Belle Vue took another consolation point from their National League travels on Friday after a fiercely-fought 46-44 battle against Plymouth went down to the wire, with the Devils emerging victorious.
Despite being without four of their regular riders, the Cool Running Colts were far from hampered and displayed extraordinary determination to ensure their long trip south was not a wasted one.
It seemed as though their hosts had the upper hand after taking the lead early doors, until a 5-1 in Heat 3 from Joe Lawlor and guest Drew Kemp ignited full-on scrap that would last the night.
A repeat performance from the same pairing in Heat 7 drew the scores level at 21 apiece, after which there was never more than two points separating the two teams at any one given time.
It boiled down to a last-heat decider in which either side could’ve walked away the winners, but team boss Graham Goodwin says he’s far from disappointed to have just missed out on the win.
He said: “It was a close meeting from start to finish. We couldn’t be prouder of the boys for pulling together as well as they did. They put in maximum effort which is all we can ask for.
“The guests did extremely well and Joe [Lawlor] excelled as the captain, and just the way that everyone got stuck in was very pleasing because the Devils hit us hard in the opening races.
“But the boys had the hunger to aim for the win. You couldn’t predict one heat from the next it was that close, but we aren’t disappointed with the result because of the effort they put in.”
Manchester will welcome two of the biggest events on the 2018 calendar to the NSS in the coming week, with the highly-anticipated inaugural Speedway of Nations landing on Tuesday June 5.
Then, reigning British Champion Craig Cook will defend his crown on June 11 while 15 other British hopefuls, including Belle Vue’s Dan Bewley, look to strip him of his hard-earned title.
RESULT - PLYMOUTH V BELLE VUE - FRIDAY JUNE 1
Plymouth Devils 46: Adam Roynon 17, Richard Andrews 11, Henry Atkins 9, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Macauley Leek 3+1, Jordan Bull (G) 0, James Cockle R/R
Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts 44: Danyon Hume (G) 11+1, Joe Lawlor 10+1, Drew Kemp (G) 8+2, Ben Hopwood (G) 8, Ben Woodhull 3+1, Kean Dicken 3+1, James Chattin (G) 1
National League Points: Plymouth 3 Belle Vue 1