Poole arrived at Sheffield in the warm autumn sunshine and one look at the visitors proved without doubt they had no plans of slipping up at the final hurdle. It was simple, a win, and Poole were Elite League champions and with the team they had on show today that was exactly what was going to happen. With champions galore in Poole's 1-8, Sheffield were going to have to settle for second place today.
Above: Standing L to R - Colin Sutton, Marcin Szymanski, Wil Bristowe, Greg Gluchowski, Steve Harris, Leyton Glover, Thomas Reed, Arron Morgan and Pete Barnes. Kneeling - Maciej Ganczarek, Aaron Smith, Callum Smith, Niall Instone, Jay Briggs and Oli Sidwick.
However the Stars started off well and after the first four races only a couple of points separated the teams, tactical riding being the order of the day. Heat 1 saw British Champion Tom Reed take the win, however Damien Zareeba and Mikey Hewitson relegated Leyton Glover to the back before Zareeba hit the dirt as he tried to hard to multi task and clipped his team mates wheel, a 5-5 turning into a 6-4 against.
The next race saw the flying Pawel Idszorek make short work of his fellow countryman Greg Cluchowski to share the heat, Steve Harris getting the better of Matt Smith. Next up perhaps one of the best double acts since Laurel and Hardy, Marcin Symanski and Maciej Ganjarek, Sheffield Ryan Hoyland and Radek Handke hoping not to become mere cannon fodder from the outside grids.
As expected a robust first corner from Symanski and Ganjarek saw them in pole position with Hoyland and Handke chasing hard, with a couple of laps gone Ganjarek went down hard, totally under his own steam. Hoyland somehow managed not to plough into him, Hoyland also passing Handke and a 7-3 against becomes a welcome 5-5. Zareeba then took a good win in the next race to keep things tight but the next three heats shaped the match and turned the tide the Harboursiders' way.
Aaron Smith and Thomas Reed took a 6-4 for the visitors followed by a Gluchowski and Harris 7-3 and a 7-2 to the Symanski/Ganjarek partnership over Jamie Ball after Zareeba picked up a tapes exclusion. A shared heat followed then Sheffield took their first advantage of the match as they took a 6-4 over Aaron Morgan and Steve Harris. The interval came with the home team down by eleven.
The second half started brightly for Poole, a 6-4 followed by a maximum 7-3, the Stars were now up against it. Poole moved into cruise control and try as they might the Stars could only share the heats before finally another heat advantage went to the visitors. Symanski was performing like the well oiled machine and was heading for a 19+1 maximum, despite the best efforts of Idszorek and Handke. The final heat arrived and Idszorek claimed another notable scalp in that of Tom Reed before Handke withstood the attention of Ganjarek to pull away and allow the home side to finish on a heat advantage.
For Sheffield Ryan Hoyland was good value for money racking up 15 points, Mikey Hewitson showed what a hard working team man he is and Pawel Idszorek has the chance to be the best rider in the Elite League. Today though was Poole day and a virtually flawless season finally paid out the jackpot. The celebrations began before the riders had got off the track at the end of heat 18.
In a nice touch the Sheffield riders provided the guard of honour as the Poole team took to the centre green for the official presentation of the winners trophy and then in time honoured fashion out came the bubbly.
Referee Bob Prince had very little to do as both teams got on with the job in hand and the match was ridden in a competitive but friendly manor with the assembled crowd enjoying the event.
Sheffield 79 Poole 99
Sheffield 79: Pawel Idszorek 15+1, Ryan Hoyland 15, Mikey Hewitson 11+1, Damien Zareeba 10+1, Radek Handke 10+1, Jamie Ball 8, Dan Chambers 6, Matt Smith 4.
Poole 99: Marcin Symanski 19+1, Greg Cluchowski 16, Tom Reed 14+1, Maciej Ganjarek, 13+1, Steve Harris 12+2, Leyton Glover 10+2, Aaron Smith 8, Aaron Morgan 13+6
A good match saw Sheffield end the season unbeaten at home in the Elite League Combination, although Poole still took the Combination title. The lead changed hands several times during the match, until a 7-3 in the last heat gave Sheffield victory without the addition of penalty points. For Poole, Wil Bristowe, Oli Sidwick and Aaron Smith were each beaten by only one opponent, while for Sheffield Richard Hudson, Kyle Holland & Matt Parrott all rode well to give Sheffield the win.
Sheffield 73: Richard Hudson 16+2, Kyle Holland 12+2, Matt Parrott 9+1, Niall Morton 9+1, Vicky Brown 9, Sandra Tamborska 5, Adam Watson 5, plus 8 penalty points
Poole 64: Oli Sidwick 14+1, Will Bristow 13+1 Niall Instone 12+2, Aaron Smith 10+1, Jay Briggs 8, Callum Smith 7.
Referee: Dave Shoat