MATCH REPORT: Poole back to full strength in convincing win
These two Cycle Speedway giants have battled away with each other in just about every season since Poole opened up in 1975 and like so many of their encounters in the ensuing 40 years, this match followed a similar pattern as the hosts were determined to avenge the heavy defeat they suffered at Ashmore park on the opening day of the Elite season.
The Comets supplied the opening three heat winners in Gav Wheeler, Arek Szymanski and Greg Gluchowski, but with Marcin Szymanski suffering a rare tumble the scoreline stood at 16-14 and the Aces seized the opportunity to pounce in heat 4 after Wheeler was ruled out at the tapes leaving Ben Donohue on the wrong end of a 7-2 behind Chris Jewkes and Roger Cox.
Ricki Johnson got the better of the home Morgan/Hook pairing moving the score to 23 – 26 but then Poole sprung to life with a run of four 7 – 3 maximums which left the visitors reeling at the interval as they trailed 51 – 37 with only Cox and Johnson able to win a race.
With the advantage of inside grids after the break, the Aces hoped for better as Matt Smith took heat 10 in some style but the powerful Szymanski pairing of Arek and Marcin notched another maximum which extended the Poole advantage to an almost unassailable 18 points and when this duo each won their 4th races, a feat matched by unbeaten skipper Greg Gluchowski, the league points were in the bag.
An over-exuberant pass by Arek Szymanski on Matt Smith in heat 17 spoiled the maximum hopes of the Polish star who found himself back in the pits and allowed the Aces to take the second of two race wins in the closing heats to prevent the Comets breaking their target of 100 points. Ricki Johnson won the final race by holding on to his advantage with inches to spare against World champion Szymanski.
2014 Elite league honours finished up even between these two in a match which was a perfect shop window for the sport with a big holiday crowd at Harbourside enjoying the action. With Paul Heard still not ready for his return to the track the Aces were missing a vital cog, while the Comets were very well balanced with the World number 1 back in their ranks!
Arek Szymanski 15+1 Greg Gluchowski 14+2 Marcin Szymanski 14+1 Arron Morgan 13
Steve Harris 13 Gavin Wheeler 11+2 Aaron Smith 7 Dean Hook 6+2 Ben Donohue 3
Chris Jewkes 13+1 Ben Mould 13 Matt Smith 12 Ricky Johnson 11 Lee Aris 10+2
Mark Griffiths 10+1 Roger Cox 9+1 Hayden Rowley 2 Glynn Rowley 1
In the Elite match race, Wednesfield challenger Ben Mould won the toss for grid positions and kept his head under 4 laps of constant pressure from holder Greg Gluchowski to pick up the trophy.
If all Division 2 matches were like this one, nobody would ever think twice about their place in the racing schedules. The current and previously unbeaten young Aces went head to head with the 2013 champions and from heat 3 onwards, there was never more than 2 points between the sides.
Lively early exchages saw Poole open with a Smith/Bristowe 7-3 followed by a 6-4 from Callum Albin and Luke Armes but the Aces were level with 2 heats as first Hayden Chant and then Wil Bristowe got their matching orders. In the next four shared heats there were wins for Chant and Smith for the hosts and Kemp and Evriss who were best for the visitors. This quartet would later feature in the match decider.
The Albin/Armes pairing put in another 6-4 in heat 9 to make it 44-42 but after two more shared heats, the Holcroft/Rowley duo notched a timely 6-4 of their own to square the match off at 58-58. Poole were thankful to have won the coin toss at the start of procedings and tracked Hayden Chant from gate 1 and Aaron Smith on 3 while the Aces skipper Harry Evriss took 2 leaving partner Lee Kemp on 4.
The classic two races in one soon developed with Evriss desperately trying to keep pace with speedy Chant while Kemp tried in vain to find a way past the ever vigilant Smith. A thrilling end to a brilliant match and indeed to a great day’s racing at Harbourside.
Aaron Smith 16+1 Callum Albin 14 Hayden Chant 13+1 Jay Briggs 7+1
Luke Armes 7+1 Wil Bristowe 6 Niall Instone 1
Harry Evriss 14+2 Lee Kemp 11 Dave Meanley 10 Jordan Holcroft 9
Hayden Rowley 8+2 Connor Dyke 7 Carl Parfitt 3