No Magic Spell For The Racers
Reading Racers had to admit second best as the Isle of Wight Wizards beat them 23-13 in their latest Midland & Southern Development League match. Against a strong home line up the Racers needed their "A" game and maybe a little good fortune to get a result, but it wasn't to be, with any luck going against them and just compounding the defeat.
It began with Wizards' 15 year old National League star Chad Wirtzfeld leading from the start, while behind him Racers' skipper Nick Laurence suffered a puncture on the 2nd lap. This left Morgan Williams to take over second place to complete a maximum heat win with Rhys Laker behind him. In heat 2 Reading looked like taking a heat advantage of their own as Jamie Bursill led all the way from home man Jamie Sealey. However behind them, Racer William O'keefe allowed Chris Watts past him on the last bend to share the spoils.
Wirtzfeld was again untroubled in the 3rd while Bursill and O'keefe tucked in ahead of Williams who fell at the back. At 11-7 to the home team Laurence came out having fitted a well worn replacement tyre and led for 3 laps before Watts passed him, giving the Wizards a 4-2 advantage as Sealey took 3rd ahead of a struggling Laker.
At 6 points down the Racers needed heat advantages and Bursill led heat 5 all the way for the win, but homesters Watts and Williams picked up the minor placing to hold an unassailable lead going into the final race. O'keefe blasted from the tapes to lead Wirtzfeld and rode cleverly to keep the youngster behind him. However with both having raced in the preceding NL match and racking up 15 races between them, it was the home man's fitness that shone through as he took the lead at the end of the second lap. O'keefe then succumbed to Sealey as he ran out of steam in the last lap to cap a miserable night for the Racers.
Having tracked their strongest line up for a while, the Racers found themselves up against an accomplished Wight outfit who are especially dialled in to their home track, and are a threat to any team at this level. However as a team that are also very capable, the Reading camp were deeply disappointed with the margin of defeat.
Reading now take an 18 day break before facing Milton Keynes Knights on Bank Holiday Monday August 26th at Swindon in a fixture rearranged from earlier in the season.
Scorers: Isle of Wight Wizards; C. Wirtzfeld 9, M. Williams 3+2, J. Sealey 5+1, C. Watts 6+1. Reading Racers; N. Laurence 2, R. Laker 1, W. O'keefe 2+1, J. Bursill 8.
Heat details: Ht 1. Wirtzfeld, Williams, Laker, Laurence ef. Ht 2. Bursill, Sealey, Watts, O'keefe. Ht 3. Wirtzfeld, Bursill, O'keefe, Williams f. Ht 4. Watts, Laurence, Sealey, Laker. Ht 5. Bursill, Watts, Williams, Laker. Ht 6. Wirtzfeld, Sealey, O'keefe, Laurence.
Report by Gene Carter. Pic: Racers top scorer Jamie Bursill by Andy Griffin.