COVENTRY’S National Trophy hopes were hit by a 40-49 defeat to rivals Cradley at Leicester on Sunday.
Former Bees rider Adam Roynon led the visitors with a five-ride paid maximum as the Heathens avenged their defeat from when the sides met earlier in the season at Monmore Green.
Whilst Roynon’s full house enabled the visitors to neutralise the Bees’ heat-leader threat of Connor Mountain and Jon Armstrong, it was with a free-scoring reserve that the match was won.
Despite the efforts of Jamie Halder, who continued his good form with paid-10, the Heathens’ Drew Kemp piled up 16 points to underline his prodigious talent.
Ironically Kemp would not even have been in the meeting had Mildenhall’s trip to Buxton scheduled for the same day not been called off last week – and his inclusion made all the difference, as he won five races.
The Heathens took control of the meeting early on, opening with three heat advantages.
But Bees were back in the match in the sixth race as they were handed a 5-0 in scenes reminiscent of the Heathens’ most recent visits to Brandon when they raced against the Storm and threw away a catalogue of points.
Chris Widman had already retired at the back when Alfie Bowtell was deemed to have collided with Danny Phillips on the second lap and was disqualified.
Bowtell, however, made amends by comfortably winning Heat 8 before tucking in behind Kemp for a 5-1 in the ninth as the visitors moved nine in front.
Bees hit back in Heat 10 through Mountain and Phillips, reducing the gap to five, but that was as good as it got for the hosts as Roynon and Kemp dominated the closing stages, taking all five race wins between them, with Roynon’s Heat 13 first place preventing any damage being caused by a fall for Bowtell.
Kemp’s victory in Heat 14 secured Cradley’s win on the day but they still needed to avoid conceding a 5-1 in the final race to ensure a maximum haul of Trophy points.
The Bees made the start but Roynon quickly worked his way through into second place and then passed Armstrong at the start of the third lap to complete his maximum, leaving Bees now adrift in the battle for qualification.
Manager Martyn Macdonald said: “It was really tough right from when I looked at their line-up in midweek, and from then it looked like a David v Goliath encounter – and unfortunately we didn’t have any big rocks to chuck at them!
“Obviously I’m disappointed because I’d like to win everything, but I’m not too disappointed, as they’re such a good team.
“It was a good meeting, and it ended with exactly the same score as we beat them by at their place. One or two of our boys struggled on the day, but there’s nothing we can really do about that and we just have to move on from it.”
COVENTRY 40: Jon Armstrong 11+1, Connor Mountain 11+1, Jamie Halder 8+2, Danny Phillips 7+2, Luke Harris 3, Ryan MacDonald 0, Luke Ruddick r/r. CRADLEY 49: Drew Kemp 16, Adam Roynon 14+1, Alfie Bowtell 7+1, Jason Edwards 7, Kyle Bickley 3+2, Chris Widman 2, Bradley Andrews r/r.