Good Friday saw the Wightlink Warriors travel to Plymouth with high hopes of a win against the Plymouth Devils in the first National Trophy meeting of the season – but the Island team suffered a 53-35 defeat.
With Ben Wilson declaring himself fit after his big crash the previous night and Chris Widman feeling that his hand injury wouldn’t be a problem on the small tight Plymouth track, there was no reason to think that a win would be on the cards. There was also anticipation that local rider Tyler Govier would use his experience of the Devon track to help guide the Warriors to an away win.
Such optimism was immediately dented in heat 1 as the Warriors duo of Govier and Wilson stormed into the lead, however Govier fell on bend 4 of lap 1 with Wilson laying his bike down to avoid a massive crash. Medical attention was required for both Island riders resulting in Govier being ruled out of the meeting with concussion and later being taken to hospital in Exeter for further examination. Wilson was cleared to continue, only to find that much to the amazement of everyone in the team, he was judged to be the cause of the crash and disqualified from taking part in the rerun. Rik Mullins came in to replace Govier but he too fell on a very tricky bend 3/4 when under no pressure leaving the Devils to seize the lead 5 – 0.
Heat 2 saw a bend 2 crash between the Devils riders with Parker being excluded from the rerun and it was looking likely that a drawn heat would be the result until Mullins fell heavily on bend 3 and was also ruled out of the meeting after a heavy knock to the head and neck. The 3 – 2 heat advantage to the Devils extended their lead further.
Heat 3 saw former Warrior Lee Smart come down heavily on bend 1 forcing Chris Widman to lay his bike down to avoid hitting the stricken Smart, but the Warrior suffered another knock to his hand and arm injured at Mildenhall the previous week. Despite clearly suffering discomfort Widman battled on to back up skipper James Cockle went on to top score for the visitors.
From there on it was always going to be an uphill battle with some heats being contested by only 1 Warrior but the team battled hard to stem the losses and kept the Devils quite close until heat 8 when the home side draw away to win by 18 points.
The highlight of the evening came from new number 7 Jamie Sealey riding in his first ever National League standard meeting. Due to all the injuries, he was needed to ride in 7 heats which he tackled with enthusiasm, determination and without a single complaint.
Plymouth: S.Boxall 15, C.Walker 7+1, L.Smart 9, R.Andrews 7+1, B.Compton 6, R.Parker 2+1, H.Atkins 7 +2.
Warriors: B.Wilson 8, T.Govier 0, J.Cockle 12, C.Widman 4, R.Shuttleworth 8+1, J.Sealey 3, R.Mullins 0.
Next up for the Warriors is the Celebration Meeting for the late Bryn Williams. This will be a challenge meeting against the Weymouth Wildcats and takes place on Thursday 20th April (tapes up 19:00) at Smallbrook Stadium with free admission.