Team Manager: David Howard
|1. Joe Lawlor||2||1||3||6||0|
|2. Jamie Halder - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. Joe Thompson||3||2||3||2||0||10||0|
|4. Tom Spencer||1||1*||3||1||3||9||1|
|5. Dan Thompson||3||3||3||3||3||1||16||0|
|6. Kai Ward||0||1*||1||0||0||2||1|
|7. Ben Trigger||2||1||1||1||0||2*||7||1|
Team Manager: Alan Budzynski
|1. Nathan Greaves||3||3||2||2||3||13||0|
|2. Sheldon Davies||1||0||2||1*||4||1|
|3. Tom Woolley||2||2||2||3||2*||11||1|
|4. Lewis Millar||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|5. Danny Phillips||2||2||2||1*||7||1|
|6. George Rothery||FD||0||0||1||1||0|
|7. Gregor Millar||3||0||FD||1||4||0|
The Stellar Devils put in another gritty performance before going down by 10 points away to reigning champions Leicester on Saturday night albeit the result of the match never really being in doubt.
The Lion Cubs are rightly being touted as one of the teams to beat yet again in 2021 so credit can be gained from this result with a couple of confidence boosting performances in the ranks.
The Devils started well with Nathan Greaves getting the better of Joe Lawlor on a tight first lap to win heat 1, as importantly Sheldon Davies who had his best performance of the young season so far was able to slot into 3rd for a 4-2 so the Devils had an early lead.
This looked like it would be extended in heat 2 when the Devils reserve pairing of George Rothery and Gregor Millar shot from the tapes unfortunately though Rothery would take a heavy tumble on the 2nd bend after catching some unwanted grip and barrelling into the fence. After a delay, the young Cumbrian was up and ok but the damage to man and machine no doubt took its toll as he could only muster 1 point the rest of the way, well below his explosive exploits so far.
The re-run saw a welcome maiden win at this level for Millar holding off a spirited effort from 15-year Leicester debutant Ben Trigger.
That was about as good as it got for the Armadale men for the next little while though as the Thompson twin led Lion Cubs turned the screw taking heat advantages in 7 of the next 8 heats only Greaves able to stem the tide with a heat win over Joe Thompson in heat 5.
This meant a 10-point advantage for the home men after 11 heats and at least the Devils were able to keep the margin to this the rest of the way. Tom Woolley who battled hard throughout took a deserved heat win in race 12 as part of a paid 12 score, Greaves and Danny Phillips were able to split the Cubs pair behind main man on the night Dan Thompson in heat 13 and while the penultimate race saw a home maximum this was reversed by Greaves and Woolley in the last race inflicting Dan Thompson's only defeat off the night.
So, all in all it is a case of no reward for the Devils efforts but shoots of progress with Sheldon Davies and Gregor Millar in particular showing improved form and Nathan Greaves and Tom Woolley showing they are among the top men in the division.
This leading to Devil's promoter John Campbell to say "George Rothery's unfortunate fall in heat 2 undoubtedly changed the complexion of the match, a in for George there would have likely led to more points throughout the match.
"Nathan Greaves and Tom Woolley were excellent and showed great class in heat 15 as they held off the Thompson twins."
One other point of note was the withdrawal of home number 1 and What the Fork Monarchs reserve Joe Lawlor after 3 rides after he reaggravated a wrist injury
The Stellar Devils roll back into action this Saturday night as they head to reigning league champions Leicester in National Development action.
The Lion Cubs look to be one of the picks off the division again this year and certainly will not want to give up their title without a fight.
A familiar name leads the line for the hosts in What the Fork Monarchs reserve Joe Lawlor who also captains the side, backing up Lawlor and no doubt looking to take that number 1 race jacket is Dan and Joe Thompson. The local products have hit the ground running this season both for the Cubs and for the Lions Championship squad having been paid for 7 and 4 respectively in the Lions comfortable win at Scunthorpe on Friday night. Big things are expected of the well-turned-out twins and they alongside Lawlor give the Midlands men a real power packed punch at the top end.
Elsewhere the Leicester side is a real youthful bunch all looking to make a name for themself in the sport with the knowledge that there is always the potential of a step into the Championship in years to come. Jamie Halder misses out tonight through injury with rider replacement meaning Dan Thompson, Tom Spencer and the reserves can fill in.
Speaking off the Cubs reserves this match will also see the debut of 15-year-old Ben Trigger, Trigger is another hot prospect and being Plymouth based is one who is always willing to put in the miles to aid his progression, as witnessed by his appearance at Armadale last season.
Joining Trigger at reserve is recently turned 18-year-old Kai Ward, Ward is in his debut season at this level and made a solid start to his career with a paid 3 score in the Cubs home win over Eastbourne a couple of weeks ago.
Completing the Lions line-up for this evening is Tom Spencer who is now in his second year at this level having spent 2019 with Cradley, Spencer is one to keep an eye on and with a paid double figure score in that Eastbourne match and with the need for him to cover a rider replacement ride a big performance from Spencer could mean trouble for the Stellar Devils.
For those Devils, the line-up is as planned with Nathan Greaves in the middle off a busy weekend having raced for the Monarchs on Friday and then a trip to Redcar to come on Sunday. Danny Phillips and Tom Woolley will be looking to carry on their solid starts to the season and off course the sensation of the league so far has been George Rothery so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the likes of Lawlor and the Thompson twins on their own patch.
That leaves the Millar brothers and Sheldon Davies who will be hoping that the odd point or two can be added to the efforts they are undoubtedly putting in.
This year is all about development for these guys but good performances matter also and it would be nice to see the Devils put in a solid performance after the blip at home to Newcastle the other week.
Live updates will be available o the Devils website with tapes due to rise at 7pm!