tlinkThe sun shone brightly on Smallbrook Stadium yesterday evening (Tuesday) as the Wightlink Islanders turned up the heat on the visiting Stoke Potters in their opening home match of the 2013 speedway season.
In the first leg of the home and away clash between the two sides, and much to the delight of the fans, a brilliant all-round team performance saw us storm to a 61-31 Wightlink Shield victory win and thus a 30pts lead to take to the Potteries to defend in Saturday’s second leg.
And given the strength of our team performance last night leading to the gaining of that very substantial lead, allied to the team’s 20pts away win at Buxton on Sunday, it’ll be a major surprise if they don’t return from Saturday’s second leg at Stoke’s Loomer Road circuit with the Shield well and truly in their possession and the first of what all at the club feel may well be several trophies coming our way this year.
It has to be said too that after the meeting as the riders mixed with the fans in the stadium’s Premier Lounge, many of those fans were tipping the team to go to Stoke and win the second leg too!
They may well do that if they ride as well as they did last night in a match that saw the Wightlink Islanders provide no less that twelve of the fifteen race winners including three for Premier League Plymouth’s Jake Anderson who deputised for the injured Byron Bekker.
Although shattered that injury has robbed him of the the chance of riding for our club this year, Byron made sure he was there in person last night supporting the team to the hilt which was great to see.
Only minor blip in an otherwise near flawless match for us was the fact that both Jake Anderson and Adam Ellis had their hopes of ending the evening unbeaten by a Stoke rider ended when the Potters’ No.5 Kyle Hughes did very well indeed to head the pair of them home in heat 15, the last race of a thoroughly entertaining match.
WIGHTLINK ISLANDERS 61: Tom Perry 9+1, Danny Stoneman 8+1, Ben Hopwood 8+2, Darryl Ritchings 7, Jake Anderson 11+3, Adam Ellis 13+1, Brandon Freemantle 5+1
STOKE 31: Lee Smart 4, Ben Reade, 3, Luke Chessell*** (rider replacement), Luke Priest 8, Kyle Hughes 12, Shaun Tedham 2+1, Chris Widman 2+1
*** Luke Chessell currently out injured. Stoke operated the rider replacement regulations to cover for him and that meant the Potters were able to give one of Chessell’s scheduled rides to Luke Priest and share the other three rides between reserves Tedham and Widman.