Friday April 29, 2016
Buxton Hitmen began their National League Campaign by winning by the narrowest possible margins at Coventry Storm’s Brandon Arena.

The Hitmen were more than a match for their hosts never trailing by more than two points all evening and recording 2 maximum 5-1 wins on their way to that one point victory.

From heat one where Home number 1 Danny Ayers narrowly pipped Buxton’s Track Specialist Oliver Greenwood it was clear that the visitors meant business. Former under 19 champion Greenwood was a key to the win together with Ryan Blacklock and track debutant Ryan Burton who delivered a massive 10 points and a bonus from the reserve berth.

It was Blacklock and Burton who teamed up for the first away maximum heat victory of the season in heat 4 and by the end of Heat 7 the Hitmen were 25-17 up and look certain to power away to the win. The home side lost Martin Knuckey to a hand injury in that heat but refused to Lie down scoring successive 4-2s and a 5-1 of their own in Heat 10 to bring the scores level.

The teams traded blows in the next 3 heats but by the time Heat 13, where Ryan Blacklock fell whilst in the lead, was complete no one had the advantage and the teams were locked together at 39 all. As Heat 14 progressed it looked like the home side would go on to win as they held an unassailable 5-1 advantage before former Hitman Liam Carr suffered machine problems and the Hitmen’s Ben Hopwood’s forgettable night was complete with a fall leading to an unusual 3-2 score line. This gave the Storm a one point advantage going into heat 15 and only needing to provide the race winner to win the meeting. Visiting number 1 Greenwood had other ideas winning the deciding heat and with partner Blacklock tucking in third the away win was secured.

Team manager Jason Pipe was understandably ecstatic ‘There are times when being a team manager can be a thankless task but tonight I can honestly say I love my job. Tremendous performance from everyone out there tonight but particularly from the reserve berth’s which is where I have often said matches are won and lost. Ryan (Burton) was excellent this evening and Lee’s 3 points were crucial in the end. I don’t want to leave anyone out of this though and when Shelby (Rutherford) bent his forks in his Heat 7 the team rallied around to help – great team spirit and as for Ollie (Greenwood) and Ryan’s (Blacklock) Heat 15 performance that was coolness personified. I hope we can carry that form forward to Sunday’

The Hitmen face Eastbourne in their Home National League bow at the D & P Raceway this Sunday tapes up 3.00pm.

COVENTRY 44: Danny Ayres 13, Jamie Halder 9, Liam Carr 8, Conor Dwyer 6+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Callum Walker 2, Martin Knuckey 0

BUXTON 45: Oliver Greenwood 13, Ryan Blacklock 11, Ryan Burton 10+1, Shelby Rutherford 5, Lee Geary 3+2, Ben Hopwood 3+1, Steve Jones r/r

National League points: Coventry 0 Buxton 3