Buxton’s chances of taking a first leg lead in this National League Knockout Cup Tie effectively disappeared with the withdrawal of returning second string Steve Jones after just one ride.
The Edinburgh based racer was coming back after a knee injury sustained earlier in the season at Birmingham but although given the all clear by medics to return to the track, putting that into practice proved more troublesome.
Jones explained: “I can walk fine on the leg but putting any pressure on it when racing was pure agony. I think it will take many months before I can race properly, looks like rest is the only way.”
The Hitmen covered Jones’ rides with reserve substitutions and manager Jason Pipe was impressed by how they stepped-up to the plate.
He said: “Ryan (Burton) is getting better with every ride but I must make a special mention of Lee Geary who took on board all I told him and is starting to grasp the opportunity of National League racing that we have given him.”
A solid performance from Shelby Rutherford who returned his best home score of the campaign with a paid eight return.
The home side began the match with a maximum 5-0 result as both their opponents failed to complete the race.
By Heat 11 they had extended their lead to eight points and Pipe’s target of a 12-14-point advantage looked on the cards.
However, Cradley’s skipper Max Clegg had other ideas completing an 18-point maximum when he and Ashley Morris levelled the tie with a 5-1 in the last heat.
The second leg of this tie takes place on June 13 when the Hitmen visit Monmore Green. Next weekend sees consecutive meetings at Eastbourne and Mildenhall on Saturday and Sunday with the next fixture at D & P Raceway against Kent on June 12. Fans are reminded that the meeting will commence at the later time of 6pm.
BUXTON 44: Ryan Blacklock 11, Oliver Greenwood 9, Jade Mudgway 8, Ryan Burton 6+1, Shelby Rutherford 5+3, Lee Geary 5+2, Steve Jones 0.
CRADLEY 44: Max Clegg 18, Ashley Morris 9+2, Ben Basford 7+1, Luke Chessell 6+1, James Purchase 3, Bradley Andrews 1, Jack Kingson r/r.