COVENTRY Storm suffered last-gasp heartache as they slipped to a 49-41 defeat at Rye House on Saturday afternoon.
The City Gearboxes Storm put in a battling display at Hoddesdon and held a six-point lead entering the final four races.
But the Raiders struck three devastating 5-1s in the final three races to snatch a dramatic win and leave Laurence Rogers’ side agonisingly short of a consolation point.
It was a frustrating end to an encouraging afternoon for the Storm – and team boss Rogers was unable to hide his disappointment.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Rogers. “We thought we were on our way to another victory to make it three on the trot, but credit to Rye House.
“We had plenty of bad luck, twice with JPB (Jack Parkinson-Blackburn) including a puncture when he was winning his last ride, and things just didn’t go our way in the end.
“We’ll take plenty of positives out of it, particularly Jamie (Halder) and Callum (Walker) at reserve.
“All credit to Ellis (Perks) and Jack (Parkinson-Blackburn) for coming in as guests. It was always going to be tough without Dan Greenwood and Liam (Carr), but we kept battling and nearly got a victory.”
Youngster Jamie Halder top scored for the visitors with the best performance of his Coventry career to date.
Reserve partner Callum Walker also impressed with a strong showing, whilst guesting No.1 Ellis Perks bagged a hard-fought nine points against a strong Rye House top three.
Conor Dwyer and guest Jack Parkinson-Blackburn also claimed a race win apiece, but Parkinson-Blackburn twice encountered bike troubles when in scoring positions including a puncture when leading the penultimate race.
Ryan Terry-Daley withdrew after just one ride with a recurrence of the injury he suffered at Birmingham last week.
With heat-leader Mitchell Davey also experiencing a tough afternoon, the Brandon outfit just missed out.
They will be back in action as they host Mildenhall immediately after the Elite League meeting between the Buildbase Bees and Lakeside on Friday.
RYE HOUSE 49: Rob Branford 14+1, Ben Morley 14+1, Luke Priest 8, Sam Woods 6+1, Matt Saul 3, Connor Locke 2+1, Macauley Leek 2 COVENTRY 41: Jamie Halder 11+1, Ellis Perks 9, Callum Walker 5+3, Conor Dwyer 5+2, Mitchell Davey 5+1, Jack Parkinson Blackburn 5, Ryan Terry-Daley 1 National League points: Rye House 3 Coventry 0