Wightlink Islanders skipper Danny Warwick, left, and top-scorer Paul Starke, in action. Picture by Mike Thomas Copyright www.lifestyleimaging.net
SPEEDWAYWightlink Islanders 58, Rye House Raiders 31
WIGHTLINK Islanders are through to this year’s National League Knock-out Cup semi-finals after thumping Hertfordshire side Rye House in the second leg of their first-round tie at Smallbrook on Tuesday.
Trailing by three points from the first leg at Hoddesdon back in March, which the Raiders won 49-46, Islanders’ skipper Danny Warwick and his side had to dig deep to pull off the victory.
Anyone who thought pulling back those three points would be easy were mistaken as Rye House still held a one-point aggregate lead with six heats ridden.
But at that point, Islanders stepped up a gear with Warwick, Paul Starke and new signing Kyle Hughes on his club debut, all going on to end the match with double figure scores, and make the final aggregate score 104-80.
Progression was sealed in style with the hosts recording maximum 5-1 advantages in each of the last four heats.
All this was achieved without the services of teenager Marc Owen, who suffered a concussion in a crash at the British Under-21 Championships at Wolverhamp-ton last week, and was advised not to ride this week.
It mattered little though as the home side made light of his absence with all six remaining Islanders scoring points at vital stages of Tuesday’s match, none more so than Hughes, who remained unbeaten by any visiting rider in all five of his races and was given the traditional bumps by his new team mates after achieving that feat.
The team thanked track curator Brian Morris and his band of helpers for making the track ridable, despite the heavy rain that fell through last week.
The Islanders are in action again on Tuesday, when they host Stoke Potters in the second leg of the Wightlink Trophy. Tapes go up at 7.30pm.
Islanders’ scorers: Paul Starke 14+2 (6 rides), Kyle Hughes 13+2 (5 rides), Danny Warwick 10 (4 rides), Danny Stoneman 9+2 (6 rides), Ben Hopwood 9 (4 rides), Gary Cottham 3+1 (5 rides)