ISLE OF WIGHT 'Warriors' vs BUXTON 'Hitmen'

National League : 26/07/2018


Speedway Warriors In Must Win Meeting


The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway team return to action at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde on Thursday when they entertain the Buxton Hitmen in a National League fixture.


The whole of the Warriors management team are in agreement that this really is a ‘must win’ fixture and that view will be echoed on the terraces, however many will be mindful of the shock win delivered by the Hitmen in the equivalent meeting last year and, yet again, the Warriors are hampered by absences and it will be an unfamiliar septet that takes to the track.


For this meeting Warriors will be without the services of Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell who are both needed to ride for their senior side - Lakeside are at Sheffield in the Championship – whilst Chris Widman is still recovering from his wrist operation and the problem reserve berth remains unfilled.  It means that team manager Jackie Vatcher has had her work cut out putting together a competitive side within the current averages and regulations and has done well to bring in two guests in the shape of the flamboyant Danny Ayres (Mildenhall) and promising youngster Taylor Hampshire (Kent).  Jamie Bursill will take the vacant reserve berth whilst the rider replacement facility will be used for Bowtell enabling any of the Warriors one additional ride.


Buxton arrive with some familiar names in their line-up with 2017 Island favourites Ben Wilson and Connor Coles expected to be in action.  It had been hoped that a third member of last year’s team, James Cockle, would also be included but he is reported to have decided to retire from the sport leaving the ever reliable Tom Woolley to guide three inexperienced teenagers through this meeting.


The importance of a win was not lost on Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop who said, “Last year’s meeting with Buxton was pivotal in sending the wooden spoon to our stadium and it really hurt.  This year it cannot be the same, it’s a must win and the boys need to show the type of form we have been seeing lately.  We must not allow ourselves to fall behind at any stage of the meeting.  It won’t be easy without Ben, Alfie and Chris but we think we have set our team up in such a way as to ensure the Warriors emerge victorious”.


Warriors: Danny Ayres, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Taylor Hampshire, Rider Replacement for Alfie Bowtell, Jamie Bursill, Shaun Tedham.


Hitmen: Ben Wilson, Lewis Whitmore, Connor Coles, Tom Woolley, Rider Replacement for James Cockle, Kieran Douglas, Corban Pavitt.


Warriors Win Helped By Perfect Guests


Isle of Wight 58 Buxton 32


The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway team raced to their biggest win of the season tonight as they defeated the visiting Buxton Hitmen by twenty-six points with guest riders Danny Ayres and Taylor Hampshire contributing thirty one points towards the victory.


Going into this meeting without their usual spearhead of Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell, the Warriors were permitted the use of guest riders and as it turned out the Warriors management could not have made better choices.  Ayres, always the showman, has a reputation of being fast and aggressive at the Smallbrook track and rode unbeaten by an opponent all night whilst the talented teenager Hampshire showed great hunger to gather points with some sharp starting and fast passing when required.


Do not think that this was just a two man show.  All the Warriors chipped in with valuable contributions; none more so than reserve Shaun Tedham who took his first home league win on the way to amassing paid eight points.  Jamie Bursill, stepping in at reserve, also did his job well, Scott Campos was as dependable as ever whilst probably the unluckiest man was Danno Verge who took four rides in the first eight heat in searing conditions before being harshly dealt with in heat 10.  As the Buxton pair of Connor Coles and Tom Woolley collided right in front of him, Verge laid his bike down in an instance to avoid a serious crash only to see the Buxton pair regain control and ride off with Verge prostrate on the track.  The referee took no action and the Warriors ‘Pocket Rocket’ clearly felt hard done by, as did the majority of a healthy holiday crowd.


On the Buxton side, it was good to see former Warriors Ben Wilson and Connor Coles back on the Island and for the likeable Coles in particular it was a sweet return to track action after two months off with an ankle injury.  Three race wins on the night were well received on both sides of the pits.


Warriors team manager Jackie Vatcher was naturally pleased with her sides performance as she said, “Good work from everyone tonight.  With our top two missing I looked long and hard at the options to cover their big points and Danny was always top of the guest list as he goes so well here.  With Chris (Widman) also missing it gave me the chance to bring in Taylor who has been terrific here in recent weeks and I’m delighted the plan worked out.  A big thank you to both Danny and Taylor who gave us everything tonight and I just wanted to thank the fans whose vocal support was a tremendous boost to the riders”.  


Warriors: Danny Ayres 17+1, Danno Verge 8+1, Scott Campos 9+1, Taylor Hampshire 14+1, Rider Replacement for Alfie Bowtell, Jamie Bursill 4+1 and Shaun Tedham 6+2.


Hitmen: Ben Wilson 12, Lewis Whitmore 2, Connor Coles 10+1, Tom Woolley 6, Rider Replacement for James Cockle, Kieran Douglas 1, Corban Pavitt 1 and Sam Woolley 0.

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