The Plymouth SWTR Centurions delivered a commanding performance to gain their first win of the NDL (National Development League) season at a damp Coliseum Arena last night against Title favourites The Belle Vue Colts.
After losing their first Home Match of the NDL season v Kent Royals on a night when everything that could go wrong did go wrong, the Centurions showed enormous potential and fortitude in difficult conditions following a pre-match downpour and steady drizzle at times during the match.
Despite a fall in Heat 1 from Home No 1 Dan Gilkes the increasing impressive Connor King took the win in the re-run to steady the Home Team nerves and despite going 2 points down in Heat 5 they steadied the ship drawing level after Heat 6 and then taking three Heat advantages to lead by 6 points after heat 8. The next 4 Heats were shared with the sides trading 4-2 heats and drawing two heats 3-3 to leave the match poised at 39-33 before the vital last 3 Heats.
The Centurions then deliver a couple of outstanding 5-1 Heat wins in Heat 13 and 15 from Henry Atkins and Dan Gilkes over-powering their Colts opponents with some classy Team Riding on the damp Track and a 4-2 Heat win in Heat 14 from the increasingly impressive Ben Trigger supported by Adam Extance, saw the Centurions storm away to a well deserved 53-37 success.
Henry Atkins who had finished 3rd in the British Under 21 Individual Championship semi-final at Mildenhall to Qualify for the Final at Birmingham later in the season top scored with 13 points and 1 bonus point, showing that after missing all but 2 laps of last season that is is coming back in to the kind of form that earmarked him as a burgeoning talent at the end of the truncated 2020 season. He was admirably backed by Dan Gilkes who was unbeaten by an opponent following his first race fall and both will gain confidence from the track time at this level when returning to Championship action with the Gladiators next Tuesday v Leicester Lions.
There were standout showings too from the increasingly impressive Connor King who scored 2 heat wins in his 8 points from 4 rides in the very difficult No 2 slot and youngster Ben Trigger who showed maturity beyond his years on the tricky track delivering a 9 point plus 1 bonus point return from his 5 rides. With Adam Extance again the model of consistency with 6 points and 1 bonus in the engine room of the team with Richard Andrews who scored a race win in his 5 point return together with a fall when in a scoring position again looking like they will improve with every Meeting and young reserve Eli Meadows again chipping in with a point, this was an impressive all round display from the SWTR Centurions.
Belle Vue Colts will be disappointed to leave with nothing to show for a fighting performance with their leading scorers being Harry McGurk with 2 heat wins in a 10 point total and Nathan Ablitt with 8 points that also included a Heat win.
Massive credit must go to both Teams and the Officials especially Referee Paul Carrington who wrapped up the proceedings on a damp night in 80 minutes including a prompt 7.00pm start and for a hardy Crowd who enjoyed some good racing despite the conditions.
The SWTR Centurions travel to Belle Vue on Friday for the return and will hope to make an impact on the big NSS Belle Vue track. The Colts will then have a break until an Away Match at Mildenhall on Sunday 15th May before returning Home to The Coliseum to face the Leicester Lion Cubs on Tuesday 24th May.
The next match at The Coliseum with its “Speedway heaven every Tuesday at 7” mantra for the 2022 season with be the exciting prospect of the Westcolour Gladiators taking on the 2019 Championship Double Winners the Leicester Lion in Championship CL action next Tuesday 19th April at 7.00pm
Online Tickets for that Match where a big Easter Holiday Crowd is expected are now available via the club website here
This Match will also be live streamed around the Globe and Tickets for Live stream will be on sale shortly.
The Westcolour Gladiators will then take residence after next Tuesdays, for the following four Tuesdays with Championship League Fixtures against Scunthorpe; Poole; Oxford and Berwick as the 2022 season really kicks into full gear with your weekly fix of Speedway heaven every Tuesday at 7pm at The Coliseum Arena, the only LIVE Speedway in the South West.
Scores & Heat Results
Plymouth Centurions = 53
1. Dan Gilkes – F/Ex, 3, 3, 2′, 3 = 11 + 1
2. Connor King – 3, 1, 3, 1 = 8
3. Richard Andrews – 0, 2, F, 3 = 5
4. Adam Extance – 2, 1′, 2, 1 = 6 + 1
5. Henry Atkins – 2, 3, 3, 3, 2′ = 13 + 1
6. Ben Trigger – 3, 2′, 1, 0, 3 = 9 + 1
7. Eli Meadows – 1, 0, 0 = 1
Belle Vue Colts = 37
1. Jack Smith – 2, 3, 1′, 0 = 6 + 1
2. Sam McGurk – 1′, R, 2, 2 = 5 + 1
3. Nathan Ablitt – 3, 1, 2, 2, R = 8
4. Jack Parkinson-Blackburn – 1, F, R, 2 = 3
5. Harry McGurk – 3, 2, 3, 1, 1 = 10
6. Archie Freeman – 2, 1, 0, 1, 1′ = 5 + 1
7. Freddy Hodder – 0, T/Ex, 0, 0 = 0
SGB Referee: P. Carrington
Gates: Centurions win toss and defer to heat 15. Colts take 1 & 3.
Heat 01: King, Smith, S. McGurk, Gilkes (F/Ex)…55.15…3-3
Heat 02: Trigger, Freeman, Meadows, Hodder…54.94…4-2…7-5
Heat 03: Ablitt, Extance, Parkinson-Blackburn, Andrews…57.50…2-4…9-9
Heat 04: H. McGurk, Atkins, Freeman, Meadows…54.75…2-4…11-13
Heat 05: Smith, Andrews, Extance, S. McGurk (R)…56.16…3-3…14-16
Heat 06: Gilkes, H. McGurk, King, Freeman…54.59…4-2…18-18
Heat 07: Atkins, Trigger, Ablitt, Parkinson-Blackburn (F)…54.72…5-1…23-19
Heat 08: King, S. McGurk, Trigger, Hodder…55.47…4-2…27-21
Heat 09: H. McGurk, Extance, Freeman, Andrews (F)…53.32…2-4…29-25
Heat 10: Gilkes, Ablitt, King, Parkinson-Blackburn (R)…55.07…4-2…33-27
Heat 11: Atkins, S. McGurk, Smith, Trigger…54.79…3-3…36-30
Heat 12: Andrews, Ablitt, Freeman, Meadows…56.03…3-3…39-33
Heat 13: Atkins, Gilkes, H. McGurk, Smith…53.88…5-1…44-34
Heat 14: Trigger, Parkinson-Blackburn, Extance, Hodder…55.47…4-2…48-36
Heat 15: Gilkes, Atkins, H. McGurk, Ablitt (R)…54.44…5-1…53-37
Credit: Speedway Updates
Image Credit: Jon Sproad