Wednesday August 23, 2023
BIRMINGHAM’S riders again failed to rise to the occasion at home as their play-off hopes were dealt another damaging blow.

The Curtis Sport Brummies were comfortably beaten 55-35 by Scunthorpe - a team who have struggled on their travels all season, yet managed to pick up their third win of the year in the Second City in all competitions.

Guest No.1 Josh Pickering flew away from the tapes in Heat One to set the fastest time of the season so far - but three races later the hosts were ten points down after another set of sluggish opening outings followed, something which has been the case far too often this season.

Riders from both teams weren’t entirely comfortable with the racing surface and that led to remedial track work taking place.

Scunthorpe came back out and eased to another 5-1 though as they moved 22-8 ahead though.

And after again showing the regular Birmingham riders how it was done by taking the chequered flag in Heat Six, Pickering was nominated as a tactical substitute in the seventh.

There he combined with skipper Justin Sedgmen for a 5-1 with the gap back down to ten.

But the Brummies would only go on to win two of the final eight races, much to the disgust of Club CEO Nigel Tolley.

“First of all I’ve got to apologise to everyone who paid their hard earned money to come and watch Brummies tonight,” he said.

“We accept that the track may have acted as a catalyst for those opening four races and we know we got it wrong from the off on that front - but it’s the same for both sides and Scunthorpe attacked it better than we did.

“The riders knew the importance of tonight’s meeting and apart from Josh, who of course is a guest, and somewhat Sedgy, as a team we didn’t exactly pull our weight did we?

“Scunthorpe walked all over us and we didn’t look like a team who deserve to be anywhere near the play-offs.

“That was nowhere near good enough; I’m seething and I’m very angry.

“Again I can only sympathise with and apologise to our loyal supporters who came along to watch that performance - they have been badly let down.”

Birmingham now head to sixth placed Edinburgh on Friday (August 25, 8.45) where a win is realistically required to keep their feint hopes alive.

BIRMINGHAM 35: Josh Pickering 15+1, Justin Sedgmen 8+2, Troy Batchelor 6, Paul Starke 3, Alfie Bowtell 2+1, Sam Hagon 1, Stefan Nielsen 0
SCUNTHORPE 55: Ryan Douglas 13+1, Drew Kemp 11+1, Michael Palm Toft 8+1, Connor Mountain 7+2, Simon Lambert 6+1, Jake Allen 6, Nathan Ablitt 4+3
Scunthorpe win aggregate bonus point

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