Wednesday May 03, 2023
BIRMINGHAM came agonisingly close to their first victory of the season - but narrowly missed out 46-44 in a last heat decider against Scunthorpe at Perry Barr.

It was a much improved and much more spirited display from the Curtis Sport Brummies who had lost their previous three outings.

And despite going behind early doors, the Second City side came back fighting only to let it slip in the closing stages.
Scunthorpe raced into a six point lead after five races.

But a hat-trick of 5-1 maximums in the next five saw the hosts move into a 33-27 lead after Heat Ten.

The Brummies would only win one of the final five races though and despite taking it down to a last heat decider, Scunthorpe No.1 Ryan Douglas stormed to his fifth straight success to secure an unbeaten night personally and the two point Knockout Cup first leg lead for the Scorpions.

Club co-owner Nigel Tolley said: "The Brummies riders really are gunning for that first win of the year - and we got so close to it tonight.

"Some riders are hitting form one night and others are going off the form - but one day soon all of them are going to hit form at the same time and we're really going to take off.

"Overall, while we're obviously disappointed with the defeat, I think things were looking better tonight.

"I think the riders are starting to get used to the new track set-up, the riders themselves are coming together more and I'm leaving the stadium feeling much more optimistic after that."

Winter signing Alfie Bowtell was the standout rider of the night as he enjoyed one of his best ever displays in the second tier.
He was involved in all three of the Brummies' 5-1s and fully deserved his Heat 15 nomination from team boss Laurence Rogers.

Nick Morris again found double figures for the third home meeting in succession while guest Paco Castagna won two of his four rides, just as he did a fortnight ago.

Justin Sedgmen started with three strong outings before being frustrated by a last place in Heat 13.

Stefan Nielsen was in the thick of the action all night, and found himself excluded in the penultimate race after a hard ride from Scunthorpe's Jake Allen forced him to switch line at last minute on bend four, only to be collected by team-mate Ty Proctor who was getting to grips with a new engine and who was still feeling far from 100 per cent following recent illness.

Meanwhile, fellow reserve James Pearson picked himself up from a hefty tumble in his second race to produce a stunning ride and claim a 5-1 with Bowtell in Heat Eight.

The second leg of the Knockout Cup Quarter-Final takes place at Scunthorpe this Friday (May 5, 7.30) before Brummies head to Redcar in their final BSN Series clash on Saturday (May 6).

The next meeting at Perry Barr takes place on Wednesday, May 17 (7.30) when the Curtis Sport Brummies host Edinburgh in their first home Cab Direct Championship fixture of the season.

BIRMINGHAM 44: Alfie Bowtell 11+2, Nick Morris 10+2, Paco Castagna 8, Justin Sedgmen 7, Stefan Nielsen 3+1, Ty Proctor 3, James Pearson 2+1
SCUNTHORPE 46: Ryan Douglas 15, Joe Thompson 9+1, Michael Palm Toft 8, Jake Allen 7+1, Connor Mountain 4+2, Simon Lambert 2, Lee Complin 1

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