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Poor start costs Birmingham
Birmingham v East Newport
British Team Championship - Quarter-final
Event: 10th July 2011
It may be a clique but this was a cycle speedway match that really was a tale of two halves. Two very evenly matched sides brimming with experience, enthusiasm and a real desire to make it to the sports major team event finals.
First blood went to Birmingham with a 6-4 heat win in the first race and although East Newport managed their only first half heat win in race 3 their half was ultimately poor with a 6-3 and another 6-4 heat wins against them leaving Birmingham with a psychological edge going into the interval and more importantly five points to the good.
At this point East Newport had nothing to offer and looked like an ordinary team out of their depth.
A team meeting during the interval seemed to do the trick though and after a tense first half the second exploded into life for the visitors with two 6-4 heat wins in the first two races to reduce the deficit to just the single point.
The visitors had the found the luck that had been missing all season but disaster struck in heat 12 when one of their heat leaders, Neil Power suffered a nasty fall and an injury that required medical attention.
The break in racing could've given the home side time to recuperate and find their match winning form but blood replacement for the visitors, Nicky Evans, was having none of it and came good at just the right moment. Another exclusion to the home side gave East Newport a 7-0 heat win and a commanding lead that was never in doubt again.
Three more heat wins mixed with a couple of drawn heats gave East Newport a 96 - 78 win and the accolade of moving to the Semi Finals which are being held at Astley & Tyldesley in September. Home side Birmingham Monarchs were very gracious in defeat and two sides created a very memorable event.
Birmingham 78: Nathan Groves 11, Tom Sensical 6+1, Marcus Waddams 16, Carl Winwood 7, Mark Winwood 18, Andy James 8+1, Bob Prince 7+1, Paul Timms 8.
East Newport 96: Craig Nethercott 11+2, Aaron Hughes 8+2, Neil Power 6+1, Dan Bock 15+1, Dale Clark 12+1, Ben Mould 20, Aaron Herbert 11+1, Nicky Evans 13+2.