Wednesfield Aces win British Team Championships

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Having missed the top step of the podium over recent years, Wednesfield Aces made sure that would not be the case in the British Team Championships held at East Park.

Fielding arguably one of their strongest teams in recent years the Wolverhampton club cruised into the final beating Newport 108-65. Wednesfield's old advisories and current holders Horspath took the harder route to final, facing a young Poole side who took the Oxford side to the wire, Horspath just getting through by a slender two point margin 88-86.

A final which could have have produced a classic meeting between the two biggest clubs in the country failed to produce those expectations and although Wednesfield proved to be worthy winners, it was probably a more than hollow victory for the midlands side.

Wednesfield's Paul Heard opened up the Aces account with a strong showing in heat one, holding off Horspath's Mark Boaler to take the win, Craig Marchant and Simon Mundon battled hard for third spot but Horspath's Mundon slipped on the final bend allowing the Wednesfield rider to take the extra point.

The second heat of the match gave a taste of what could be in store for the final, Lee Aris flying from the tapes muscled his way to the front of the race to allow team mate Mark Griffiths the chance to ride away and the pair looked like they were heading for an early 7-3 but Lewis Bates had other ideas and a strong second lap saw the Hospath rider take the second place away from Aris.

Zak Payne made a stunning move on Aris on the third lap, diving in and nudging the Aces rider off his line for which the referee excluded the rider for taking Aris to the extremities of the track. In the re-run it was Bates who took the four points.

Heat three saw Horspath's second exclusion of the match, Shaun Rudman was sent back to the pits after ramming Chris Jewkes, in the rerun, Ben Mould took a straightforward win and the four points, Chris Jewkes made a brilliant pass on Errol Thaw on the third lap to make it 7-2 heat to Wednesfield.

A fine win by Matt Haddock in heat four ensured the Midlands side were firmly in the driving seat and after four heats were eight points to the good of Horpaths fifteen.

Heat five saw Horspath's Mark Boaler take the lead after Ricki Johnson took the early advantage from the tapes using his strength to keep Wednesfield's Ricki Johnson in second place, Boaler rode away to take the win.

Angry exchanges from the Horspath team in heat six saw Shaun Rudman yellow carded and his team docked four points after the referee allowed the heat to continue after an alleged racing incident, the heat was won by Wednesfield's Ben Mould.

The mood of the match would change after the heat six incident and Horspath seemed to lose their focus on the match, Paul Heard took his second win of the match in the following heat and Wednesfield were now some fourteen points ahead of their opponents. Lee Aris took a fine win in heat eight, working hard to keep Boaler at bay, both riders hard to pass when they are heading a race, Simon Mundon rode a canny race to keep Mark Griffiths at bay to secure third for the Oxford side.

Horspath's third exclusion came in the ninth heat, Richard Harrison sent back to the pits by the referee for taking Matt Haddock off the track, Mould took his third straight win of the day to take Wednesfield into the interval some seventeen point ahead. 50-33

Coming back from the interval, Wednesfield knew they were in control of the match and dominated heat ten with a win for Johnson and a captain's second place from Chris Jewkes to take another seven points.

Horspath's day was arguably over in heat eleven with Rudman excluded for moving at the gates, the Horspath rider showing his displeasure with the decision resulting in a second yellow card for the rider and an exclusion from the match and with Griffiths and Aris taking an easy seven points and another four points docked from the Horspath score it was realistically game over for the Hammers who were now twenty six points adrift.

With Horspath seeming to lose interest in the rest of the match, Wednesfield dominated the remainder of the day taking three heats 7-3, only Horspath's Mark Boaler showing any discipline to secure two heat wins for the defending champions. The final score 107-59 and a British team final record score.



Wednesfield 107: Ben Mould 19, Paul Heard 17, Lee Aris 16, Mark Griffiths 12, Chris Jewkes 12, Craig Marchant 12, Ricki Johnson 11, Matt Haddock 8

Horspath 59: Mark Boaler 18, Lewis Bates 15, Dave Carmichael 7, Simon Munden 7, Errol Thaw 7, Richard Harrison 5, Zac Payne 5, Shaun Rudman 3 - less eight penalty points

Semi final A

Wednesfield 108: Paul Heard 19, Ben Mould 18, Ricki Johnson 17, Troy Allen 14, Lee Aris 11, Scott Doherty 10, Matt Haddock 10, Chris Jewkes 9

Newport 65: Mark Carmichael 17, Kieron Jones 9, Dan Bock 8, Chris Davies 7, Jack Harrold 7, Aaron Hughes 6, Jacob Soper 6, Nicky Evans 5

Semi final B

Horspath 88: Mark Boaler 18, Lewis Bates 16, Shaun Rudman 14, Simon Munden 9, Dave Carmichael 8, Errol Thaw 8, Zac Payne 8, Richard Harrison 7

Poole 86: Leyton Glover 18, Aaron Morgan 15, Steve Harris 13, Aaron Smith 12, Pete Young 11, Phil Howells 8, Wil Bristowe 5, Oli Sidwick 4

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