Ipswich faced their toughest test to date when they welcomed reigning champions and British team winners to their Whitton raceway for an elite fixture knowing that last season Horspath recorded one of the biggest away wins in the history of the competition.
But this is a different team to last terms, though they may be still not picking up the points they are no pushovers unlike last season when only too often would throw in the towel.
Horspath started the match with a 6-4 in the first heat, then in heat two saw two exclusions to both teams leaving Lewis Osborne to claim the spoils over Leon Mower.
Heats three and four were shared, heat five saw another 6-4 to Horspath with Bates /Boaler to strong for Hill/Adams, but the Ipswich lads did well to limit the damaged against such fierce opposition. Heat six 6-4 to Horspath and this well drilled machine was doing what they do best keeping the score board ticking over slowly piling on the pressure.
Two more shared heats and a 7-3 to the visitors saw Horspath take an interval lead 49 - 38. Disaster struck in the very first heat after the break when Lewis Roberts suffered the first of his two tape exclusions, giving the visitors a comfortable 7-2 over the hapless Adams. The next three heats went the way of Horspath 6-4, 7-3, 6-4 and suddenly the match was slipping away all too quickly for the home team.
The home team did manage to stop the rot in heat fourteen with a shared heat and claimed the inside grids for the remainder of the match which to their credit saw heats fifteen to eighteen go the way of the Ipswich lads winning 6-4, 5-4, 6-4 and finally 5-4 final score of 77-95 to Horspath.
Lewis Bates continue his fine form with a maximum twenty point haul and looks to be once again really enjoying his racing and got his hunger and desire to win, but the pick of their riders would be young Welsh wizard Mark Carmicheal who showed great bike control and passing of the highest order and another who looks on top of his game.
Ipswich 77: Josh Brooke 16 , Leigh Cossey 12, Leon Mower 11, Lewis Roberts 10 , Jamie Chittock 9 , Ashley Hill 8 , Phil Adams 7, Jordan Stant 4 .
Horspath 95 : Lewis Bates 20 , Mark Boaler 16 , Lewis Osborne 14, Mark Carmichael 14, Errol Thaw 10, Mateusz Szymczak 10, Chris Osborne 10, Pete Payne 1 .
Referee - Colin Simmons (Gwent )
The clash of the two heavy weights in this season combination league came head to head for the first time this season and having suffered their first defeat last time out at Poole were looking to set the record straight and put themselves back into title contention
If the first team match was one sided this wasn't the case between these evenly matched sides, Horspath knew a win for them would give daylight between themselves and their nearest rivals and went for experience in the shape of Munden, Burgess and Harrison while the home team kept to their young and up and coming youth as well as handing a debut to Daniel Knights which is long overdue and hopefully we will see Dan a few more times from now to the end of the season.
As predicted this was always going to be a tight affair and so it turned out to be with first one side taking a slight advantage them only to see it go the other way with all heats contested if their lives depended on the result that heat, so close was the match the two teams were locked together 55 all after eleven heats, and with two heats left the match was turned on its head .
Hill / Jacobs faced a tough task in Payne /Clarke , when all the real drama started with firstly Hill leading the race Payne went for the inside lane but never seemed to be fully there and only drove into the rear wheel of Hill this causing Hill to lose balance which in turn sent Payne crashing to floor with a glaring look over at the referee looking for a leg in which by this time Jacobs passed the Horspath rider to cross the line giving the Ipswich team a 7-3 outcome and take them into the last heat four points up ,the away following were clearly upset by this decision.
Ipswich knew that it wasn't over with one more heat to come and knowing only too well about last heat deciders having lost out at Poole only weeks earlier sent out Rumbold and Fellgett to face Munden and Payne.
With young Payne still visibly upset over the last heat he once again was on the end of referee Bill Brooke decision to exclude him when he forced Rumbold on to the centre green and in doing so gave Ipswich's pairing a comfortable 7-2 over Munden and take the points for the home team to secure the match 69 -60 ,this cause a few heated words from the away pits area who in the words of one rider felt they had been cheated out of a result ,so with both teams now having loss once this season it sets it up for a corker in Horspath next month.
Ipswich 69: Charlie Rumbold 19, Richard Fellgett 15, Daniel Knights 15, Matthew Hill 9, Terry Gilbert-Rolfe 6, Lauren Jacobs 5, Fraser Harris 2 .
Horspath 60: Simon Munden 15 , Zac Payne 12, Mike Burgess 11, Richard Harrison 9, Lee Clarke 8, Wayne Clarke 5 .
Referee - Bill Brooke (Suffolk)