If the famous cliché in football is a game of two halves then the speedway equivalent must have been staged at Buxton last Sunday as a defeat by the Isle of Wight was followed by victory over King’s Lynn.
In this double header the Hitmen were always second best in the first meeting against Isle of Wight, which was dominated by three on-form heat leaders from the visitors Nathan Stoneman effortlessly top scoring with paid 17 from six rides ably supported by James Cockle and Mark Baseby.
Their cause wasn’t helped by the loss of Shelby Rutherford in a first bend incident in heat seven.
There was quite a considerable delay whilst arrangements were made to transfer him to hospital.
Ryan Burton was always struggling following his recent injury and there was scant support for guest Tom Woolley and reserve Joe Lawlor, who scored 22 of the home side’s 33 total.
Only Lawlor and Woolley won a race as the visitors were totally dominant.
In the second meeting, with King’s Lynn the opposition, Rutherford’s absence necessitated a re-shuffle with Belle Vue’s Rob Shuttleworth coming into the line-up and Tom Woolley moving to number three – Rutherford’s rides being covered by rider replacement.
In Heat one Lee Dicken reacted first and gained the first of four straight wins which became the bedrock of the victory.
Lawlor and Geary proved too strong for the visitors’ reserves, and when Dicken and Lawlor joined forces for the home side’s first 5-1 of the day the win looked even more on the cards.
The Hitmen were rampant, providing six of the first seven heat winners, and even the returning Ryan Burton had a part to play in this second home league victory of the season.
The afternoon was best summed up by Buxton team boss Jason Pipe, saying: “It just shows what can be achieved with three true heat leaders.
“In the first meeting Isle of Wight had three dominant heat leaders in Stoneman Baseby and Cockle in the second, although it looked like a bit of a Belle Vue select team!
“We had Tom (Woolley) Rob (Shuttleworth) and Lee (Dicken), who led from the front.
“What was even more amazing was how much pain Lee Dicken was in after the first match. He asked if he could just try the first heat (Dicken took Rutherford’s rider replacement ride) and see how he felt.
“I then persuaded him to do the next and that’s how it went on - win after win.
“It was great to see Lee and Tony Atkin rolling back the years in heat 11. “I’d like to thank Tom Woolley for two solid performances as a guest and how well did Joe Lawlor do, scoring paid 22 from the two meetings?
“I have to be happy with the second result and hope now we can take that form to Stoke next week and our final League match against Rye House in a fortnight.”
Rutherford was discharged from hospital on Sunday evening with no significant injuries.
Buxton go to Stoke this weekend in the National Trophy and complete the 2016 season at home to Rye House on 23rd October.
BUXTON 33: Tom Woolley 11+1, Joe Lawlor 11, Shelby Rutherford 4, Lee Dicken 4, Lee Geary 2+1, William O’Keefe (No.8) 1+1, Ryan Burton 0, Ryan Blacklock R/R.
ISLE OF WIGHT 57: Nathan Stoneman 16+1, James Cockle 14, Mark Baseby 10, Layne Cupitt 7+2, Sam Woods 7+1, Chris Widman 3, Lee Smart R/R.
BUXTON 51: Lee Dicken 12, Tom Woolley 11+2, Rob Shuttleworth 11, Joe Lawlor 10+1, Ryan Burton 4+2, Lee Geary 3, Shelby Rutherford R/R. KING’S LYNN 39: Nathan Greaves 13, Tony Atkin 9+1, Scott Campos 8+1, Taylor Hampshire 6, Ryan Kinsley 3+2, Lewis Whitmore 0, Tom Stokes R/R.