MATCH REPORT: Birmingham storm their way into the semis

Birmingham are through to the semi finals of the British Team Cup after taking a comprehensive victory over Bury yesterday at Perry Hall Park.

The finals day, which includes two semi finals and the grand final, take place in two weeks time in Manchester, at Astley and Tydsley in what will be a superb day of racing.

Birmingham’s visitors arrived with two relatively known names and faces, two of last year’s British Finalists, Ben Scranange and former Elite League Monarch, Chris Parish. However, the one thing that wasn’t welcome was the huge downpour that started about an hour prior to racing and continued throughout. Not racing however was not an option so huge respect to all 16 riders for putting on a commited show of racing.

Birmingham opened with a 6-4, only for Bury to return the favour in the next to suggest a fight was very much on the cards. That was very true all the way through the match as the visitors gave 100% in each race.

However the track certainly caught out the majority of the Bury riders with slips and falls galore often resulting in thrown points, the track expected to be a leveller with such appalling conditions, but it was the Monarchs who handled racing much smoother and with only a couple of fallers.

In truth the Monarchs had way too much top end power and heat advantages became the norm, not always from the gate as virtually every home man was involved in passing manoeuvres that saw the race results go much more in the home sides favour. The visitors taking the battle to the track in most of the heats and making the home men work extra hard for their race victories.

The Monarchs notched up three maximums in heats 3-5 meaning the home side had moved ahead by 12 points. The flooding of gate 1 meant there was no advantage claiming the inside grids for Bury. With 2 further maximums at the half way stage Birmingham were dominating proceedings with the score at the interval 56-32.

The second half of the meeting continued in the same way as the first, the visitors claiming their only heat advantage in heat 16 after Smith was excluded during the race.

Every Monarch contributed superbly on the day with young Ewan Hancox impressing by pushing aside Scranange in heat 6 to allow captain Timms into the action. His rise in the sport is gaining momentum rapidly.

Also impressive was the veteran reserve pairing of Andy James and Paul Timms. James, the only unbeaten rider on the day whilst Timms dropped a single point.

Scott Millward 17+1 (5), Matt Smith 13+1 (5), Ricki Johnson 14+3 (5), Nathan Groves 15 (5), Ewan Hancox 15+1 (5), Chris Timms 16+3 (5) Paul Timms 9+1(3), Andy James 12 (3)

Chris Parish 12+1(5), Neil Howarth 8+1 (5), Ben Scranange 13 (5), James Elston 12(5), Kris Ramsden 4 (5), Danny Taylor 9 (5), Ryan Livesy 3 (3), Paul Dyson 5 (3).