Bears beaten in Championship opener
Redcar were defeated 52-38 by the impressive Oxford Cheetahs in the side’s opening Cab Direct Championship meeting of the season. Danny King continued his impressive form with 12 points, (including 4 race wins) whilst Scott Nicholls continued his storming start to 2023 with a 13 point haul.
Oxford began on the front foot with a 4-2 heat advantage as Oxford’s Australian star Sam Masters took the win ahead of the Redcar guest Tom Brennan, but with Connor Bailey at the rear, Oxford took the early lead.
Redcar then registered their first heat winner in heat 2 as Jason Edwards won but it could have been a whole lot better for Redcar. Jake Mulford suffered bike problems whilst partnering Edwards to a Bears maximum which forced the young Brit to retire from the race to hand the Cheetahs a shared race.
Despite the Bears being behind after two more shared heats, the visitors had recorded 3 of the 4 heat winners with heat 3 being won by Charles Wright whilst King took the heat 4 chequered flag.
The Cheetahs extended their lead to 6 points after Jordan Jenkins joined Leon Flint at the front to keep Brennan behind and the Bears were on the end of a home maximum heat advantage. However, Redcar cut the gap to 4 with their first heat advantage with King taking his second win whilst Edwards got the better of Cameron Heeps for third to please the travelling support.
The Cheetahs immediately returned the favour in heat 7 as Nicholls won comfortably but with Danyon Hume behind Henry Atkins, Oxford’s 6 point advantage was restored. Cameron Heeps then got the better of Edwards in heat 8 after a fierce early battle whilst Luke Killeen passed Bailey on bend 3 of lap 1 to secure another Oxford 4-2 with the Sandy Lane outfit’s lead now extended to 8.
The Bears kept themselves within touching distance as King made it 8 wins on the spin in Bears colours to win heat nine with Wright (in as a tactical substitute) claiming third to reduce Oxford’s lead to 6. Oxford then hit a potentially telling blow in heat 10 with their 2nd 5-1 of the match to stretch their lead to 10 points.
After a shared heat 11 won by Nicholls, the “Agilia” Bears hit their first 5-1 as Wright and Edwards won very comfortably ahead of Flint and Killeen to once again bring Redcar back within a shout of away success. However, as soon as Redcar found a potential way back into the contest, Oxford responded with a 5-1 of their own to land a killer blow as Masters and Nicholls combined to end King’s winning run and put Oxford on course for their opening league win of 2023.
Atkins completed a superb night with a heat 14 win and with the former Bear, Jordan Jenkins securing second, the Cheetahs put an exclamation mark on an impressive evening on home shale. Heat 15 saw King take another win but with both Cheetahs packing the minor placings, Oxford secured a 52-38 win to open their Cab Direct Championship tally for 2023.
Oxford Cheetahs = 52
1. Sam Masters = 10+3
2. Cameron Heeps = 7
3. Leon Flint (G) = 6
4. Jordan Jenkins = 7+3
5. Scott Nicholls = 13
6. Henry Atkins = 6
7. Luke Killeen = 3+2
Redcar Bears = 38
1. Tom Brennan (G) = 6
2. Connor Bailey = 0
3. Charles Wright = 9
4. Danyon Hume = 1
5. Danny King = 12
6. Jason Edwards = 9+2
7. Jake Mulford = 1