Location: Poole Cycle Speedway, Poole, Dorset
Event: 2 September 2012
In contrast to the corresponding match between these two sides at Perry Hall earlier in the season, both sides were missing their Polish stars which on paper appeared to offer the pre-match advantage to the visitors to complete a league double with their top trio of Heard, Timms and Waddams looking powerful on paper.
Only recent arrival Mikel Nowak was available from Poole's overseas assets and with Pete Young and Arron Morgam nursing injuries, the hosts had little expectation of victory. The Seaview boys opened brightly enough with a 6-3 after Marcus Waddams picked up an exclusion while Arron Smith gave an early indication of his match contribution with a fine win.
Birmingham hit back immediately with a 6-4 from the Harrold/Winwood pairing and two quiet shared heats won by Reed and Wadhams moved the scoreline on to 20-19 before the first upset of the match in heat 5. Starting from inside gates, Sam Hearn and Leyton Glover notched a 6-4 with expected race winner Paul Heard pegged at the back by Glover to his obvious frustration. Thomas Reed scorched away for his second win in heat 6 from gate 4 and a well executed pass by Chris Shylock on Mark Winwood gave the hosts another race win and an unlikely 32-27 lead.
Scott Millward compounded the early problems for the visitors with a tapes exclusion leaving Chris Timms alone on gate 4 to face the Smith/Glover pairing in heat 7. Leyton made a good start from grid 3 and held Chris for several laps before finally being outfoxed but by then Smith was long gone for his second race win, much to the apparent displeasure on the Midland star. It was now 38-30, but the eight point deficit was soon reduced before the break with a Waddams/Groves 6-4 in the next race which was followed by a controversial and incident packed heat 9.
Sam Hearn was excluded at the tapes at the first attempt leaving Ben Donohue alone to face the powerful Heard/Winwood duo that would surely capitalise with a 7-2 to reduce the interval arrears to a single point. Donohue attempted to split the Midlanders' team riding and hit the deck in the process leading to an exclusion for Winwoood which caused mist to descend in the red side of the pits and tempers became frayed as the Birmingham rider hurled his bike off the track. Heard won the match race in the re-start to score a 4-3 making it 45-40 at the break which gave riders the opportunity to cool off.
Heard opted for gate 1 in heat 10 which enabled him to lower the colours of Reed for the only time in the match and with Harrold outpacing Hearn to make it 49-46 the second half had all the hallmarks of another Harbourside classic in store. Temperatures rose again in heat 11when Nowak and Timms had a robust encounter resulting in an exclusion for the Birmingham man while Millward made amends for his earlier misdemeanour with a useful race win to limit the score line damage to his team.
The match reached boiling point in heat 12 which saw Mark Winwood slip off on his own accord on the first bend to the amusement of the crowd who had remembered his earlier outbreak. Mark could not recover the ground on the rest of the pack as Glover executed a good pass on Harrold for a Poole 6-4 to make it 60-54. Winwood could not contain his frustration and completely lost his self control, coming back onto the track and shouting a string of obscenities, leaving referee Robin Spicer no option but to red card him.
Thomas Reed won a shared heat 13 ahead of Waddams to make it 65-59 but the home advantage was almost wiped out in the next race as Timms and Nowak renewed their earlier physical acquaintanceship. This time, fortunes were reversed as the young Polish star got his marching orders leaving Timms and Heard an easy 7-2 over Donohue.
It was now 67-66 as the visitors tried to compose themselves for a strong finish but not to be outdone, Poole hit back with a Hearn/Sidwick 6-4 at the expense of Millward and Paul Timms. With the score now at 73-70, Sam Hearn went from hero to zero in heat 16 with his second tapes infringement of the day leaving Glover trailing in the wake of a Waddams/Harrold 7-2 as Birmingham lead for the first time in the match 75-77.
With Winwood ruled out of heat 17 and uncertainty being expressed by the referee about the potential four point deduction under rule 9.8, Phil Widdas gambled on a potential 4-5 heat reversal by bringing forward the use of Paul Heard from heat 18 to the penultimate race to face Nowak and Smith. Nowak had enjoyed mixed fortunes up to that point but became the unlikely Poole hero as he held the Euro silver medalist allowing his young partner Smith through for a maximum points win while Heard, realising that the game was up for his team, rode into the pits without finishing the race.
Thomas Reed had a point to prove to Chris Timms after he had been inadvertently ‘grounded’ in the first attempt to start heat 18 and he did it in style as the match ended on a slightly less controversial note with a shared heat and an 87-82 victory for Poole who maintained their 100% home record.
The score was later adjusted to 87-78 after the four point deduction was put into the equation but the penalty did not directly change the destiny of the league points as seemed likely at one stage. To summarise, Poole kept their cool and collected the points while Birmingham pressed the self-destruct button when they failed to keep their tempers under control. Families with young children were not impressed by the behaviour they witnessed in heat 12 which surely has no place in this sport.
Poole 87: Thomas Reed 19, Arron Smith 17, Leyton Glover 12, Oli Sidwick 10, Mikel Nowak 9+2, Sam Hearn 9, Ben Donohue 7+1, Chris Shylock 4.
Birmingham 82: Jack Harrold 15+1, Marcus Waddams 15, Nathan Groves 12+2, Chris Timms 12+1, Paul Heard 12+1, Scott Millward 10, Mark Winwood 4 (Match ban), Paul Timms 2.
Birmingham deducted 4 points for match ban - adjusted score Poole 87 Birmingham 78
Referee - Robin Spicer
Poole 91 inc 14 p/pts: Alex Lane 18+2, Shane Hanmer 14, Niall Instone 12+2, Callum Smith 12, Jay Briggs 9+1, Sam Lane 7+2, Kristina Mines 5+1.
Birmingham 49: Scott Millward 13+2 Paul Timms 12+1 Phil Widdas 9 Rees Winwood 8 Ryan Winwood 4
Referee - Mike Legge