PETER Schroeck was proud of Oxford Chargers as the depleted visitors went down 57-33 at Belle Vue Colts.

The away side were always up against it, with just three of their regular line-up making the trip to Manchester for the National Development League clash.

Chargers were missing captain Jordan Jenkins, in action for SGB Championship club Redcar Bears, while Nathan Stoneman and Jody Scott were injured and Ben Hopwood was forced to retire. Ben Morley, Henry Atkins and Jacob Edwards deputised.

Chargers battled hard despite the makeshift line-up and were only 12 points behind with four heats to go, before Belle Vue pulled clear late in the meeting.

Schroeck knew it would be a difficult evening and thought his riders acquitted themselves well.

The team manager said: “Belle Vue is a tough place to come.

“Some of their riders have been practising here quite a lot and they are totally dialled into the track.

“When you talk about home track advantage, this is the place, because their home performances this season are so strong, but they’ve struggled away from home.

“We did come back into the meeting, but some of our riders had a bit of bad luck and I feel the final score doesn’t reflect our efforts.

“For example, Arran Butcher put so much into the meeting.

“The unlucky lad scored nothing, but he gave it everything.

“I can’t fault the effort that the lads put in.”

Stoneman missed out due to his fall against Plymouth Centurions 48 hours earlier, but Sam Hagon and Atkins stepped up to each score 10+1.

They found their rhythm after Chargers struggled in the early part of the meeting as Belle Vue eased into an 18-6 lead.

Morley, Hagon and Atkins won heats six to eight to give the visitors hope of an unlikely comeback, only for their opponents to seal victory with a hat-trick of 5-1s.

Butcher failed to score on a tough evening but was twice denied deserved points, as he was pipped at the chequered flag at heat 11 and crashed out at the third bend in the penultimate race.

Chargers fall to fourth in the table and return to action at Plymouth Centurions a week on Tuesday.


BELLE VUE 57: Jake Mulford 11, Sam McGurk 4+1, Harry McGurk 9+1, Nathan Ablitt 9, Jack Smith 13+1, Archie Freeman 6+1, Freddy Hodder 5+2.

OXFORD 33: Ben Morley 8, Henry Atkins 10+1, Sam Hagon 10+1, Jacob Clouting 3+1, Nathan Stoneman R/R, Arran Butcher 0, Jacob Fellows 2.

Championship points: Belle Vue 3, Oxford 0.