MATCH REPORT: Regional GB defeated in opening test

The Australian Juniors claimed a well earned 80-66 victory when they overcame the British SSW/SE Regional Juniors, in the 1st test match at Southampton, on Tuesday evening.

The Australians overcame a slow start before adapting well to conditions and demonstrating how good team work can pay-off by capping off a great performance with 3 maximum heat wins in the nominated heats.

The Aussies first took the lead in heat 5 when Brodie Charlson and Jack Norman both swept from behind to pass Richard Fellgett, who had ooked well-placed to follow-up his impressive heat 3 victory.

The British regional team later pulled the deficit back to 2 points when the impressive Pierce Bacon and Fellgett took a good heat win over the same Aussie pair in heat 8.

The crowd was ready to celebrate when Robert Croal rocketed away from grid 2 in heat 9 only for referee Dave Dart to stop the race and exclude the young Exeter rider for what he considered a starting offence. However, the Aussies failed to take advantage when Braden Makepeace fell in the re-run and was excluded as the cause of the stoppage.

Shane Bentley played a major role in the Aussie success, having recovered from a first race defeat to Pierce Bacon, to rattle off some impressive wins from the outside gates. Bentley made a well executed pass on Fellgett in heat 10, with Wil Tidball falling at the back, and this secured a vital heat win as Angus Freeman claimed third spot take the Australians into a 3 point lead.

It remained tight going into the last 3 nominated races but Australia took what appeared to be a gamble, by putting Bentley and Norman together in heat 13, but they took a 7-3 heat win which stretched their lead to 6 points with 2 races remaining.

Team manager Les Fellgett responded by throwing in reserve rider Robert Croal into an all-or-nothing penultimate race, and it seemed to have paid off as Croal assisted Jacob Soper into a 7-3 position on the first bend. However, as the British lads worked to keep Freeman at bay, it was young Matt Snowden who sneaked up on the inside to make a pass and then assist his partner through for a match winning 7-3 score.

Charlson and Makepeace then rattled off another maximum score for the Aussies in the final heat to complete great Australian team performance.

However, from a British perspective, there are strong hopes that the Midlands and North juniors will be able to recover the series at Wednesfield and Leicester next week now that we have better knowledge of the Aussie team capabilities.

Jesse Moore 7, Pierce Bacon 16, Callum Albin 3+1, Jacob Soper 14, Richard Fellgett 12, Will Tidball 10, Robert Croal 4+1

Angus Freeman10+2, Shane Bentley 18+1, Jack Norman 17+2, Brodie Charlson 14, Braden Makepeace 10+2, Matt Snowden 8, Jake Matthews 3.