MATCH REPORT: Horspath stay top with win over Poole
Poole arrived at the Village without their top rider and captain, Greg Gluchowski, who was missing due to work commitments, while Aussie champ, Ty Geertsen, returned home last week.
Steve Harris was back for the Comets having missed the Ipswich win, and there were first outings of the season for Gavin Wheeler and Aaron Smith.
Hammers continued their squad rotation system, which saw Lukasz Nowacki unavailable due to work, so world champion Bartek Grabowski deputised and Zac Payne was back from holiday.
The meeting started 45 minutes late due to a serious incident which closed the A34.
There was a minutes silence in memory of former Hammer, Peter White and a good sized crowd.
Dawid Bas took the opening heat, with Mark Carmichael and Zac Payne tucked in for a drawn heat. Skipper for the day, Lewis Osborne raced away in the second, with Maceij Ganczerek holding off Bartek Grabowski for a 6-4 to the Hammers.
Mark Boaler suffered a tape exclusion, before a quick start from “DJ Szy” Kowalczyk from grid 4 saw off challenges from Gavin Wheeler and Steve Harris, resulting in a 5-4 to Poole.
The next race saw Zac Payne excluded for dangerous riding as he wheelied past Dawid Bas inside the second bend, this left Andy Johnson to split the pair and suddenly Poole were leading 20-18.
Jake Neighbour and Mark Carmichael hit back with a well received 7-3 to put Hammers two up, followed by a Kowalczyk/Boaler 6-4, again Ganczerek working hard to split them.
Next race was a tape exclusion for Carmichael, in the restart, Jake Neighbour sped off 2 and kept both Wheeler and Harris behind for a very popular win in the main stand!
Bas had two race wins but could do nothing against a well excuted 7-3 from Grabowski and Osborne. Ganczerek took heat 9, inflicting the first defeat on Kowalczyk, seeing off strong challenges from Payne in the process. The scores at the break were 47-40.
Neighbour reeled off his third win with Boaler tucked in behind, as the Hammers opened with a 7-3. This was followed by another from Osborne and Grabowski.
Matiej Ganczerek and Aaron Smith hit back with a 6-4, while Kowalczyk and Boaler replied. Likewise, Lewis Osborne took another win in heat 14, taking advantage of a Payne/Wheeler scrap that left the British Champ on the floor.
Grabowski and Neighbour took another 6-4 advantage, with Steve Harris splitting the pair. Bas took his third win of the afternoon seeing off Kowalczyk and Carmichael.
Lewis Osborne complete his maximim in a 6-4 in the 17th, Grabowski and Boaler taking a 7-3 in 18.
Both the nominated races were drawn wins for Kowalczyk and Boaler, leaving the final score Horspath 110 – 86 Poole.
The absence of Gluckowski hit Poole hard, a Village track specialist rarely dropping points, six races from him and there is a different meeting.
The Hammers did have exclusions that could have been costly, however with Lewis Osborne putting in a captain’s performance and Jake Neighbour also catching the eye alongside the more established internationals, Horspath were always in control.
A. Johnson 4, M. Carmichael 9+2, B. Grabowski 17+1, L. Osborne 19+1, S. Kowalczyk 21+1, M. Boaler 14+2, Z. Payne 8+1, J. Neighbour 17, W. Jeffrey1
D. Bas 19+1, D. Hook 6, M. Ganczerek17, A. Smith 6, G. Wheeler 12, S. Harris 13+2, J. Briggs 5, W. Bristowe 5+1, B. Tinsdale 3