Wighlink Warriors and Wizards suffer home disappointment against Plymouth and Exeter
Both the Wightlink Warriors and Wizards were left to lick their wounds after both sides failed to master Devonian rivals Plymouth and Exeter in their respective match-ups on Thursday night.
The Warriors suffered a 42-48 defeat at the hands of Plymouth, while the Wizards saw Exeter get the better of them 16-20.
With several weather forecasts indicating rain was likely, the Warriors management delayed track watering in the hope that mother nature would contribute to the task.
But when it became apparent that the forecasts were going to be considerably awry, late efforts to get sufficient moisture into the surface were, regrettably, too little too late.
The resultant dusty conditions made visibility and passing very difficult and in fairness to the visitors they did adapt well to the circuit.
Tracking four ex-Warriors who combined to score 41 of their 48 point total, the Gladiators had the star men on the night.
Nathan Stoneman racked up a maximum 15 points, Ben Wilson suffered just one defeat, while Scott Campos secured 12 well taken points.
Of the former Warriors, only Jamie Bursill was down on points – understandable as he needed a hospital visit to assess wrist problems after a fourth race fall.
The Warriors could not get going and stop the succession of race wins by the visitors.
Their quick gating was proving hard to overcome and on the night Warriors’ big guns were unusually subdued.
Yet the continued progress of Danno Verge, Chad Wirtzfeld and Connor King was pleasing and bodes well as the season unfolds.
Unfortunately, the Warriors’ malaise reached the Wizards as well as they succumbed to the visiting Falcons.
Both sides featured riders who had been very busy in the Warrior match and the physical and mechanical fatigue was evident.
That said, the Falcons’ Saul Bulley, with 11 points, laid the foundation for the visitors’ victory as they kicked their campaign off on a high note by winning a last race decider.
Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop found it hard to hard hide his emotions and disappointment.
He said: ‘That has been one of the most frustrating days we have had here in the last four seasons.
‘All the weather forecasts said rain and we had totally the opposite.
‘At lunchtime we considered calling it off because of the forecast but it stayed dry and we were rushed into getting some moisture down.
‘Sadly, it was too little too late and I am still hugely upset that we could not deliver a track that was fair to both spectators and riders.
‘I spoke to the crowd both at the start and end of the meeting and repeat my apology. We were in a no-win situation.
‘To add to our woes, neither the Warriors or Wizards could really get going, with the Gladiators and Falcons taking deserved wins.
‘However, in adversity we have a chance to learn and, both on and off track, we found out things that we need to address that will make us better and stronger going forward.’