SCOTT Nicholls struggled to hide his frustration after Oxford Cheetahs were pipped by Birmingham Brummies at a soaked Sandy Lane.

The home captain bagged three heat wins on his way to collecting 12+1, but he could not prevent the visitors drawing first blood in their double header with a 48-42 triumph.

The teams were racing in tricky conditions at Oxford Stadium, with the rain getting progressively heavier before stopping midway through the meeting.

And Nicholls felt Cheetahs were undone by the weather as they fell to back-to-back defeats, while Birmingham picked up their first away win of SGB Championship the season.

The skipper said: “We should have had a comfortable win.

“I’m not undermining the Birmingham team, but we should have won.

“Unfortunately the rain was a massive leveller, it made it tricky to pass.

“I’m very confident if the track had been normal conditions we would have won.

“I’m not happy, we’ve been good at home so I’m disappointed.”

Cheetahs were again without Troy Batchelor after the Australian aggravated his back injury racing for Ipswich Witches in the Premiership on Monday.

In came countryman Nick Morris, who picked up eight points and won heat seven.

The teams could barely be separated all evening and a 4-2 to Cheetahs in heat 13 cut the deficit to 40-38 with two to go.

But Birmingham restored the four-point lead in the penultimate race, leaving the home side needing a 5-1 to draw.

Nicholls came home second behind Justin Sedgmen, who top-scored with 14, to crush any hopes of a dramatic fightback.

The 44-year-old said: “In heat 15 I rode my socks off trying to do different things to get past him, but I just couldn’t do it.

“He was making phenomenal starts and you could say we should have been better out the gates, but if all four get out the gate at the same time it’s carnage.”

Cheetahs are now only four points ahead of ninth-placed Birmingham ahead of this evening’s return fixture at Perry Barr Stadium.

With last night’s defeat fresh in their minds, Nicholls believes he and his teammates have what it takes to gain revenge.

He said: “We’ve got to get redemption, it’s very simple.

“We’ve got to go to their place and turn the tables and come away with all the points.

“People may think we shouldn’t be able to do it there, but we’re a capable team.

“We had a bit of bad luck and a few things go against us, but that’s speedway. We just have to be determined to come away with a win.”


OXFORD 42: Scott Nicholls 12+1, Nick Morris 8, Kyle Newman 6+2, Dillon Ruml 6+1, Jack Thomas 5+2, Cameron Heeps 5, Nathan Stoneman 0.

BIRMINGHAM 48: Justin Sedgmen 14, James Shanes 8+1, Tom Brennan 8, Claus Vissing 6+1, Stefan Nielsen 6, James Pearson 5+1, Ashley Morris 1+1.

Championship points: Oxford 0, Birmingham 3.