STORM’s brave bid for National League title glory ended with a 44-46 defeat to Cradley at Leicester on Friday.
Trailing by ten points from the first leg, Storm riders James Sarjeant and Dan Greenwood both produced outstanding performances as the Heathens were given one of their closest matches of the season.
The return was switched to the neutral territory of the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium due to the unavailability of Brandon last Friday.
There was never any suggestion that the defending champions would reel off a succession of 5-1s as they have done on so many occasions this year.
Instead, Cradley initially concentrated on a containing job as the Storm produced a string of early race wins but were unable to back them up with race advantages.
And after a good gating performance, Storm were left to reflect on a meeting they could well have won on the night.
However runners-up position in only their second National League campaign was still a fine achievement and although Cradley are worthy champions after losing just one match all season they were at least made to work for their success and an eventual 12-point aggregate margin.
“Personally I’m very despondent because I feel as though we’ve let our boys down by not racing at Brandon, and I can only apologise for that,” said Coventry owner Mick Horton.
“I’m disillusioned at the moment because I feel that had we ridden at Brandon tonight then maybe it could have been a different outcome.
“But many thanks to the fans who turned out, and once again well done to Cradley.”