This match was raced in dreadful conditions that got worse and worse as the afternoon went on – and so great credit must go to both sets of riders and the referee Mike Legge for making it so entertaining.
Birmingham for the first time in many weeks were able to call on both Scott Millward and Jack Harrold and this gave the much-needed support that Chris Timms and Paul Heard have been lacking – as a result they could cover the less experienced riders and provide the number of race winners required to win a match.
The Monarchs opened with a 7-3 from the aforementioned Harrold and Millward against Knight and Roberts although it did take 3 attempts as Roberts seemed unable to stay upright on the first turn during the first stagings.
Seven drawn heats followed with Birmingham taking the flag in all of them but also the last place. They also provided the winner of heat 9 in Scott Millward in a race that was awarded by referee Legge as he excluded Jordy Stant for forcing his opponent Millward onto the centre green - 6-3 to Birmingham half time score 48-41.
Monarchs stretched the lead in heat 10 as Timms and Millward grabbed a 7-3 over the impressive Rumbold, shared the next 2 heats (again providing the race winners on both occasions) before more excellent team work from Timms in getting his partner Steve Hodgkinson in front and then fending off all Ipswich could throw at him – Lewis Roberts once again hitting the deck.
Heat 14 saw Ipswich provide their face winner as Leon Mower took the flag but there was to be no heat advantage as Paul Timms proved that he could team ride as well as his son by expertly shepherding home young Ewan Hancox for the 5-5.
Heat 15 looked for all intents and purposes a 7-3 to the Monarchs as Millward and Heard sped away from Richard Fellgete, however as the conditions got worse Scotts legs began to go and Paul was having to work incredibly hard to keep the flying Fellgete behind – all looked good as they went into the last bend however Scott eased off running straight across Pauls line and Fellgete pounced to split the Monarchs, although in reality he may even have passed both Monarchs right at the death. It was a great ride by Fellgete who was the pick of the visitors today with his tremendous speed around the track and determination.
Heat 16 saw a heat advantage to the Eagles as Hodginkson moved at the tapes leaving Phil Widdas as the lone Monarch and Rumbold and Knight made no mistake. Harrold completed his maximum in heat 17 and the two Birmingham big guns Timms and Heard did what they have done many times this year and finished the match and season with another 7-3 – final score 97 – 81.
In the Match Race Championship Richard Fellgete took on holder Heard and won the toss to take the inside gate. They were pretty level going into the first turn but Heard got a big push on his younger opponent which gave him a lead of about 5 bike lengths.
Many would have given in at that point but great credit for Richard for closing the gap right up again and it was Paul who had to ride Richard around for two laps and it is fair to say it was the British and European number 2 that was the happier to see the chequered flag.
Birmingham 97: Jack Harrold 20, Scott Millward 19+1, Paul Heard 18, Chris Timms 17+3, Steve Hodgkinson 8, Paul Timms 6+1, Phil Widdas 5, Ewan Hancox 4.
Ipswich 81: Charlie Rumbold 15, Richard Fellgete 14+1, Leon Mower 13+2, Daniel Knight 11+3, Lewis Roberts 9, Jordy Stant 8+4, Will Clarke 7, Lauren Jacobs 4+1.
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