News from Coventry Bees and Storm
After a couple of weeks inaction Buildbase Bees returned to Elite League action with matches against Lakeside Hammers. Both matches finished with home wins but Bees came out slightly better with an extra match point for winning their home match by more than seven points.
Lakeside 51, Bees 44
The home side presently top the Elite League and on their own tight circuit were always going to be a difficult team to beat.
Bees made a good start with Hans Andersen, despite feeling unwell, rode a good race to beat Peter Karlsson and with the impressive Max Fricke, again guesting for Kyle Howarth taking third, Bees had an early lead.
Jason Garrity was beaten on the line in heat two after a good battle with Steven Worrall but with James Sarjeant taking third, Bees still led.
It started to go wrong in the next however. Chris Harris and Ryan Fisher made a good start but lost out on turn one and finished on the wrong end of a 5-1.
Lakeside then established a ten point advantage over the next three races, prompting Bees manager Gary Havelock to give Kenneth Hansen a tactical ride for double points in heat seven. Richard Lawson won the race but with the Bees pair taking the minor places the deficit was down to eight. Lakeside immediately hit back and after heat nine led by fourteen and facing a heavy defeat.
Hope came in heat ten when Harris and Fisher led from the start. Unfortunately Fisher fell on turn two second time around at the same time Harris was passed by Peter Karlsson.
Now sixteen points adrift, Andersen was given the second tactical ride and led from the start. Hansen held on desperately to third to keep Bees in with a chance of a league bonus point.
Even better was to come in a superb heat twelve. With all four in close attendance, at times three abreast on the back straight, Fricke and Garrity produced Bees first and only 5-1 of the night.
Now just seven adrift Bees needed just one heat advantage from the final three races for the coveted bonus point for losing by six or less. Unfortunately despite race wins from Andersen (2) and Hansen, the home side managed to hold on to the minor places for a 51-44 win.
Bees were not disgraced for this was one of the best performances from a visiting team on the Purfleet raceway this season.
Concern is growing over the form of skipper Harris who could only manage three points and only beat one opposition rider all night. Fisher was also off colour but to counteract this Andersen turned in his best performance of the season with seventeen points while Hansen recovered from a slow start to record eight. Garrity and Fricke also impressed.
Bees’ scorers: Andersen 17, Hansen 8,Garrity 7(2), Fricke 7, Harris 3, Fisher 2, Sarjeant 1(1).
Bees 49, Lakeside 41
Following Saturday’s performance, hopes were high for a Bees win but after Saturday’s hero Andersen was left at the gate in heat one and the visitors recorded an opening 5-1, things did not look quite so rosy.
Bees reserves levelled it up in heat two with a maximum after the visitor’s Liam Carr had taken a nasty tumble at the first attempt to run.
Lakeside made the start to heat three but Fisher rode a good first turn to take the lead coming out of turn two. He could not hold the flying Bech however, and lost out again on the last lap.
Lawson won heat four and at this stage it was becoming obvious that gates one and three were far more advantageous.
Harris improved in heat five to follow Andersen home for a match levelling 5-1.
Fisher lost out again to Bech in heat six before Kyle Howarth and Sarjeant made the score 21 each after seven heats.
The visitors Watt had injured a hand in an earlier fall and had withdrawn from the meeting. Under the new injury replacement rules Karlsson took his place in heat eight. Starting off the outside gate he could only watch as Fisher and Hansen put Bees ahead for the first time.
Garrity and Sarjeant increased the lead to six in heat nine but Lawson and the flying Bech brought Lakeside back in contention.
Two more heat wins increased Bees lead back to eight with three races to go.
Bech won thirteen before Hansen and Sarjeant were on the wrong end of an away 5-1 in the penultimate race.
Bees still led by four with one race to go. With Lakeside having the stronger top two in Lawson and Bech, Bees main aim was to avoid giving away the 5-1 which would draw the match. As it was things turned out much better than expected. With the better gates Andersen and Harris made the start. The threat of Bech vanished at the start of lap two when he overcooked it and fell. Although Lawson made a strong finish the Bees pair held out for three match points.
Bees welcomed the return to some sort of form from Harris and Bees solidarity showed with only four points separating the top and bottom scorers.
Bees’ scorers; Harris 8(3), Andersen, Howarth, Fisher 8, Garrity 7(2), Sarjeant 6(1), Hansen 4.
Coventry Storm 54, Kent 39.
Storm kept up their unbeaten record with this convincing victory. After an opening 5-1 they gradually increased their lead to ten, which led to the visitors taking an 8-1 heat win by use of the tactical double.
This brought the visitors to within three points but Storm soon recovered and went on to an easy win which keeps them at the top of the National League.
Storm scorers: James Sarjeant 15 Luke Crang 14(1), Stefan Nielsen 7(2), Ryan Terry-Daley 7(1), Dan Greenwood 6, Martin Knuckey 3(1).
Bees welcome former boss Alun Rossiter to Brandon tomorrow when Swindon are the visitors in an Elite League match. The ‘Robins’ have not made the best of starts to the season and lie in the bottom half of the table. But with a spearhead of Peter Kildemand and Troy Batchelor they are not to be underestimated. They also include Nick Morris who impressed at Brandon in his time with the Bees.
Storm are also in action when the visit Buxton on Sunday in the first leg of the National League Knock Out Cup.