BUXTON Hitmen manager Jack Lee was not downbeat after his side were beaten by the Dudley Heathens over two legs to secure the first silverware of the season, the National Shield.
Dudley secured a 99-81 aggregate victory over league champions Buxton, successfully defending their 16-point lead from the first leg at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green stadium last Tuesday, and then running out 46-44 winners at Hi-Edge.
Lee said after Sunday’s second leg: “It’s early on in the season and it was always going to be a tough ask against a strong Dudley team.
“With the Heathens having a rider like Adam Roynon, who is currently riding all three leagues, for our lads to keep the score as close as they did wasn’t too disappointing. Had this been a league match we would have got a point from this meeting.
“We have a strong top five and at the moment are only weak in our two reserves due to their little speedway experience, however with more racing under their belts Ryan and John will come good and hopefully start getting the points in and the Hitmen will once again be back to their winning ways.”
Initially in the first leg at Wolverhampton, the scores were close with two points between them, however the second half of the meeting saw Dudley take control and lead the Heathens to a healthy 53-37 victory.
The Heathens arrived at Buxton’s home track on Sunday with an army of fans, clearly out for revenge after the Hitmen took all three trophies out of their favour last season.
The meeting started much like it had on Tuesday with two points between the Heathens and the Hitmen, before the hosts caught up in heat five and managed to keep the score level for three heats until a 4-2 for the Heathens in heat eight saw them regain the lead.
The Hitmen tried to gain control of the meeting, however by heat 13 it was obvious Dudley would run out winners. A 5-1 for Robert Branford and Adam Allott in heat 15 saw the final score 44-46, a good representation of how close the meeting had been throughout the day.
Buxton are next in home action on Sunday May 1 (3pm start) in the Knockout Cup against ex-Premier League side Stoke.