Nathan and Tom take a heat 15 5-1 Image Credit: Dteve Dixon

Devils Battle In Defeat

REPORT Saturday 29th May 2021, 10:45pm

by Graham Muncie

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