The Wizards speedway team opened their Southern Development League home campaign with a modest defeat against the Exeter Falcons who tracked a more experienced side that included Jamie Bursill who has seen action in the National League – and it showed as he cruised to a three ride maximum.
Still missing the injured pair of captain Jamie Sealey and My First Skid regular Rob Watts, Wizards included two Island based riders (Morgan Williams and James Luckman) and it was soon clear that the Wizards quartet will need time to adapt to the requirements of team racing, however, as in the two away meetings at Eastbourne and Plymouth, there was no lack of commitment and whilst they will be disappointed not to get off to a winning start there will have been a huge amount learned from this meeting.
Wizard Chris Watts, celebrating his birthday, top scored with seven points and produced the ride of the meeting in heat 6 as he closed in on his opponent Max Pankhurst and executed a sweet outside pass in style. Morgan Williams suffered a testing night with a fall and mechanical issues, Ben Ilsley rode steadily and James Luckman again tasted the shale but manfully pressed on to score points.
Despite the reversal, joint team manager Sid Sheldrick was full of praise for his side’s efforts when he said, “obviously that didn’t to plan and a couple of the boys are a bit down, but they shouldn’t be. They are really inexperienced riders, there are techniques we can work on to help them and what’s most important is that they all listen to advice and want to learn. I’m sure we’ll see progression as the season develops”.
Wizards: Chris Watts 7, Morgan Williams 0, Ben Ilsley 5+1, James Luckman 3+1.
Falcons: Max Pankhurst 8, Mick Sutton 3, Adam Sheppard 1+1, Jamie Bursill 9.