The Monarch Oxford Cheetahs extended their lead at the top of the Jubilee League (South) table on Wednesday night with a fine 56-34 win over Plymouth Gladiators.
Cheetahs entered the tie knowing a win was required given Poole Pirates’ strong start to the competition and subsequent win away to Birmingham this evening.
Jason Crump and Peter Schroeck’s men are just a point clear of their Dorset rivals, who have two meetings in hand and visit Oxford Stadium on Tuesday, August 2, for what will be a must-win meeting for the Cheetahs.
Gladiators were dealt a blow before a wheel had turned when Ben Barker was withdrawn from the visitors’ line-up after he was declared unfit.
Cheetahs took full advantage of Barker’s absence and quickly established a 12-point lead by heat five with race wins courtesy of Scott Nicholls and Cameron Heeps – who won his first three rides.
Plymouth staged a brief fightback when registering race advantages in heats eight and nine, but with Bowtell withdrawing from the meeting the visitors were always up against it.
A 40-26 lead for the Monarch Cheetahs at the interval was built on in the concluding four heats as 5-1s in heats 13 and 14 confirmed a convincing 56-34 victory for the hosts.
Oxford Cheetahs resume their Championship Jubilee League (South) campaign next Tuesday, August 2, at Oxford Stadium when hosting Poole Pirates. Tapes-up is at 7.30pm.
Monarch Cheetahs: Scott Nicholls 12, Paul Starke 9+2, Aaron Summers 11+2, Troy Batchelor 9+1, Cameron Heeps 13+2, Nathan Stoneman 2+2.
Plymouth Gladiators: Alfie Bowtell 0 (withdrawn), James Wright 8, Josh Pickering 15, Ben Morley 3+1, Jake Mulford 6.