Armadale Devils
Danny Phillips 14 (5)
Leicester Lion Cubs
Joe Thompson 12+1 (6)
National Development League
50
40
Friday 24th September 2021
Armadale Stadium
Armadale Devils
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
50
1. William Lawson 3 3 3 FD 1 10 0
2. Gregor Millar 1 1 2 2* 6 1
3. Tom Woolley 2 2 2 F 6 0
4. George Rothery 0 0 0 F 0 0
5. Danny Phillips 2 3 3 3 3 14 0
6. Archie Freeman 3 2* 1 3 9 1
7. Lewis Millar 2* 1* 0 2 5 2
Leicester Lion Cubs
Team Manager: Dave Howard
40
1. Dan Thompson 2 3 2 2 2 11 0
2. Ben Trigger F 1 1 3 0 5 0
3. Tom Spencer 1 F 1 3 2 7 0
4. Joe Lawlor - Rider Replacement 0 0
5. Joe Thompson 3 3 2 3 1* F 12 1
6. Kai Ward 1 FD 1 1 3 0
7. Mickie Simpson FD 0 1 0 1* 2 1
Heat 1
Time: 58.8
1. William Lawson  
3
2. Gregor Millar  
1
1. Dan Thompson  
2
2. Ben Trigger  
F
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
4
4
Away
2
2
Heat 2
Time: 61.9
6. Archie Freeman  
3
7. Lewis Millar  
2
6. Kai Ward  
1
7. Mickie Simpson  
FD
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
5
9
Away
1
3
Heat 3
Time: 60.9
3. Tom Woolley  
2
4. George Rothery  
0
3. Tom Spencer  
1
4. Joe Lawlor  
5. Joe Thompson
3
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
2
11
Away
4
7
Heat 4
Time: 60.5
5. Danny Phillips  
2
7. Lewis Millar  
1
5. Joe Thompson  
3
7. Mickie Simpson  
0
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
3
14
Away
3
10
Heat 5
Time: 60.0
3. Tom Woolley  
2
4. George Rothery  
0
1. Dan Thompson  
3
2. Ben Trigger  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
2
16
Away
4
14
Heat 6
Time: 61.5
1. William Lawson  
3
2. Gregor Millar  
1
5. Joe Thompson  
2
6. Kai Ward  
FD
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
4
20
Away
2
16
Heat 7
Time: 60.9
5. Danny Phillips  
3
6. Archie Freeman  
2
3. Tom Spencer  
F
4. Joe Lawlor  
2. Ben Trigger
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
5
25
Away
1
17
Heat 8
Time: 63.2
2. Gregor Millar  
2
7. Lewis Millar  
0
2. Ben Trigger  
3
7. Mickie Simpson  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
2
27
Away
4
21
Heat 9
Time: 60.5
3. Tom Woolley  
2
4. George Rothery  
0
5. Joe Thompson  
3
6. Kai Ward  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
2
29
Away
4
25
Heat 10
Time: 61.0
1. William Lawson  
3
2. Gregor Millar  
2
3. Tom Spencer  
1
4. Joe Lawlor  
7. Mickie Simpson
0
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
5
34
Away
1
26
Heat 11
Time: 60.4
5. Danny Phillips  
3
6. Archie Freeman  
1
1. Dan Thompson  
2
2. Ben Trigger  
0
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
4
38
Away
2
28
Heat 12
 
3. Tom Woolley  
F
7. Lewis Millar  
2
3. Tom Spencer  
3
6. Kai Ward  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
2
40
Away
4
32
Heat 13
Time: 60.1
1. William Lawson  
FD
5. Danny Phillips  
3
1. Dan Thompson  
2
5. Joe Thompson  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
3
43
Away
3
35
Heat 14
 
4. George Rothery  
F
6. Archie Freeman  
3
4. Joe Lawlor  
3. Tom Spencer
2
7. Mickie Simpson  
1
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
3
46
Away
3
38
Heat 15
Time: 61.0
5. Danny Phillips  
3
1. William Lawson  
1
1. Dan Thompson  
2
5. Joe Thompson  
F
 
Heat
Score
Match
Score
Home
4
50
Away
2
40

It was another very enjoyable National Development League fixture at Armadale tonight, with the lively young Leicester Cubs the visitors. Even though they had the formidable Thompson twins in their ranks the Armadale Stellar Devils ran out 50-40 victors with Danny Phillips scoring 14 points.

Afterwards Danny said "It was a hard meeting! I seemed to have a Thompson twin, either one or both, in every race! Good close racing though. I think that rain in the early stages helped a little bit because we had similar conditions last week! I just left a gap in my first race and Joe Thompson passed me, otherwise I'd have scored a maximum."

Danny was by no means the only success in the home ranks but it had to be as good a meeting as Danny has had around Armadale considering the opposition. He was only beaten in his first race when, having gated and ridden wide in the early stages, he came in a bit tighter and found Joe Thompson flying round him.

He learnt from that though and gained his revenge over Dan Thompson in heat 11 in spite of a strong challenge from the visiting number one, and he followed that by winning heats 13 and 15 against both the Thompsons in each heat.

William Lawson made his return and won his first three heats with a bit to spare, adding solidity to the top end of the Armadale side. However he slid off on the first corner of heat 13, leaving Phillips to face the Thompsons alone, and then just failed to get into second behind Phillips on the opening lap of the last race.

Archie Freeman was actually racing his first full home meeting for the Devils and just dropped a single point in a stylish display. There are few more impressive 16 year olds in British Speedway.

The improvement of Gregor Millar continues and he very nearly took the scalp of Joe Thompson in heat 6 in a race won by Lawson. He held Joe off for most of the race but missed out in the end. He did finish with a paid win in heat 10.

