COVENTRY Storm’s troubled home run continued with double defeat in Friday’s National League double header at Brandon.
The City Gearboxes Storm first went down 43-47 to the Isle of Wight in a match which swung on an astonishing display from Warriors reserve Nathan Stoneman.
After that, Kent showed exactly why they are challenging for league title honours with a rampant 60-30 victory in which they were simply the better side in every department.
The Isle of Wight match was the most frustrating, because rarely will a reserve ever reel off seven successive wins on his way to a 21-point maximum, especially on an away track.
Stoneman, who only returned to the sport in mid-season, did just that with a succession of fast starts which took him to a fully deserved full house.
Not surprisingly he was used to the maximum quota of seven rides, although the Warriors’ tactics of having riders repeatedly failing to beat the two minute time allowance to ensure maximum time between races hardly presented the sport in a positive light or showed any consideration for the paying public.
Even with Stoneman’s heroics, the Storm still looked to have enough to win the match as they held leads of six and four points at various stages, being 41-37 up with two heats to go.
But Stoneman’s seventh win in Heat 14 was backed up by a surprise second place for Chris Widman to level the scores.
Then in Heat 15 guest Tom Perry and Liam Carr made the start for the Storm only for the race to be called back, seemingly due to movement from the Warriors’ James Cockle – and in the re-run, which also appeared unsatisfactory, Cockle and Mark Baseby hit the front with Carr suffering mechanical trouble on lap two and Perry unable to find a way through.
The second match turned out to be a walk in the park for Kent, with Storm riders gradually becoming more and more mechanically plagued and also feeling the effects of two meetings in one night.
The home side did provide four of the first seven race wins, with Perry outstanding as he won his opening three outings, but the Kings pulled off 5-1s in the races where they got ahead.
Carr was forced out after a blown engine in his fourth ride whilst Ryan Terry-Daley, Jamie Halder and Conor Dwyer all hit trouble too as the Kings gradually extended their advantage.
Luke Bowen, Danny Ayres and James Shanes all dropped just one point, and Danno Verge enjoyed a field day at reserve with first-year rider Jack Thomas also impressing greatly.
There was a lengthy wait for Heat 15 – ironically because Shanes had to be disqualified under the two minute time allowance in order to make the Kings’ choice of Verge legal – and it came to an unfortunate end for Perry, who gave 100 per cent for the cause but fell on the second lap when trying to pass Ayres, thankfully without injury.
Coventry manager Laurence Rogers said: “I would have bet on us in Heat 15 against the Isle of Wight, but we couldn’t pull it off although all credit to Tom Perry for his great efforts as a guest for us today.
“Other than that, we’ve had so many problems. We’ve had engines blow up, we’ve had ‘arm pump’ galore, and it’s not just excuses because we’ve lost.
“Mitchell Davey will have more treatment over the next week, although in all honesty I fear his season could be over, which would be a great pity because he’s been superb for us.”
COVENTRY 43: Liam Carr 12, Tom Perry 10+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+2, Callum Walker 6, Conor Dwyer 5+1, Jamie Halder 4+1, Dan Greenwood r/r. ISLE OF WIGHT 47: Nathan Stoneman 21, James Cockle 9+1, Mark Baseby 6+1, Chris Widman 5+1, Kelsey Dugard 4+1, Lee Smart 1, Layne Cupitt 1.
COVENTRY 30: Tom Perry 10, Ryan Terry-Daley 6, Liam Carr 6, Conor Dwyer 5+1, Callum Walker 3+1, Jamie Halder 0, Dan Greenwood r/r. KENT 60: Danny Ayres 14+3, Jack Thomas 12+1, Danno Verge 11+4, Luke Bowen 10+1, James Shanes 10+1, Luke Clifton 3+1, David Mason r/r.