This was an exciting match from the very start, Poole's Tom Collins fell whilst leading the first heat, coming down hard on his shoulder and being excluded from the re-run for causing the stoppage. Maciej Ganczarek proved too strong for the Ipswich pairing of Josh Brooke & Leon Mower in the rerun. Heat 2 saw Ipswich's Jamie Chittock being excluded for bringing down Poole's Sam Hearn and a 6-3 to Poole. The next four heats were all shared 5-5. Heat 7 saw the visitors edge ahead with a 6-4 to Macin Szymanski & Aaron Morgan, heats 8 and 9 were both shared 5-5 and at the interval Poole lead by 46-42.
The first heat after the break saw Ipswich hit back with a 6-4 but in heat 11, Poole scored the first 7-3 of the match with Szymanski & Morgan, Poole now lead by 57-51. Heat 13 saw Ipswich drop a 7-2 with Leigh Cossey being excluded for changing the race line and young Lewis Roberts was unable to split the strong pairing of Ganczarek & Collins. Heat 16 saw Roberts out-gate Ganczarek, lead him for two laps and in the end, Ganczarek needed to use excessive force to get past. With him out of the re-run, the home team pulled back some of the deficit with a 6-3. The final two heats both went Poole's way with a 6-4 followed by a 7-3. Final score Ipswich 81 Poole 95.
Star of the Ipswich team was once again 16 year old Lewis Roberts who seems to gather more confidence with every race.
Poole 95: M Szynamski 20, G Galichowski 18, M Ganczarek 13, T Collins 13, A Morgan 12, S Hearn 10, O Sidwick 5, L Glover 4
Ipswich 81: L Roberts 15, R Williamson 14, J Chittock 11, L Grange 10, J Brooke 8, L Mower 8, L Cossey 8, I Grange 7
In the combination match, Poole had to give away nine penalty points. With two first team riders having to ride again and with Ipswich fielding eight riders, they were up against it. With both Ipswich reserves taking three rides each, the home team won the match 65-60, which was 74-60 with the penalty added on.
Poole 60: O Sidwick 14, L Glover 11, L Armes 10, M Nowak 9, A Smith 9, W Bristow 7
Ipswich 74: A Hill 12, C Rumbold 11, R Fellgett 9, M Hill 9, F Harris 8, W Clark 7, D Riley 5, L Jacobs 4
Birmingham stepped back into top flight racing with an emphatic 20 point win over Sheffield in a match where each of the eight home riders recorded at least one race win.
Several hours of heavy rain prior to tapes up made for very difficult conditions. Sheffield won the toss and selected the outside grid positions which gave Marcus Wadhams the chance to set the ball rolling for Birmingham. From grid one, with a tapes to flag win over British Champion Andy Angel, Dominic Rycharski took care of Ryan Hoyland for the two points and Birmingham went into the lead. Harrold and Matt Smith came together – Harrold was the quickest to re-mount and Birmingham gained their second successive 6-4.
Heat 3 saw Sheffield’s two Polish riders Radek Hanke & Pawel Isddiorek out against Chris Timms and Scott Millward. Despite their flying starts, it was the Birmingham riders that crossed the line in first and second after some magnificent passing and then team riding -three heats gone and a 19-11 lead to Birmingham. Wadhams and Groves took another 7-3 in the fourth and Sheffield were in need of some inspiration. This came from rider Andy Angell who had a great duel with Dominic Rycharski in heat 5. This only ended when Birmingham’s own Polish star shed a chain. Despite only being a couple of metres from the start finish line, Dominic chose not to scoot around for one lap and a point. Stu Bentley was comfortable in second place but Sheffield had their first race winner and also their first heat advantage.
Timms and Millward added another 7-3 over a very unhappy Matt Smith and Dan Chambers and after six heats, the Birmingham lead had stretched to 13 points. Radek Hanke became the second away rider to take the chequered flag in heat 7 although there was an element of good fortune to it as for most of the race, the Monarchs pair of Wadhams and Rycharski were in front. However, a missed pedal for Dominic put Marcus in the wrong place at the wrong time and Radek didn’t need to be asked twice to slide through. Another drawn heat followed with Heard comfortably beating Angell and the interval arrived with a second win for Nathan Groves and a further 6-4 home advantage. The interval score stood at 52-37.
Any plans Sheffield had of a comeback were gone in the first three heats of the second half with a 7-3 from a flying Stu Bentley and Chris Timms. Subsequently, there was a 7-2 from Harrold and Heard with Hanke being excluded by the referee. This was followed with a 6-4 by Rycharski and Wadhams. A 26 point lead with six races to go and Birmingham knew the hard work had been done and bar a series of exclusions, their first Elite league points of the season were safe. With this in mind, four of the last six heats were shared, Sheffield gaining their only 7-3 of the match in heat 14 when Hanke and Read took advantage of Groves and Harrold spinning at the start and a 6-4 in the last heat.
