IN what may turn out to be their final home match of the season, the Wightlink Islanders, having previously defeated both Buxton and Mildenhall, made it three wins out of three in this year’s National Trophy competition by beating Stoke 47-43 at Smallbrook on Tuesday.
The loyal home fans who came along to cheer their team were treated to some excellent high-speed action, with never more than six points separating the teams.
And Islanders’ No.6 Danny Stoneman typified the team’s determination to send those fans home in celebratory mood by shrugging off the horror of blowing his engine while leading heat two and scoring vital points in his four further outings astride bikes borrowed from either Ben Hopwood or skipper Danny Warwick.
Skipper Warwick set the tone by winning the opening heat by a country mile before Stoneman suffered his misfortune in the next race, which resulted in Stoke recording a 5-1 advantage to take a two-point lead.
They maintained that advantage until consecutive 4-2 victories in heats 6 and 7 for the home side, with Warwick and Paul Starke recording victories, saw them move back into the lead.
After three consecutive shared heats, a fall sustained by Stoke’s top man Ashley Birks while chasing race leader Starke in heat 11 and the Islanders’ resultant 5-1 heat advantage proved crucial, as it put them six points clear at 36-30 with just four races remaining.
Warwick and his crew saw out those four races to seal victory.
The Islanders now face three away trophy matches and a wait to see if they can go to King’s Lynn and win on Wednesday for, if they do, it should be enough to secure their place in the playoffs for the top four in the National League.
Islanders scorers: Danny Warwick 13, Paul Starke 11+1, Ben Hopwood 9+2, Danny Stoneman 7+2, Steve Jones 6+2, Ross Walter 1