MONMORE Green has been a happy hunting ground for the Buildbase Bees in recent seasons - but the home side gained some measure of revenge in this early Craven Shield clash.
Wolves were faster out of the gate for large portions of the meeting and restricted Bees to just five heat winners, all of which came in the second half of the match, by which time the home side already had a good lead to defend.
There were eye-catching performances from several of Wolves' new riders, who were clearly all out to impress, and whilst Bees weren't helped by assorted mechanical problems, they also had no complaints that the better side on the night had won.
With home skipper Fredrik Lindgren surprisingly at the back of Heat 1, Bees might have expected to take an early advantage, but in fact it was Ales Dryml who shot away from the start to take the flag, with Rory Schlein and Billy Janniro combining to keep Lindgren at bay - and Wolves were quickly into their stride in a re-started Heat 2 after Nicolai Klindt had taken a knock on the first bend. The Dane charged away in impressive style to win in the fastest time of the night, and the Bees reserves could not put in a challenge on Christian Hefenbrock either as Wolves carded a 5-1.
There was drama in Heat 3 as Wolves gated in front only for Chris Harris and Olly Allen to go either side of Kenneth Hansen before Harris ground to a halt at the end of the first lap. Hansen then shed a chain on lap three, and with his rear wheel stuck he was unable to push around for the gift point, so a 3-2 was the outcome.
Simon Stead managed to pass David Howe in the early stages of Heat 4, but Hefenbrock was underlining Wolves' reserve strength by taking the race lead, and that saw the home side extend their lead to seven points.
Heat 5 was shared thanks to a terrific ride by Niels-Kristian Iversen, who chased Schlein and Janniro for two laps and then dived inside them going into the third lap to go from third to first in one move. And Wolves took full advantage of that let-off when Dryml and Lindgren carded maximum points over Stead in Heat 6, the Bees man having only just made it to the starting line in time following trouble in the pits.
Howe and Allen had a good battle over the first lap of Heat 7 before the Wolves man pulled clear, and Bees finally had a race winner to celebrate in Heat 8 thanks to a good ride by Janniro, who sized up Hefenbrock for a lap before cutting inside him as they came off the second bend on lap two. Wolves, however, were content to share the points and then extend their lead to 13 in Heat 9 with Iversen reeling off his third straight win and Hansen taking his first point of the night.
Then Bees began to edge their way back into contention, with Harris and Allen out-trapping Lindgren and Dryml in Heat 10, and although Lindgren passed Allen at the end of lap one, Bees completed a 4-2 for their first advantage of the night.
After his good win in Heat 8, Janniro received the nomination for a tactical ride in Heat 11, but as things turned out it was Schlein who made the start - and Janniro so nearly joined him for an 8-1. The American went from fourth to second, passing both Klindt and Howe, but Howe kept his head and came back inside Janniro to leave the outcome of the race as a 5-2 in Bees' favour.
With the gap at eight points, Bees still had a faint chance which was maintained when Harris rode a marvellous race in Heat 12 having been out-gated, passing both Iversen and Hefenbrock in a spectacular outside move.
He may have been called upon to do it again from 15 metres in Heat 14 had Bees retained a chance of winning the meeting from eight points down - but as it turned out, they went 12-down and out of contention when they conceded a 5-1 in Heat 13, Howe and Lindgren emerging from the start clear of Schlein and Stead, and that was match over.
Allen rode well to win Heat 14, taking advantage of an early error by Klindt to go into the lead on the back straight, but it was Wolves who finished with a flourish as, after a re-start following Harris's first bend fall, Lindgren and Howe again made electric starts and there was quite simply no way through for either Harris or Janniro.
Not the best of nights for the Buildbase Bees, although it should be remembered that they suffered their heaviest defeat of 2007 in their first match, at Peterborough, and of course a season of outstanding success followed - an early defeat cannot wreck a season, as long as the lessons from the outcome are quickly learned.