MATCH REPORT: England run Poland close at World Cup Final
Report and Pictures by Andy Whitehouse
England pushed defending cycle speedway world team champions Poland hard at Poole on Sunday, the home team taking silver in the senior and junior categories, in a hard-fought four-way clash with Wales and Australia.
In the senior match Poland retained their world title in a match where gate one would play a deciding factor in the outcome of the day.
The opening heat saw the first win of the day from Greg Gluchowski. Firing off gate one, the Pole was unstoppable. England got off to their worst start possible with Myke Grimes crashing with Australia’s Shane Bently, the Englishman left to roll across the line in last place.
Heat two gave Poland back-to-back wins with Marcin Szymanski away from the gate and proving too strong for the rest of the race. England’s Andy Angell slipped on the second lap, the British champion resigned to last place. England’s captain Paul Heard had to regroup the team and in heat three Heard gave the crowd what they asked for with a fine ride to take the four points and give the hosts a slim chance of clawing their way back.
Heat four saw Poland take their third win of the match with a win from Binkowski. Australia’s Joel Chadwick claimed second after a hard race with Wales’ Mark Carmichael. England’s Andy Angell had to be content with fourth. After the opening four heats it was Poland with a comfortable lead over Wales, Australia and England respectively.
England had to find something to turn their match around and going off the inside gate in the following heats was their chance. Chris Timms stepped up to the mark in heat five taking the lead on the opening corner and holding on to the flag to give the hosts their second win of the day. The following heat, once again was won by England after a great ride from Myke Grimes and with Mark Carmichael claiming second and Australia’s Cody Chadwick crossing the line in third the Poles were beginning to slip.
England were looking confident and with the experience of Lee Aris in heat seven bringing the hosts another win, the mood in the crowd began to rise. Heat eight saw another Paul Heard win and England’s fourth in a row and with Wales’ Ben Mould taking second the leader board had been turned on its head, England going into the break level pegging with Poland on twenty three points. Wales had moved to eighteen points while Australia brought up the rear two points adrift.
The opening heat after the break saw Mark Carmichael take his and Wales’ first win of the match after a wheel-on-wheel fight with Heard and Szymanski. England now lead the match for the first time but it was Gluchowski in heat ten who would steady Poland’s ship, holding Aris on the first bend, Gluchowski held on the take Poland’s first win since heat four. Wales were using their gate one well with Ben Mould taking the win in heat eleven but it was second place from Grabowski that turned the match back to Poland.
England needed to get a good place in the following heat but Australia’s Joel Chadwick took the race win and with Wales’ Nicky Evans taking second, the match was back in Poland’s hands. The final four heats were all to play for but with England off from gate four it would be a tall order for the hosts. Heat fifteen saw Poland’s Grabowski take his first heat win of the match and with Mould claiming second it looked to be all but over for England.
Cody Chadwick took Australia’s second win of the day in the following heat and with Binkowski crossing the line in second the match had turned back to the Poles. Gluchowski took Poland’s sixth win in heat fifteen and Poland were once agin world champions. England took the silver medal on a day that maybe with a better draw could have took the title. Wales took the bronze after a run off with Australia’s Joel Chadwick
Results Senior 1. Poland 47 points 2. England 39 points 3. Wales 37 points 4. Australia 37 points
Earlier in the day saw the juniors take to the grid and again the Poles started as favourites to take the title. England fielded a strong five-man team, captained by Richard Fellgett and the host nation didn’t give the Poles an easy time in the sixteen-heat match.
Shane Bentley (Australia) took the opening heat from Poland’s David Bas in a straightforward race that saw England’s Matt Hill and Carl Parfitt (Wales) clash on the opening lap, the two having to be content with third and fourth.
Poland got into their stride in the following two heats, wins from Radek Kochanek and Michael Sassek put the world champions in a strong position over the rest of the field and with a second place in heat four from Artur Reszelewski and Australia taking their second win of the match, the writing was on the wall for both England and Wales.
Heat five saw England bring in Brandon Whetton to replace Aaron Smith and with him a change of fortune, Whetton getting a storming gate over Bentley and Kochanek, giving the hosts their first win of the match and putting them back into the reckoning.
Although Poland took the wins in the following three heats, three strong second places from Fellgett, Hill and Jess Moore took England into the break seven points adrift in second place. Australia slipped back to third and Wales brought up the rear in fourth.
England didn’t really take the chance to capitalise on their grid ones in the following four heats on a track that was riding in favour of grid one. Poland’s Sassek jumped away from the gate in heat nine to take his third win of the match while Bentley held on to second place over Whetton.
England regrouped in heats ten and twelve, Aaron Smith and Matt Hill both taking wins to keep their chances alive, Australia looked to have lost their way somewhat with three last places in heats ten through twelve allowing Wales to take two second places and valuable points for the bronze medal.
The final four heats saw England finding their potential, a spirited third place in heat thirteen from Whetton seemed to give a much needed boost to the hosts. A fine win in the following heat from Hill against arguably the best junior in the world, Sassek, gave England a faint hope of the title.
The penultimate round saw Fellgett take the chequered flag from Australia’s Brodie Charlson and Kochanek stumbled across the line in last but even though Aaron Smith took the win in the final heat, Poland took second and the victory.
1. Poland 51 points
2. England 47 points
3. Australia 36 points
4. Wales 26 points