MATCH REPORT: Hammers register home win against Swindon
Last Sunday, Horspath welcomed local rivals Swindon Robins to the Village Recreation Ground.
Unfortunately for Swindon, top rider Steve Harris was racing in Poland, and with Shaun Rudman unavailable and Jim Bailey currently sidelined, the Robins could only track five riders against the Hammers, who were only missing Dave Liebermann with the back injury picked up at Poole last weekend.
Youngsters Will Jeffery and Owen Johnson opened proceedings with an impressive 6-4 race win over the experienced duo of Rob Hunt and Jim Collier. With Jake Neighbour paired with Andy Johnson, and then Zac Payne and young Jack Ellis completing successive 7-3s over Matty Rayson and Tyler Bingham and Paul Matthews, it soon became apparent Swindon were in for a tough battle.
Heat four saw Swindon’s only race advantage, with Rob and Tyler completing a 6-4 victory after a nasty fall for Alice Neighbour, who managed to go head over heels right on the concrete start line of all places!
With Will and Rob neck and neck at the time and entering the final lap, the race was awarded before the conclusion, with young Alice being excluded for causing the stoppage. The main thing was Alice jumped back up again and resisted all offers of help and sympathy, much to the crowds amusement and applause.
Top home speedster, Lukasz Nowacki, came out wearing the number 8 and raced off in to the distance in heat 5, not a bad reserve to have in your team for the day! Swindon kept the home team honest for the remainder of the races and made sure they worked hard for their points, but with every one of Horspath’s riders winning at least one race, the strength in depth showed.
Lukasz, Andy and Jake all raced unbeaten in the heats, and with one heat remaining, the scores were 103-65 to Horspath.
Heat 18 proved memorable, as previously unbeaten Jake and Zac lined up against Jim and Paul. The tapes shot up and the home Hammers can only be described as limped out of the gate, as a greatful Jimbo and Paul raced off in to a 7-3 lead.
Jake put the after burners on and within a lap and a half had made his way to the front, but with Zac grinning from ear to ear getting blocked by clever use of the track by Paul, Jim was off like a rat up a drainpipe!
Zac eventually pulled off the switch and chased Jim down hard but had run out of laps, so settled for a 6-4. The meeting concluded with a constantly grinning Jimbob, chuffed in the knowledge he’d finally beaten the former British Champion! One for the scrapbook. Final score Hammers 109 -69 Robins.
Horspath Hammers 109
Will Jeffery 14 +1 (4 rides), Owen Johnson 10+1 (5 rides), Jake Neighbour 16+4 (5 rides), Andy Johnson 20 (5 rides), Jack Ellis 15+1 (5 rides), Zac Payne 15+3 (5 rides), Alice Neighbour 7 (4 rides), Lukasz Nowacki 12 (3 rides)
Swindon Robins 69
Rob Hunt 18+2 (7 rides), Jim Collier 15 (7 rides), Matty Rayson 16+1 (7 rides), Tyler Bingham 9 (7 rides), Paul Matthews 11+1 (7 rides)
Report by Rob Jeffery. Photo by Peter Payne.