett also provided vital contributions at key moments.

Exeter 87
Craig Nethercott 17+1, Connor Tucker 14+1, Owen Tidball 14+1, Dan Winchester 12, Lauren Hookway 9, Rob Geach 8+3, Andy Collett 7+1, Ben Stanbury 6+1.

Newport 91
Jack Harrold 20, Jacob Soper 16+1, Dale Clark 15+2, Dan Bock 13+1, Sean Bennett 11, Corey Burnell-Jones 8+2 Kev Greaves 6, Kian Nay 2.

Report by Dave Murphy