NEWS Sunday 30th September 2012, 7:11pm
We had a very disappointing day at Scunthorpe in our first Premier Playoff match, losing 59-34 and suffering injury once again to Craig Cook in his second ride.
He had won the opening heat from Josh Auty off the favourable gate four in by far the fastest time of the meeting, then missed the gate in heat 5 off the distinctly unfavourable gate three.
Attempting a last bend pass on Bunyan, he ran out of room and hit the fence. His blow-up protection jacket did not seem to do much of a job and he has a rib injury. We will find out the extent of it when he visits hospital back home.
We also had the race winner in heat 2, an excellent effort from the back by Jozsef Tabaka, also in his first ride back.
We lost a 4-2 in heat 3 and seemed sure to share heat 4 as Andrew Tully led comfortably from Morris going into the last corner. This Andrew got completely wrong, tried to correct and came off on the final straight.
Our fortunes then plummeted as we lost 5-1s in five races running, and by heat 8 we were trailing 35-13 and thinking about some kind of damage limitation.
We took a fortunate heat 9 5-1 after Bunyan stopped, and three heats later a deserved 8-1 from Theo Pijper and Jozsef Tabaka. Our Hungarian reserve was our most consistent performer throughout.
It was apparent from these two advantages how important it was to be well placed early in the race, because the home men found it just as hard as we did to recover lost ground on a track with a very strong outside line.
Tabaka and Palm Toft fought an excellent battle in heat 14, won by the Dane, but by the end we were a depressing 25 points down.
We will have to do better in our forthcoming Cup and Playoff matches, and right now we don't know if that will be with or without our inspirational no. 1.