Horspath Hammers returned to their village home after two months racing away and their first home meeting since the death of team manager Robyn Carter, with a resounding 113-64 over Ipswich who naturally were looking towards the big Combination clash that followed.
Teams traded 6-4's to open the meeting, wins for Lewis Osborne and Lewis Roberts before Horspath grabbed a 7-3 and 7-2, courtesy of Lewis Bates/Chris Osborne and Lewis Osborne/Matty Szymczak.
A 6-4 from Shaun Rudman/Mark Boaler, and another Lewis Bates/Chris Osborne 7-3 before Ipswich had a 5-4 following a Lewis Osborne exclusion and Boaler win and a Jamie Chittock / Josh Brooke 6-4, however Matty Szymczak/Lewis Bates 6-4'd the 9th to give Horspath a 51-37 interval lead.
Hammers simply rode away in the second half with eight maximum heat advantages and a 6-4 Shaun Rudman dropping that point to Josh Brooke, only Matty Szymczak and Chris Osborne though were unbeaten by an opponent whilst there were fighting displays throughout the visitors but only two heat wins.
Horspath now require one point to clinch the Elite League title, however easier said than done with both Poole, who will for sure be very strong for their Sky Sports visit in a fortnight and Sheffield away never easy in Hammers way.
Horspath 113: Lewis Osborne 15+1, Shaun Rudman 11+1, Mark Carmichael 14+2,Errol Thaw 11+1, lewis Bates 18, Chris Osborne 13+3, Matty Szymczak 19+1, Mark Boaler 12+2.
Ipswich 64: Josh Brooke 8, Jamie Chittock 11, Leon Mower 9, Lewis Roberts 10, Terry Gilbert Rolfe 5+1, Jordan Stant 11, Will Clark 3, Lauren Jacobs 7.
Referee: Mike Legge (Dorset)
Leicester fielded a patched up team for their trip to Harbourside and though they battled gallantly with Craig Marchant always in the thick of the action, the missing Monarchs robbed this encounter of the features normally on display when these two teams go head to head namely passion, incident and above all, a close scoreline.
Leyton Glover opened up the match with a well executed pass on Marchant who then turned the tables on the young home star in heat 4 before lowering the colours of Poole skipper Gluchowski in a hard fought heat 8. But by that time, the hosts had powered their way to a 17 point lead as Leicester team manager Ralph Doughty attempted to stem the tide by claiming inside starting positions.
Matt Mildon could consider himself to be unfortunate to be ruled out of heat 9 after a robust challenge with Adam Peck but in the re-start, the Leicester man took full advantage to hold off Mikel Nowak for four laps to allow the highly impressive youngster Liam Davies a heat win. The resultant 7-Two narrowed the margin to 50-38 at the break but the writing was already on the wall and a Ryder Cup style comeback looking unlikely.
The experienced Ashford/Venson pairing got themselves into trouble in heat 11 as first Norman got his marching orders for excessive drifting and in the re-start, Jason was ruled out for crossing the inside line while attempting to pass Mikel Nowak much to his annoyance. Heat 13 was a cracker as Thomas Reed eventually managed to find a way past Craig Marchant after several blocked attempts!
Poole seemed to take their feet off the pedals in the closing heats as first Leyton Glover in heat 16 picked up an exclusion and Mikel Nowak suffered the same fate in the final race. However, the Sea View side duly recorded the win which meant that for the first time since joining Premier/Elite racing, they have completed a season with a 100% home record and most notably claiming the scalp of leaders Horspath back in May.
Poole 99: Greg Gluchowski 17, Thomas Reed 14, Leyton Glover 13, Aaron Smith 13, Oli Sidwick 13, Mikel Nowak 12, Sam Hearn 10, Matt Mildon 7.
Leicester 74: Craig Marchant 19, Adam Peck 10, Norman Venson 10, Liam Davies 9, Liam Aldridge 9, Jason Ashford 8, Ashley Doughty 6, Liam Wood 4.
Referee - Robin Spicer
Lauren Davies caused a stir as she showed a clean pair of wheels to first Ben Donohue and then Luke Armes in the Division 2 match but the home side carried too much power for a Leicester side which included four of their British Championship winning girls quintet.
Ten-year old Murphy Hanmer made his team racing debut for the Poole and finished with an impressive seven from 2 rides - bonus points included.
Poole 77: Jay Briggs 14, Ben Donohue 14, Shane Hanmer 12, Alex Lane 12, Luke Armes 11, Sam Lane 9, Murphy Hanmer 5.
Leicester 53: Lauren Davies 12, Liam Davies 11, Michelle Whitehead 9, Liam Wood 7, Jenna Whitehead 5, Liam Aldridge 5, Chloe Whitehead 4.
With Birmingham arriving at Sheffield minus a number of their regular first team riders a win never really looked on the cards and so this proved to be the case.
Despite the best efforts of the visitors the home side scored at will starting off with two maximum 7-3 from Jamie Ball & Matt Smith then Andy Angell and Ryan Hoyland. Heat 3 saw the first win of the day go to the impressive Paul Heard who went on to notch a fine 20 point maximum for the Brummies.
With Heard getting his main support from Chris Timms, Nathan Groves and the evergreen Paul Timms the Birmingham team tried their best to stem the flood but the interval arrived with Sheffield 20 points up.
The second half started very much in the same way as the first with Dan Chambers and Radek Handke notching another maximum for the home team. What might have been the race of the day between Handke, Angell, Heard and Timms never happened as the formula never brought them together however Birmingham only heat win went to Heard and Timms when they got the better of Ball and Hoyland in heat 17.
Handke and Angell duly wrapped things up in the following race with a final maximum which saw the Stars record their biggest win of the season.
It was good to see Jamie Brown back for Sheffield and his 9+2 will hopefully give him the impetus to return to full time racing in 2013.
Pawel Idziorek scored a confidence boosting 14 points and showed what a promising talent he is.
Sheffield 106: Radek Handke 16+3, Andy Angell 15+3, Matt Smith 15+2, Ryan Hoyland 15+1, Pawel Idziorek 14, Jamie Ball 12+4, Dan Chambers 10+1, Jamie Brown 9+2
Birmingham 74: Paul Heard 20, Chris Timms 16+1, Nathan Groves 10+1, Bob Prince 9, Paul Timms 7, Phill Widdas 6, Ewan Hancox 3, Reece Winwood 3.
Birmingham’s very young squad was beefed up with veteran rider Andy James in what proved to be a very entertaining fixture.
It seemed every time a Birmingham youngster came to the tapes there older Sheffield counterparts suffered from a lapse of concentration or slipped a pedal allowing the visitors to romp away. Luckily for the home side they managed to eventually get enough riders past the post to scrape the win.
Sheffield 73: Liam Webster 13+2, Ellie Sullivan 12, Nial Morton 11+1.
Birmingham 57: Reece Winwood 16, Ewan Hancox 11+2, Jake Ryan 9+3