Birmingham 99: Marcus Wadhams 12+1, Dominic Rycharski 10+2, Paul Heard 18+1, Jack Harrold 13, Scott Millward 15+1, Chris Timms 13+3, Nathan Groves 10, Stu Bentley 8.
Sheffield 79: Ryan Hoyland 10+1, Andy Angell 16, Matt Smith 12, Dan Chambers 8, Radek Hanke 13+1, Pawel Iszdiorek 9+1, Aiden Owen 4+1, Jack Read 7.
Several downpours during the interval made the track very difficult for the combination match but it still produced some excellent racing. Mark Winwood raced to four comfortable wins. Paul Timms won two of his three starts and youngster Ewan Hancock won a two man race in heat 12 after Vicki Brown had been excluded for moving at the start and then Phil Widdas caught the outside kerb entering the third lap.
Birmingham 53: Mark Winwood 16, Natalie Timms 4, Dylan Hexley 5, Phil Widdas 5, Paul Timms 11, Ewan Hancock 8 Reece Winwood 4.
Sheffield 74: Zac Smurthwaite 13+1, Richard Hudson 11+3, Liam Webster 16+2, Adam Watson 11+2, Vicki Brown 12+1, Aiden Owen 11+2.
On a rain sodden day, this elite fixture got under way under the watchful eye of referee John Whiting and his decisions were called upon as early as the first heat when Stevenson and Nowacki made a perfect start from the gate over the Aces pair of Griffiths & Johnson. They looked to have the race under control until Nowacki, clipped the outside kerb and ended up in the fence earning him an exclusion from the re-run which was won by Stevenson with Wednesfield taking five points from 2nd & 3rd places.
The next heat was a 5-5 draw and then in heat 3, Marchant was guilty of moving under starters orders and a exclusion leaving the pairing of Aris & Wheeler to take a 7-2 win. The next two races were drawn and then in heat six, referee John Whiting issued another exclusion to the Leicester team with Dan Pike guilty of not leaving enough racing room. The rerun was a 7-2 advantage to the Aris & Wheeler pairing.
Heat 7 saw a great pass executed by Aces youngster Ricki Johnson over Phil Howells whilst team partner Mark Griffiths looked after Marchant for a 6-4. The next two heats saw Leicester slip further behind with two more exclusions. First, Adam Stevenson moving on the start gate in heat 8 with Ben Mould getting the better of Nowacki in the rerun for a Wednesfield 6-3 and then, to compound the Monarchs task, a exclusion going into the first turn for Daniel Pike after several re-starts and warnings for the use of his elbow. Interval Score was Wednesfield 53 Leicester 32.
After the break, Leicester thought their luck had changed when they recorded their first points advantage of the afternoon with a 6-3 after Scott Doherty had been excluded for unfair use of his leg. Heat 11 was drawn but in the next race the pairing of Pike & Peck suffered a 7-3 defeat after another superb performance from Aces Johnson & Griffiths leaving the Monarchs all at sea.
Heat 13 threw up the unusual situation of two riders being lapped and receiving no points, now looking like a cracker of a race with Aris & Wheeler up against Stevenson & Nowacki. Aris did battle with the world champion, getting the better of him whilst Wheeler fought it out with Stevenson. However, their bikes clashed and could not be separated by the time that the other pair came around resulting in a 4-3 to the Aces.
The next race resulted in another 4-3 to Wednesfield when the referee issued another two exclusions in the same incident. One handed to Joe Kemp for use of his leg and the other to Scott Doherty for retaliation. The Aces then cruised for the final few races allowing Leicester to take a consolation 7-3 in the final heat for only their second heat advantage of the match.
Wednesfield 97: Lee Aris 19+1,Ben Mould 18,Ricki Johnson 15+1,Luke Draisey 12,Mark Griffiths 10+2,Ben Higham 10+1,Gavin Wheeler 8+1,Scott Doherty 5+2.
Leicester 70: Phil Howells 15,Lukas Nowacki 13+1,Adam Peck 12,Adam Stevenson 11,Craig Marchant 7+2,Kevin Burns 6,Daniel Pike 3+1,Joe Kemp 3.
The Combination match was ridden in good spirit by both sets of riders on a wet surface with shale spraying up into the riders faces the Leicester Monarchs took some comfort by winning this match by a 10 point margin, the rain hammering it down at the final heat.
Wednesfield 57: Matt Haddock 14,Sam Parr 12,Dave Meanley 11+1,Mick Aris 8+1,Steve Mullinder 7,Arron O'Brien 5.
Leicester 67: Nicky Whitehead 15+2,Dave Frith 13+1,Ashley Docherty 11,Matt Hartshorne 10+1,Liam Davis 9+1,Laura Watson 6,Colin Pole 3.