HANDY LEAD FOR HEATHENS

Tuesday October 29, 2013
DUDLEY have one hand on the Knockout Cup trophy after they stormed to a 58-33 victory over Isle of Wight in their first leg tie at Monmore Green.

After being treated to a hero's welcome by the biggest crowd of the season, the triumphant Heathens paraded the National League championship trophy before establishing a 25 point lead ahead of the decisive second leg at Smallbrook on Wednesday.

The former Cradley club soon recovered from a shaky start to hit their top form – recording six 5-1s on their way to a comprehensive win.

And team boss Will Pottinger was delighted with a strong all-around display from his side in their final home meeting of an unforgettable season.

He said: “We’re really happy with a 25 point lead. We got off to a bit of a shaky start and it took the lads a ride to get up to speed after three weeks without a meeting.

“But they all did brilliantly in the end. It was a great all around team performance and everyone contributed to a really good win.

“It puts us in a good position ahead of the second leg, but we’ll still be going to the Isle of Wight looking for the win on the night after winning there twice already this season.”

Skipper Ashley Morris (PICTURED) once again led the charge with his fourth maximum in his last five outings on home soil, going through the card with an impressive display.

Fellow heat-leaders Paul Starke and Lewis Blackbird also suffered just one defeat apiece with classy performances.

Dan Greenwood continued his flying form with 9+2, including a tremendous 5-1 with Blackbird in heat 10 to snuff out a tactical ride from former Heathens favourite Tom Perry.

Reserves Nathan Greaves and Gareth Isherwood plus middle order man Max Clegg all recovered from non-finishes in their opening rides to add solid scores and complete a tremendous all-around showing from the Heathens.

NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP FINAL, 1st leg
Dudley 58: Ashley Morris 14+1, Paul Starke 11+1, Lewis Blackbird 10+1, Dan Greenwood 9+2, Nathan Greaves 5+2, Max Clegg 5, Gareth Isherwood 4
Isle of Wight 33: Steve Worrall 10, Tom Perry 8+1, Lee Payne 5+2, Ben Hopwood 4, Chris Widman 4, Reece Downes 2+1, Brendan Johnson R/R.