CUP HOPES IN THE BALANCE

Monday May 07, 2018
WOLVERHAMPTON have it all to do in the Quarter-Finals of the Knockout Cup after falling to a 57-33 first leg defeat at Belle Vue.

Parrys International Wolves were able to register just five race wins and only one heat advantage in sweltering conditions in Manchester.

Sam Masters led that Heat Four 4-2 and the Australian admits the Monmore men simply couldn't live up to their opponents.

"Their boys are so strong at home and when they're really dialled in, they know how to build up so much speed," Masters said.

"It's easily the most enjoyable track to ride but it's by far the hardest track to hold on to a lead at because there's so many different lines which makes for some awesome racing.

"Obviously we could've done a lot better, but I think the score makes it look like we rode a lot worse than we actually did.

"This is our first real setback of the season results wise though so we've just got to keep our chins up, get back to winning ways in the league next week and then do what they've done to us when they come to our place next month."

The Monmore men got off to the worst possible start conceding a 5-1 in the opener after wonderkid Dan Bewley made a stunning gate for the hosts before home No.1 Craig Cook worked his way by Kyle Howarth down the back straight.

Wolves reserve Ashley Morris battled his way around his opponents with an outside swoop off bend two of the opening lap in the second in just one of five heat wins for the visitors. And despite a promising gate, team-mate Nathan Greaves was unable to hold on to third place after a wobble in the first two turns.

It was Morris who made a flyer in the fourth with Sam Masters joining him out front, but home skipper Max Fricke was able to split the duo, rounding Morris on the entrance to lap two.

After Howarth and Jacob Thorssell conceded another 5-1, it looked like Masters was set to record consecutive race wins.

But teenage sensation Dan Bewley steamed by the Australian without Masters putting a wheel wrong who just shook his head in disbelief going into the final lap.

A battling display from Cameron Heeps saw him snatch third place on the line after an enthralling tussle with home man Jye Etheridge - but there was still a ten point gap between the two sides with seven gone.

Bewley charged from last to second behind partner Damian Drozdz in the eighth before Masters again was caught out heading into the final lap of the ninth when Rohan Tungate chopped back to the inside to hit the front.

A devastating mid-meeting period saw Wolves fall 20 behind and when Howarth was disqualified for taking down Etheridge in Heat 11, Thorssell's only race win of the day simply temporarily stopped the Manchester men's runaway.

The second leg takes place at Monmore Green on Monday, June 18 (7.30) with Wolves also back on home shale next Monday (May 14, 7.30) when Somerset are the visitors, led by World Champion Jason Doyle.

Meanwhile, Kyle Howarth has been selected as one of four Great Britain representatives for this month's Grand Prix qualifiers.

The 24-year-old will line-up alongside reigning British Champion Craig Cook in Abensberg, Germany on Monday, May 21 - ruling him out of the Parrys International Wolves' Premiership trip to Leicester.

PREMIERSHIP KO CUP QUARTER-FINAL 1ST LEG:
BELLE VUE 57: Max Fricke 13+1, Dan Bewley 11+1, Rohan Tungate 9+2, Craig Cook 7+3, Nicolai Klindt 6+1, Damien Drozdz 6+1, Jye Etheridge 5+1.
WOLVERHAMPTON 33: Rory Schlein 9+1, Sam Masters 9, Cameron Heeps 4+1, Jacob Thorssell 4, Ashley Morris 4, Kyle Howarth 3, Nathan Greaves 0.

Picture: EDDIE GARVEY

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