Location: Horspath Cycle Speedway Track, Oxford
Event: 14 October 2012
Report: Geoff Gamage
Poole secured victory in the must win encounter at Horspath on Sunday.
There was a fine ride by Tom Reed, diving under Lewis Bates on the first bend of the last lap to send the Hammers rider to the floor.
With Marcin Szymnaski leading and Shaun Rudman a good second it secured the match, winning 6-4 to send the Elite League Championship into the last weekend.
The meeting started in controversy as Poole's Marcin Szymanski and Maciej Gancharek and Horspath's Mateusz Szymczak had gone for a long warm up and were away from the village at 2pm and not present in the pits.
Horspath were happy to race without Szymczak but in the interests of the sport (the match was being filmed for Sky) referee Bob Prince allowed them to return two or three minutes after 2pm.
To be fair Horspath didn't want to claim they left the decision to the referee. But would they had been allowed to race any other time?
The Hammers may well live to regret not claiming as they were below par for most of the match, even when they took the lead in heat 7, Sam Hearn losing balance as he entered the last corner and Chris Osborne took him but was excluded. This made the score 6-3 to Poole and they went one up.
Heat ten saw a gate exclusion for Shaun Rudman leaving Mark Boaler outside Greg Gluchowski and Maciej Gancharek, the resultant 7-2 put Poole 6 clear, Marcin Szymanski / Tom Colling extended that to 8 next heat.
However, throwing caution to the wind Hammers staged a late rally and Lewis Bates / Chris Osborne grabbed a lifeline 6-4 in the 15th, Lewis Osborne / Mateusz Szymczak got another in heat 16, Mark Carmichael / Mark Boaler got a match-tying 7-3 in the penultimate race, but Poole had the insides plus Marcin Szymanski / Tom Reed Hammers had ShaunRudman and Lewis Bates.
Rudman flew off gate four to round Reed then for three laps it looked like Hammers would pull a title winning draw out of the fire, until Reed blasted under Bates going into the first turn on the last lap with the hammer hitting the floor.
Although there was some comments in the heat of the moment, in reality it was a good pass, the only real sour taste was Chris Osborne's heat 8 exclusion which was arguably more vital.
The Hammers now go to Sheffield on October 28th needing that point, and face an agonising decision whether to use Steve Harris who chose to race for Kalety this afternoon, in a non-vital Polish League meeting rather than Hammers.
His absence at both Poole meetings was probably the difference on each occasion. Poole have to win at Leicester whilst Sheffield need to beat Wednesfield home and away next week and beat Horspath and there could be a three way play off.
Hammers Combination took a strong hold on the Combination title, winning 69-59. They also got another bonus point for tracking a complete separate team and are now needing to do just that to clinch that title.
BCTG Elite League:
Horspath 88 (Mark Carmichael 12, Lewis Osborne 17+1, Lewis Bates 15, Errol Thaw 5, Mateusz Szymczak 7+1, Shaun Rudman 14, Mark Boaler 14+2, Chris Osborne 4+1).
Poole 90 ( Sam Hearn 12, Tom Reed 14+2, Michal Nowak 7, Maciej Gancharek 12+2, Marcin Szymanski 17, Tom Colling 9, Greg Gluchowski 16, Leyton Glover 3).
Horspath 69 (Paul Gibbs 4, Sie Munden 14, Mike Burgess 14+1, Richard Harrison 11+2, Lee Clarke 8+3, Zac Payne 13, Wayne Clarke 5).
Poole 59 (Arron Smith 17, Alex Lane 6, Oli Sidwick 14+1, Nail Upstone 6, Will Bristowe 11, Jay Briggs 5)
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