Speedway: Pipe pleased with Hitmen despite opening defeat

Photo by Ian Charles:''Ryan Blacklock in action
Photo by Ian Charles:''Ryan Blacklock in action

Buxton Hitmen fell to a 51-39 loss to Coventry at Hi-Edge on Sunday.

A cursory glance at the result of this National League encounter might indicate it was a regulation victory for one of the League title favourites Coventry Storm.

In actual fact, it was a much closer affair which was played out at Hi-Edge.

Indeed after heat 11 scores were tied at 33-33 and it wasn’t until the final four heats that Coventry’s strength in depth finally saw them home with two 4-2 and two 5-1 advantages enabling them to claim the full four league points on offer.

Both teams lost impetus following a heat five clash which saw Storm’s Martin Knuckey withdraw with a knee injury and Buxton’s Adam Extance sustain a suspected broken finger which curtailed his performance in later heats.

The Hitmen can take plenty of positives from this season’s competition debut with a solid 10 points from skipper Tony Atkin and Ryan Blacklock registering seven paid nine.

There was some great passing moves from Ben Hopwood on his home bow which should ensure that more can be expected from the class of 2015.

Buxton Team Manager Jason Pipe was philosophical over his team’s performance and the final result.

“Coventry were into their second or third fixture and their overall fitness has showed today,” said Pipe.

“That plus 11 points from their reserves against our three were the key differences between the teams.

“Yes we missed Paul (Bowen) and Adam (Extance) may have broken a finger but there were top performances from Tony Atkin and Ryan Blacklock.

“We have to look forward now to Kings Lynn on Friday and the visit of the Cradley Heathens next weekend.”

Pipe’s problems were compounded when Cameron Hoskins was injured in a second half race competing for the junior Hitmen in their Midland Development League clash with Coventry Vikings.

Hoskins’ crash necessitated the abandonment of the rest of the meeting due to the lack of medical cover.

He was transferred to the local hospital with back injuries.

The Hitmen’s next Hi-Edge meeting comes on Sunday (May 3) against Cradley at 3pm.

BUXTON 39: Tony Atkin 10, Adam Extance 8, Ryan Blacklock 7+2, Ben Hopwood 7, Tom Woolley 4+2, David Holt 2, Cameron Hoskins 1+1.

COVENTRY 51: Dan Greenwood 15, Darryl Ritchings 9+1, Luke Crang 8+1, Rob Shuttleworth 7+1, Conor Dwyer 7, Stefan Farnaby 4+1, Martin Knuckey 1.