Scotland v Wales - Celtic Cup
Location: Edinburgh Cycle Speedway, Scotland
Event: 10 September 2011
Wales fought back from a three point deficit to clinch victory over Scotland in an enthralling Celtic Cup International at Edinburgh.
The teams were locked in combat for the first five heats on a difficult track, which proved slippery, with rain having fallen on a hard-packed surface. The conditions resulted in several early falls and Scotland's Mikey Hewitson was first to bite the dust, bringing down Welshmen Evans and Tippins in heat 2, before getting the benefit of a re-run with all four riders decision.
Wales then benefited similarly with Ben Mould falling, while leading heat 3, but it wasn't a good outcome for the talented young Wales star as Mould was left clearly distressed and in pain on the track with a knee injury. A long delay saw Mould taken to hospital and some extensive track work to provide riders with the necessary grip to race at speed.
The track improved as the meeting progressed and the racing became fast and furious with two courageous teams battling for supremacy. Luke Draisey took three fine race wins for the Scots before Wales lost crucial points when home track youngster Michael Lee proved tenacious in overcoming Chris Davies on two occasions, while exclusions to Harrold and Winwood cost Wales more vital points. The teams eventually completed twelve programmed heats on level scores at 59-59.
Team managers Kennedy (Scotland) and Murphy (Wales) then had to play their part by declaring their riders for the three nominated heats and it was Wales who took control with Winwood and Tippins clinching a disciplined 6-4 heat win over Draisey and McPherson. Then Wales 'dynamo' Carmichael team-rode partner Davies to a 5-5 drawn heat from the outside grids to set up a last heat decider with Wales leading by two points,
Harrold and Evans lined up against Scotland's strongest pair of Hewitson and Slight and the 'dampened' crowd, who had braved the elements, witnessed a fine race which saw Nicky Evans excluded for a block on Slight before both Scots riders chased after Harrold in an attempt to pull off victory for the home team. Harrold held off the challenge for a full five laps to clinch victory for a Wales team which showed great resilience against a spirited Scottish challenge.
The Edinburgh club put on a good show, despite difficult conditions, and the two International teams reflected on events while enjoying a buffet afterwards to give departing Scottish team manager Gavin Kennedy a hearty send-off, this after his successful stint in guiding the development of the national team.
As for Wales, they now look forward to entertaining Ireland at East Newport, in October, to clinch the Celtic Cup trophy with a victory to bring down the curtain on this exciting Three Nation event.
Scotland 73: Luke Draisey 16, Nathan Groves 15+1, Jake Slight 14+2, Mikey Hewitson 13+2, Michael Lee 10+1, Neil McPherson 4, Chris Lee 1.
Wales 74: Mark Carmichael 16+2, Lee Tippins 16, Jack Harrold 14+1, Mark Winwood 11, Chris Davies 10, Nicky Evans 7+2, Ben Mould 0 (inj).
Referee: Chic Mackie, Glasgow.