Ipswich went into this Elite League encounter with Poole Comets looking to get their season off to a winning start, unfortunately their hopes were dealt a blow even before they could take to the track when illnesses to two of their winter signings Chris Osborne and Adam Peck meant that new team manager Bill Brooke had to reshuffle his line-up .
Youngsters Ashley Hill and Charlie Rumbold coming in to replace the absent pair, but Ipswich could call upon Lewis Osborne making his first start in the colours of Ipswich. As for Poole their line-up looked purposeful packed with quality and experience with the likes of Harris, Howells, Wheeler and current European champion Macin Szymanski .
Heat one was shared with a winning start for Osborne with Poole pairing Harris/Wheeler holding off the enthusiastic challenge of Rumbold. Heat two had Ipswich's Williamson/Roberts split the Poole riders for another shared heat, in heat three it was Ipswich who made the break through with Chittock/Brooke getting the better of Szymanski/Howells with in particularly Chittock showing he could be right back to his best as well team mate Brooke looking impressive as the pair were to remain unbeaten all afternoon .
Heat four Poole hit back by securing a 7-3 after a mistake by Mower clipping the rear wheel of Wheeler while sitting in second position allowed Nowak to pick up the second place spot .
The next two heats were shared but certainly the loudest cheer of the day was for Rumbold with Glover/Harris sitting a comfortable 7-3 ,young Rumbold dived inside Harris on the last lap going into the first bend and getting his partner Hill through to snatch a share of the spoils .
The next five heats Poole took control of the match and racked five heat advantages in a row and effectually killed the match as a contest opening up a seventeen point gap .Heat thirteen did bring some joy to the home team when Chittock/Brooke lowered the colours of Wheeler/Harris 6-4 ,but any last hopes that Ipswich could close the gap were killed off in the following heat by Glover/Szymanski recording a 7-3 over Williamson/Mower.
Ipswich 78: Jamie Chittock 16, Charlie Rumbold 11 ,Lewis Roberts 11, Richard Williamson 11, Lewis Osborne 10, Joshua Brooke 7, Ashley Hill 7, Leon Mower 4,Richard Fellgett 1 .
Poole 99: Macin Szymanski 18, Greg Gulowski 17, Gavin Wheeler 16, Aaron Morgan 11, Leyton Glover 11, Steve Harris 10, Phil Howells 8, Michel Nowak 8, Aaron Smith 0.
Referee: Terry Ashford (Suffolk)
Wednesfield Aces arrived as one of the Elite League 2013 favourites however they dug a hole for themselves early on in the match with two gate exclusions in the first three races.
Defending champions Horspath didn’t need much of an invitation and took full advantage. Hammers with three new riders in the octet from last season's clean sweep team eased to a 92-78 win in a match that saw eight exclusions, three to the home side.
Jack Harrold, on a secondary to Hammers made a dream debut in the red and black, his partnership with manager Mark Boaler the cornerstone of a good all round team effort.
Bates/Rudman got Hammers off to a good start with a 7-2 after Mould's tape exclusion, Griffiths / Aris got a 6-4 over the returning Nowacki, but Aces tape disaster hit again this time Boaler / Harrold taking advantage after Marchant's exclusion over Heard.
Carmichael came down in a clash with Jewkes as Wednesfield took a 6-4 in the fourth, again Hammers replied with a Thaw/Rudman 7-3, Boaler took Griffiths in the fifth but Aris kept the charging Harrold at the back for an eventful heat 6.
Heard/Marchant grabbed a 6-4, a memorable ride by Nowacki taking Mould drew the eighth, Aris was excluded for legging Carmichael in the ninth, Hammers Newport connection, Carmichael / Harrold extracting full advantage with a 7-2 in the re-run.
Rudman was excluded for legging in the 10th but Boaler wan the re run Aces winning 5-4, heat 11 was pure Elite League racing, Nowacki getting the better of heard and Carmichael on Marchant, 6-4 to Hammers, Rudman fell challenging in the eleventh bringing down the other riders and was excluded, this time Aces Griffiths/Aris took full advantage over Bates.
Again Hammers hit back with a Boaler/Harrold 7-3. Heard took a drawn 14th, however Aces got themselves back into the match, as Rudman was again excluded for using his foot as a brake, Marchant /Jewkes getting the better of Nowacki for a 7-2, once again though Aces hit the self destruct button as both riders got gate exclusions leaving Harrold /Thaw getting a 7-0. Marchant took heat 17 but with Aris failing to finish hammers got a 5-4, Aces got some satisfaction with a Heard/Mould 6-4 over Nowacki /Boaler, the latter unbeaten up to then.
Horspath 92: Lewis Bates 13+2, Errol Thaw 7+2, Lukas Nowacki 16, Jack Harrold 16+1, Mark Boaler 16+1, Mark Carmichael 11 +2, Shaun Rudman 8, Zac Payne / Lee Clarke did not ride.
Wednesfield 78: Rikki Johnson 7+1, Ben Mould 8, Lee Aris 7+2, Mark Griffiths 13+1, Paul Heard 17, Craig Marchant 11, Chris Jewkes 13+1, Matt Haddock 2, Troy Allen did not ride
Referee: Bob Prince (West Midlands)