Tom Woolley wasn't as impressive as in his previous home match and he did come a cropper in his final heat when trying to slip inside Tom Spencer. He clipped Spencer's back wheel and came down awkwardly against the fence, but was soon up.

Lewis Millar scored well enough also and the only home man not to join in the points spree was George Rothery who is getting into all sorts of bother these days. His bike seemed to be going well enough this week but he was just too bold in trying to ride wide fast lines, coming a cropper in all his four heats. His final ride was so unfortunate because he was trying to team up with Archie Freeman for a match-winning 5-1, riding more cautiously than in his earlier rides, but he caught the fence and came down, mercifully unhurt.

The Thompson twins have important matches with the senior Leicester side this weekend but were fully committed to this fixture taking 11 rides between them. They were probably surprised how well the Devils performed but they gave their all throughout.

Ben Trigger (just 15) and Tom Spencer (the only non-teenager in the Cubs' team) both won a heat each and nobody was likely to complain they didn't get their money's worth tonight.

At last! The waiting is over. It's now mathematically certain the Monarchs will participate in this year's Championship play-offs. If the many possible permutations governing such concerns didn't already hint strongly in that direction, Kent 's home defeat to Leicester on Tuesday evening was all the confirmation we needed.

Depending on the results of their remaining two meetings, Birmingham can actually leap-frog both Edinburgh and Scunthorpe into fifth spot, but with a superior points difference over the Scorpions (both teams being equal on league points), the worst outcome possible for the Monarchs would be a sixth-place finish, and as six teams qualify for the play-offs…happy days!

Of course, we'll have to hang fire a little bit longer to discover who the first (hopefully) of our opponents will be, but all will most certainly be revealed by this weekend.

For now, though, an ideal distraction – Armadale Devils. Coming out on top against a plucky Kent Royals outfit was excellent given the dreadful track conditions. Indeed, all twelve riders on show deserve the greatest credit for keeping the crowd entertained in the face of such considerable adversity.

George Rothery had greatest cause to curse his luck after the first four heats in which he was programmed to ride yielded not one solitary point. Bike problems were his primary bugbear as they conspired to wreck his chances in Heats 3, 5, 6 and 9. For sure, a last place finish from sharing the lead, two 2-minute violations (in consecutive heats) and a retiral hardly describes a rider with a lucky rabbit's foot stuffed down his kevlars, does it?

He deserves a medal for perseverance alone. As if spurred on by the entire Devils support, his "if-at-first-you-don't-succeed" attitude was finally and suitably rewarded with a superb win in the penultimate heat, on a borrowed bike to boot.

It was a victory too that helped increase Armadale's advantage to four points as they went into the evening's final race in the knowledge that only a 5-1 reversal could see them fail to emerge from the meeting triumphant. And in splitting Heat 15 winner Alex Spooner from his Royals' team-mate Ryan Terry-Daley, Tom Wooley and Danny Phillips saw to it that the Devils emerged with that victory instead of another draw.

An Armadale clean sweep in that final heat would have been harsh on a Kent side who had participated ferociously all night and I'm in no doubt that the bonus point they took back south with them wouldn't have been begrudged by anyone present of a blue and gold persuasion.

Again, in complete defiance of the elements, three riders – the aforementioned Devils pair Wooley and Phillips as well as Alex Spooner of the Royals – managed to deliver a hugely impressive 15 points apiece. In fact, only four of the meeting's 15 heats were won by anyone out with that prolific trio.

Honourable mentions too should go to Royals' Terry-Daly and former Monarch, Connor Coles who offered Spooner decent support throughout while, for Armadale, the Miller brothers' development continues to blossom assuredly.

The win over Kent boosts our league position to a lofty fourth (or not so lofty third bottom if you happen to be a glass-half-empty type of person). Subject to confirmation, visits to West Lothian from Leicester and Mildenhall on consecutive Fridays will complete our home programme before the return trip to Kent on Tuesday 12th October brings down the curtain on the Devils' season as a whole.

This weekend's guests, Leicester currently occupy the league placing no team wants – and the one we've only recently vacated – bottom. However, just two points separate the Lion Cubs, who have fulfilled one less meeting, from ourselves. Kent are stuck tightly in between although, with six meetings outstanding, it's not inconceivable they could blow everyone else away and grab the title for themselves. Not inconceivable, but highly unlikely – yet it demonstrates perfectly just how topsy-turvy and itsy-bitsy this NDL campaign has been.

With such precocious talent at their disposal as the twin Thompsons, Dan and Joe, Tom Spencer and Ben Trigger, it takes a bit of believing that of the seven fixtures the Cubs have completed to date, only one has ended in a victory. All four riders mentioned will be in action at Armadale with reserves Kai Ward and Mickie Simpson completing what will be a sextet due to the mid-season retiral of Joe Lawlor. The former Monarch's rides will be covered by rider replacement.

For the Devils, another former Monarch, Willie Lawson, makes a quick return to Armadale guesting for Nathan Greaves. Archie Freeman also returns to the fold after missing last week's clash while Tom Wooley continues in his role as acting captain.

Lastly, a word of congratulation for 'new' British Under-19 champion, Drew Kemp, who picked up the award for a record third time last Friday. Over the course of his triple triumph, it's incredible to note that, with each final yielding a 15-point maximum, the Monarch's latest acquisition did not drop one single point. Sadly, Drew's 'advancing years' (he'll be 20 this time next year) preclude him from participation in the 2022 event but rest assured his trophy cabinet will only continue to burgeon with other honours the older he gets

Also competing at Scunthorpe's Eddie Wright Raceway was Armadale reserve Archie Freeman whose three-point finish included one second place in which he beat both Kyle Bickley and Ben Trigger.