COVENTRY Storm are top of the early National League table after a convincing 56-39 win over Stoke at Brandon on Friday.
Skipper James Sarjeant and Joe Jacobs were both unbeaten for the home side, who provided thirteen of the fifteen heat winners in a dominant overall display.
The Potters were blown away by an early run of Storm advantages which took Coventry 25-11 up, and although the visitors rallied mid-meeting they had no answer to the big guns in the closing stages of the meeting.
Jacobs and Martin Knuckey set the ball rolling with an impressive 5-1 over Lee Smart in Heat 1, and home debutant Luke Crang won the reserves’ race by a distance – although he was to experience mixed fortunes for the remainder of the evening.
Brendan Johnson kicked off his best display of the season with a win in Heat 3 before partnering Robert Branford to maximum points in Heat 5, whilst Sarjeant used the outside to good effect to get the better of Kyle Hughes in Heat 4.
Fourteen points down, the visitors gained some relief when Crang crashed heavily in Heat 8, and although he was uninjured a lengthy delay whilst air-fence repairs were carried out seemed to give the Potters time to regroup.
Kyle Hughes picked up four points on a tactical ride in Heat 9 after a good battle with Johnson, and Ben Reade took the maximum six three races later with a super effort to pass Branford – and that brought the gap down to nine points with Crang having come to grief again in Heat 10.
But that was as good as it got for the visitors, because Sarjeant and Jacobs were utterly dominant in Heats 13 and 15, whilst Johnson controlled Heat 14 for a race win which mathematically ensured all three league points.
Race leader Jacobs also had the presence of mind to ease off on the run to the line in Heat 15 to allow Sarjeant through to complete a full 15-point maximum, with Jacobs still paid for the lot.
Coventry co-boss Blayne Scroggins said: “I’m really pleased, we knew we had to get three points and we really turned it on.
“We were a bit unlucky against Dudley at home, and twice against Mildenhall, but we knew we had to get firing on all cylinders. We’re not quite there completely but it’s going well.
“Joe (Jacobs) has taken a couple of meetings to get dialled-in here, and he’s really looking good, and James (Sarjeant) was so fired up for tonight. That was some great team-riding from two such young riders.
“I’ve said all along that we’ll be going about our business quietly, but I think we’ve let people know what we’re all about now.”
COVENTRY 56: James Sarjeant 15, Joe Jacobs 13+2, Brendan Johnson 9+1, Robert Branford 9, Martin Knuckey 5+1, Luke Crang 5+1, Tommy Fenwick 0.
STOKE 39: Ben Reade 12, Kyle Hughes 9, Lee Smart 5, Luke Chessell 4+1, Lee Payne 4+1, Luke Priest 3+3, Shaun Tedham 2.
COVENTRY 56 Joe Jacobs 3 3 3 2* 2* = 13+2 Martin Knuckey 2* 1 2 M = 5+1 Robert Branford 1 3 3 2 = 9 Brendan Johnson 3 2* 1 3 = 9+1 James Sarjeant 3 3 3 3 3 = 15 Tommy Fenwick 0 0 0 0 = 0 Luke Crang 3 1 X X 1* = 5+1