The Belle Vue Colts kept their Play Offs ambitions very much alive on Friday night after cleaning up 52-38 against the Buxton Hitmen, with five of their scheduled National League fixtures pending.
With the weather threatening to unleash its fury, referee Peter Clarke wasted no time in getting the meeting underway and it was the Cool Running Colts who dominated their rivals from Heat 1.
But the action on offer in Manchester was second to none, and team manager Graham Goodwin expressed his delight at how his team conducted themselves on this unconventional evening.
He continued: “We respect to every team that comes here and never underestimate anyone. In the early stages Buxton were out-gating us a lot which meant we had to respond likewise in passing.
“We’re proud of the way the team rose to the occasion. Even without our three heat leaders they looked powerful. It’s exactly the result we needed with the Play Offs looming and they delivered.
“We knew the weather was closing in but at the same time we knew we had to get the meeting on, and it’s full credit to the riders and track staff that we got through fifteen heats of speedway.
“The three points were vital in our push for the play offs. They move us up to fifth in the table and just two points behind Cradley, so for us there’s still plenty to play for over the coming weeks.
“To reach the top four has been our target from the start of the season. Tonight has proved it’s still a realistic target. That said, we have to get our remaining meetings on to keep that goal feasible.”
On the guest situation, he continued: “It’s not ideal and under normal circumstances we’d prefer to have rearranged it. But it’s the business end of the year and realistically we knew it had to go on.
“When selecting our guests, we tried to pick riders whom we new would entertain the crowd. There wasn’t an abundance but we were delighted with Jon Armstrong, Luke Priest and Jack Smith.
“They were fantastic in their efforts. They knew what we expected of them and we were pleased with their contributions, and it was brilliant to bring our No.8 Joe Lawlor back into the team.
“David Holt – after his recent injury spell – put in a good shift, as did Andy Mellish. But what a shame for Tom Woolley! So close to a paid maximum on the night, but dropping that one point!
“Still, he was a maximum man in his four programmed rides; it’s just a shame the weather caught him out in Heat 15. All in all, it was a fantastic result on a night where every league point is vital.”
RESULT – FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9TH
Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts 52
Tom Woolley 13+1, Jack Smith (G) 13, Jon Armstrong (G) 12, David Holt 5, Luke Priest (G) 4+1, Andy Mellish 3+1, Joe Lawlor 2+1, Dan Bewley R/R
Buxton ‘Addison Engineering’ Hitmen 38
Ryan Burton 9+1, Tom Bacon (G) 8+1, Lee Dicken 8+1, Ryan Blacklock 6, Shelby Rutherford 3+2, David Wallinger 3+1, Lee Geary 1
Words: Hayley Bromley
Images: Ian Charles