Buxton Hitmen fell to a 55-40 defeat at home to Coventry Storm on Sunday at Hi-Edge, in a Knockout Cup first leg meeting.
However, the Hitmen did continue their recent improvement by running up their highest score this season against one of the league’s fancied teams.
After a sluggish start where the home side failed to register an advantage until heat seven, Tony Atkin made the most of a tactical ride when he and Stefan Farnaby registered a 7 – 2 victory.
A captain’s performance from Liam Carr saw him reel off two heat wins on his way to top scoring on 11.
Veteran Atkin went on to register double figures and there was solid support from Ryan Blacklock (seven) and Tom Woolley (six).
Once again reserve Adam Extance impressed and looked better than his four-point score suggests.
Extance may well have scored more had he not been harshly excluded in heat 12 when colliding with Ryan Terry-Daley.
Extance said afterwards: “It felt good out there today, once I had sorted out my clutch - It was spinning on the start of my first ride.
“I could have done better as I don’t think I should have been excluded.”
Coventry, without talisman Stefan Nielsen, were still strong and must be favourites to now progress with a 15-point advantage to take back home for the return leg.
Team boss Jayne Moss saw many positives from the meeting.
She said: “The team is continuing to improve week on week and given the calibre of opposition today, I am pleased with the way the development is going.”
Buxton are further tested this Sunday (July 6) when the visitors to Hi-Edge are the National League leaders Cradley Heathens.
BUXTON: Liam Carr 11, Tony Atkin 10, Ryan Blacklock 7, Tom Woolley 6+1, Adam Extance 4, Stefan Farnaby 2+1, Sean Phillips 0.
COVENTRY: Oliver Greenwood 13+1, Dan Greenwood 12, Luke Crang 10+2, James Sarjeant 10, Ryan Terry-Daley 8+1, Martin Knuckey 2+1.