Heathens secure spot in semi-finals
Cradley held their nerve to progress through to the Knockout Cup semi-finals.
Anchor Logistics Heathens beat Isle of Wight 46-44 in a tense affair at Monmore, sealing a10-point aggregate victory.
The hosts were always going to find things tough after teenage talent Tom Brennan broke his leg in three places at the weekend – and certainly made hard work of things throughout the second leg.
Plenty of drama occurred early doors, most alarmingly for the hosts when Danny Halsey wiped out team-mate Luke Harris in heat three in the first of three successive falls in a nightmare start for the ex-Mildenhall man.
And Heathens nerves were jangling a little with seven races gone when the Warriors led on the night and were within just four points on aggregate.
But young reserve duo Tom Spencer and Harry McGurk, who only turned 15 recently, stepped up to the plate superbly in the eighth to record a crucial sole maximum of the night.
Captain Max Clegg’s ability to win races also proved important as he inspired his team-mates to get over the line with Harris and Halsey also coming to the party in the latter stages.
Cradley also announced the signing of youngster Jack Smith, a two-time National League winner with Birmingham and son of former triple British champion Andy, as a replacement for Brennan.
Cradley: Max Clegg 16, Luke Harris 11, Tom Spencer 9+2, Harry McGurk 5+1, Dan Halsey 4+1, Lewis Whitmore 1, Tom Brennan R/R.
Isle of Wight: Georgie Wood 11, Ben Morley 10+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 8, Chad Wirtzfeld 6+3, Danno Verge 6, Chris Widman 3, Connor King 0.