PLYMOUTH ATKINS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT GLADIATORS 43
LEICESTER LIONS 46
Another close encounter at the Coliseum saw the Gladiators narrowly defeated by Leicester.
The meeting started promisingly for the home side with a 4-2 advantage in the first race. Heat 3 saw Australian Zane Keleher achieve a new track record of 49.40 seconds for the revised track length of 213 metres but then a heavy shower changed track conditions considerably.
A re-run Heat 4 saw Plymouth extend their lead with a 5-1 through skipper Bjarne Pedersen and the again impressive Alfie Bowtell, after Nick Morris came to grief whilst leading the original staging of the race. Both sides then agreed to a short break ensured to allow the shower to pass and the track to dry slightly. A further shower did not help matters and made track conditions tricky to say the least, which resulted in a number of further spills, fortunately none serious.
It was the away side who adapted to the conditions better from then on. By Heat 9, they had given themselves a two-point advantage and a 5-0 to the Lions after two re-runs in Heat 10, in which guest Richard Lawson and then Dillon Ruml were both fallers, saw the Lions lead by seven.
The sides then exchanged 5-1s and again it looked like Plymouth would need another of their now familiar comebacks to get anything out of the meeting, but a vital Heat 13 win for Hans Andersen after Morris had again fallen, pretty much ensured a Lions victory which was confirmed when Heat 14 was shared 3-3.
A final heat 5-1 for the Gladiators denied Leicester the maximum 4 point away victory but the Lions were nonetheless delighted to take the spoils.
Aussie Keleher, who has made a great start to his Gladiators career, felt that the conditions didn’t favour the Gladiators. ‘I think we lost any home track advantage after the rain’ he said afterwards. ’It was a tough night although I’m delighted to get the track record which I think is the first I have ever achieved’.
The Gladiators now face two away meetings this week at Birmingham (Wednesday) and Eastbourne (Saturday) before another tough encounter against Edinburgh next Tuesday. Tickets for this meeting can be booked on-line here.
Image credit: Daniel Westlake
Plymouth Gladiators 43: Richard Lawson 12+2, Bjarne Pedersen 11+1, Alfie Bowtell 8+2, Zane Keleher 7, Zach Cook 3 Dillon Ruml 2, Jack Smith 0
Leicester Lions 46: Kyle Howarth 11+3, Ryan Douglas 11+1, Joe Thompson 6+1, Hans Andersen 6, Nick Morris 5, Zaine Kennedy 5, Dan Thompson 2
Championship points: Plymouth 0 Leicester 3