Brummies hold on for dramatic derby day draw.
Byline: SPEEDWAY By NIGEL PEARSON firstname.lastname@example.org
BIRMINGHAM gave their play-off hopes a shot in the arm as they held on for a dramatic 43-43 draw against arch rivals Cradley at Monmore Green.
The battling Brummies let a 10 point lead slip but nonetheless held on for two vital Travel Plus National League points in a chaotic encounter.
Graham Drury's side demonstrated character and composure in abundance to take advantage of several mistakes from the home side early on before withstanding a late fightback.
Liam Carr struck a magnificent maximum and was the heat 15 hero, fending off the hard-charging Tom Perry and Danny Ayres to ensure the hosts could not complete a dramatic comeback.
The Brummies took the lead in fortuitous circumstances in heat four when Cradley's Danny Ayres fell whilst trying to round Liam Carr after partner Paul Bowen had already come to grief.
Chaos ensued in heat seven to move Birmingham eight clear, with Ayres attempting to blast inside Tom Bacon and taking down the Brummies' man after Bowen and Layne Cupitt had both pulled up.
The magnificent Carr expertly sliced inside Richard Hall after he made a mistake on the final bend of heat 10 to give the visitors a 10 point advantage.
But the hosts came fighting back to strike back to back 5-1s and move onto level terms, needing Carr to take the chequered flag in classy fashion in the final race to prevent defeat.
His team-mate, Tom Bacon, briefly occupied third place and could have converted the last heat decider into a narrow victory.
But he was passed by Ayres and was left furious after what he perceived to be a dangerous move to prevent him from repassing him.
He was nonetheless impressive throughout to support the imperious Carr, whilst No.1 Jack Parkinson-Blackburn won his opening two rides as they came firing out of the blocks in the early stages.
Their firepower in the top three ensured the Brummies provided 10 race winners and won the battle of the heat-leaders.
Middle order man Layne Cupitt and guest Alex Spooner struggled to make a major impact in the lower order as Conor Dwyer piled up the points for the hosts. But Taylor Hampshire came good in his final ride, bravely passing Dwyer on the line by a matter of inches in heat 14 to ensure the scores were level heading into the final race.
The result moves Birmingham level with Eastbourne for second in the table and leaves Cradley's playoff hopes hanging on a knife-edge, whilst keeping the Brummies' dreams of a third straight title triumph well and truly alive.
They will be back in action looking to build on their derby day heroics as they host top of the table Belle Vue in a mouth-watering meeting at Perry Barr on Wednesday (7.30pm).
CRADLEY 43: Conor Dwyer 14+1, Tom Perry 8+1, Richard Hall 8+1, Luke Harris 7+3, Danny Ayres 5+2, Paul Bowen 1, Sam Wright (No.8) 0, Joe Lawlor R/R. BIRMINGHAM 43: Liam Carr 15, Tom Bacon 13, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7, Alex Spooner 4+2, Taylor Hampshire 3, Layne Cupitt 1, David Mason R/R.
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|Publication:||Birmingham Mail (England)|
|Date:||Aug 22, 2017|
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