BUXTON Hitmen lost a final-heat decider to narrowly miss out on their first National League win of the season, against the Kings Lynn Young Stars.
The Hitmen had led 45-42 going into heat 15 at Hi-Edge on Sunday, but Kings Lynn’s Ashley Birks and James Cockle proved too strong for the home pairing of Ben Taylor and Robert Branford, the latter forced to retire after suffering a mechanical problem, and the 5-1 resulted in a 47-46 win for the visitors.
Hitmen Team Manager Jack Lee said: “We’ve got no excuses. The reserves came up trumps today, but unfortunately, as it happens with every Buxton meeting, for some reason or other not all the top five are on the gas all the time.
“We are really disappointed with today but we have got to come back fighting. We have got to get some motivation from somewhere and just win a match.
“After last year it’s such a big disappointment to come down with a bump, but once you get to the top the only way up is down so we have just got to keep sticking at it and hopefully one day we will get all seven riders scoring points at the same meeting and we should be away.
“We won’t be getting anywhere near the play-offs this season but it would be nice to finish the year on a high.”
The fixture against Kings Lynn was the Hitmen’s first at home since July 10. Heat one started with a 3-3, but heat two saw the Buxton side take control with a 4-2.
The Hitmen then proceeded to rack up the points, and by heat ten were ten points ahead. But a tactical ride with Birks produced a 7-2 result, followed by heats of 5-1 and 4-2, to put Kings Lynn ahead by one point.
Ben Taylor and Paul Burnett hit back in heat 14 with an important 5-1 to make the score 45-42 in their favour heading into the final heat of the meeting.
l The Hitmen are next in home action on Sunday August 28 against Sheffield (start time 3pm).
Results: Buxton: Ben Taylor 12, Robert Branford 10, Dean Felton 7+3, Paul Burnett 5+1, Adam Allott 5, Ryan Blacklock 4, Luke Priest 3+1. Kings Lynn: Ashley Birks 14, James Cockle 12+2, Lewis Kerr 9+1, Scott Campos 7, Tom Stokes 5+2, Jake Knight 0, Oliver Rayson R/R.