Wightlink Warriors aiming for a big response against Cradley as they eye cup progress

The Wightlink Warriors are back in action on Thursday when they host Cradley in the first round of the Knock Out Cup.

Wightlink Warriors are aiming to bounce back in the cup. Picture: Ian Groves/Sportography
Wightlink Warriors are aiming to bounce back in the cup. Picture: Ian Groves/Sportography

These two-legged matches will see the Isle of Wight side visit Cradley at their Wolverhampton base on May 20 with the aggregate winners going on to meet either Kent or Belle Vue Colts at the semi-final stage, writes Rob Dyer.

In previous years the draw has never been kind to the Warriors and yet again this season they have drawn one of the more favoured teams in the earliest stage of the competition.

It is therefore vital the Warriors make the most of home advantage in the first leg and build up a healthy lead going into the return.

The nomadic Heathens, still searching for a permanent base in or around the Dudley area of the West Midlands, have rejoined the National League for 2019 and have shrewdly recruited a side with potential to cause their opposition lots of problems.

In Max Clegg and Danny Halsey they have former National League Riders Champions.

Warriors will be looking to deliver an improved performance, following the reversal in their last home outing.

Co-promoter Barry Bishop admitted conditions were difficult on that day but is expecting a big response.

He said: ‘We made decisions based on what turned out to be several totally inaccurate weather forecasts and as a result the track was under-watered and we learned from it.

‘However, the track was the same for both sets of riders and it was clear that the Gladiators adapted to the conditions more than the Warriors did, which is why they won.

‘Fans, sponsors and management want to see that the team are hungry to win so rest assured we will be doing all we can to get things right both on and off track and we know we can’t sit back with the Heathens in town.

‘They never give you an easy ride and backed by their hardy band of travelling supporters we will have to be at our best to get a good result.’

This week, for anyone aged 34, it is free admission as part of the weekly age initiative being run by the club. Proof of age is required at the turnstile. Gates open at 5.30pm ahead of the first race at 7pm.

Warriors (from): Connor King, Ben Morley, Ryan Terry-Daley, Danno Verge, Chris Widman, Chad Wirtzfeld, Georgie Wood.

Heathens (from): Tom Brennan, Max Clegg, Danny Halsey, Luke Harris, Harry McGurk, Tom Spencer, Lewis Whitmore