WEEKEND PREVIEW: Open/Women’s Club and Elite League Round 8

The Elite League returns after a brief week off, as its hectic end of season schedule gets into full swing. The title could easily be decided this weekend, depending on what happens at Harbourside Park and the Graves. First, on Saturday it’s the British Open and Women’s Club Championships at Ipswich.

British Open and Women’s Club Championships

It’s the penultimate round of Club Championships, which takes place at Ipswich on Saturday. Here’s how the draws for both competitions are lining up.

Open Club 
Ipswich CSC 13th September
Semi Final 1  1100 Hours
Top 2 to Final, others to Minor Final
1 Spare
2 Kesgrave Panthers CSC
3 Wednesfield Aces CSC
4 Exeter Aces CSC
Semi Final 2 1200 Hours
Top 2 to Final, others to Minor Final
1 Birmingham Monarchs CSC
2 Ipswich CSC
3 Sheffield Stars CSC
4 Hethersett Hawks CSC
Minor Final 1430 Hours
Final  1530 Hours
Women Club 
Ipswich CSC 13th September
Final  1300 Hours
1 Exeter Aces CSC
2 Sheffield Stars CSC
3 Leicester CSC
4 Hethersett Hawks CSC
5 Ipswich CSC

There could be some real quality on show, especially in the final of the Open Club Championship. Wednesfield will no doubt be strong, but they will have hefty challenges from the likes of Euro Club finalists Ipswich and Semi-Finalists Sheffield and Birmingham. One or even two of those three will miss out if Hethersett can spring a surprise, which opens the door for either Kesgrave or Exeter to take advantage and make the final. For the women, there is strength throughout all five teams, which should provide some good racing. British 1, 2 and 3 in Charlie-Jane Herbert, Vicky Brown and Michelle Whitehead are all likely to appear and will do so for three different clubs, indicating how competitive the final could be.

At the end of it, we’ll find out which club will be leading the Club Championship table, going into the final U19 round at Poole in a few weeks – for which we don’t currently have an updated version, so apologies for that!

Elite League

Newport v Wednesfield
Wednesfield travel to South Wales this weekend looking to get their Elite League season back on track. The Aces were favourites for the title for many, before the season began, but four losses – including their last three matches on the bounce, has seen them slip into the pack, and the league title out of reach. Newport, likewise have found wins hard to come by recently. They can expect a determined and strong Wednesfield side to arrive to the Sports Village. It was a comfortable 95-81 to the Aces last time out, Newport have since lost Adam Bożejewicz, who went back home to Poland, after a short stint in South Wales. Carmichael and Rudman impressed against Sheffield and will have to bring their A-game on Sunday, as well as having strong support from their team mates, to see off the Aces.

Poole v Horspath
This could be the weekend we see Horspath crowned Elite League champions. It’s a tricky trip to Poole, who have been showing signs of the form that won them the title last year of late. The Dorset side have won their last three on the bounce and will carry significant momentum going into the clash. There could be a few Polish based riders sharing the same flight but pulling on different jerseys, anyone on the south coast this weekend could see a very entertaining match of real quality. If Poole do become the first team to lower the colours of the Hammers, the Oxford side could still be crowned champions if Ipswich lose away at Sheffield.

Sheffield v Ipswich
The Eagles are the only team in the league who can still win the title, aside from Horspath. Their first hurdle will be getting past a Sheffield side who have proved to be a formidable force as the season has gone on. They have won 3 of their 4 home matches so far this season, with the only loss against unbeaten Horspath by a two point margin, and last heat decider on the opening day of the season. Ipswich will have a tough task, but they can take confidence from their earlier home win over the Stars by 92-86 in June.

South and South Wales

There is one sole fixture in Division One this weekend, between Hellingly and Exeter. Both sides are at the wrong end of the table, with Hellingly currently propping up the rest. They do have a few matches in hand and a couple of wins will see them back in the mix. For Exeter, third is still in their reach, they will need to take the points away with them on Sunday though.


Other regional racing sees Glasgow and Bury battle it out in Division two of the Northern League, with Astley and Tyldesley also making the trip up to Scotland. Bretford take on East Park at home in Midland League Division 3 and the Coventry League is back again, featuring Coventry, Bretford, Brandon and Earlsdon.