INTERNATIONAL: Ireland 2016 Review
The 2016 season saw plenty of action for Ireland, with teams entered for the Veterans, Junior and Senior Home Internationals, as well as the European Senior Nations Cup. A team was entered for the Junior European Nations Cup but was withdrawn due to rider unavailability.
The Home Internationals were staged at Hull and the inaugural Veterans Home International saw Paddy Wenn making his international debut, where he top scored with 11 points which included 2 wins.
Also racing for Ireland was Phil Hemming, who initially retired from international racing after the 2014 Home International, but came back for this event scoring 7 points. Phil Widdas rode his first international match since 2009 and scored 6 points with Ireland co-manager Gary Colby and the legend that is John Murphy scoring 5 and 3 points respectively.
Their total of 32 points meant a 4th place finish, Scotland winning the event on 55 points ahead of England on 54 and Wales on 36.
Ireland would be up against it in the Junior match with only 3 riders (Astley & Tyldesley’s Ciaran Collins having missed the match due to illness), but their final total of 28 points did not reflect the effort they put in.
Horspath’s Brandon Campbell, making his Ireland debut, top scored with 12 points with Ciaran Wenn scoring 10 and Katie Adams 6. England won the event on 53 points ahead of Wales on 51, Scotland on 38 with Ireland on 28.
Paddy and John would make another appearance in the Senior match where they were joined by Hethersett’s Dan Butler (who missed the 2015 event), Ipswich’s Charlie Rumbold and Hull’s Adam Stephenson who had retired for a couple of seasons but made a one-off return which he marked by winning his 1st race.
Ireland took the lead after heat 4 following an exclusion to Andy Angell, with Charlie winning the re-run. The lead was lost in the following race but another win for Charlie in heat 6 (Chris Timms having gained an exclusion) saw Ireland regain the lead which they relinquished in heat 8 to England. England went on to win the event with 56 points ahead of Wales on 48. Ireland took 3rd with 39 points from Scotland on 33. Charlie top scored for Ireland with 14 points with Adam scoring 10, Paddy 8, Dan 5 and John 2.
With Ciaran Collins sidelined with illness and Katie Adams unavailable due to lack of transport, joint team manager Steve Copping had to make the reluctant decision to scratch Ireland from the Junior European Nations Cup at Poole. The Senior team consisted of Dan Butler, Charlie Rumbold, Ireland debutant Leon Mower (who was unavailable for the Home International due to a family commitment), Poole’s Ben Donohue and Hethersett’s Leigh Cossey.
The event was won by Poland with 64 points ahead of England on 62 with Wales 3rd on 55, Ireland 4th with 36 and Scotland 5th with 29. Charlie scored 9 of Ireland’s points with Dan, Leon & Leigh scoring 7 each and Ben 6.
2017 has seen three new riders become eligible for Ireland, Horspath’s Ross Loveridge, Exeter’s Aaron Herbert and Richard Williamson. These 3 riders and all the other Ireland riders will figure in Ireland’s plans for this year, subject to their availability, but Steve and Gary would still like to increase the pool of riders available for selection, especially Junior riders.
The criteria to be eligible for Ireland is that riders, their parents or their grandparents, need to have been born in Ireland. On the basis of this criteria we would ask all riders who think they would be eligible for Ireland to come forward.
Junior riders need to be Under 19 in the year of competition for the Junior Home International and Under 18 in the year of competition for all other Junior International events.
Ireland will also be sporting brand new 33/18 Designs race jerseys, which arrived this week: