MATCH REPORT: Team GB edge to 2-0 lead in Women’s test series
Great Britain Women’s Cycle Speedway team have taken a 2-0 lead after securing two victories over their Australian rivals at Salisbury on Saturday and Murraylands on Sunday.
The hectic girls schedule this weekend saw back-to-back fixtures in blistering conditions in Adelaide, with highs into the mid-thirties in rural Murraylands on Sunday.
In the first test, Holly Greenhalgh sped away for an impressive opening heat win for Australia, which signalled their intent to bring the match to GB. Both teams traded blows in the first half with both sides getting maximum heat advantages, including a 7-2 for Australia after a nasty crash saw GB’s Lauren Jacobs knocked unconscious and taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Australia held a two point lead by half time. The second half featured more close, cat and mouse style racing as the home side did everything they could to help out their team mates. GB’s Leicester duo of Michelle Whitehead and Lizzie Rigley broke the deadlock in heat 12 to take the lead of the match with a maximum heat advantage.
Australia levelled up the match two heats later with a 6-4 architected by the impressive Letitia Collins, but three well worked 6-4s in a row saw GB pull a 6 point lead, eventually finishing the match after a shared heat 18 by 91-85.
Miriam Thompson 10+1, Holly Greenhalgh 17, Kayleigh Clarke 13, Emily Makepeace 4, Sophie Mitchell 7, Lucy Millikin 16, Letitia Collins 14+1, Jackie Kinross 4
GREAT BRITAIN 91
Charlie-Jane Herbert 13+1, Lauren Hookway 13+1, Michelle Whitehead 16, Lizzie Rigley 13+3, Laura Watson 11+2, Macie Schmidt 14+1, Lauren Jacobs 0, Chloe Pearce 11+1
The next day was more of the same for the women, with another close encounter on an even hotter afternoon some 50 miles out of Adelaide in Murray Bridge at Murraylands Cycle Speedway.
12 of the 18 races were shared heats, underlining how much closer the two sides are on this tour after GB ran out winners in 2015. It was Great Britain who made the more positive start, not conceding a heat advantage for the entire first half and doing enough to edge away into a healthy 51-38 lead at half time.
The powerful trio of Letitia Collins, Lucy Millikin and Holly Greenhalgh provided Australia’s 5 heat wins in the first half and were instrumental in keeping Australia in touching distance in the second.
Just two of the second half heats were advantages, with GB taking a 5-4 due to an Australian exclusion, with the other being a 7-3 to the Aussies, Milikin and Collins using all their experience to close the gap down to 8 points. However, it wasn’t enough as GB saw out the match with some sensible riding and two 5-5s.
The match was far closer than the scoreline suggests, with little between the sides. Australia have a mix of speed and experience on their side, but Great Britain dug deep on both occasions to see out the meetings and take a 2-0 lead in the series with 3 more rounds to go.
GREAT BRITAIN 92
Lizzie Rigley 16+1, Michelle Whitehead 7, Lauren Hookway 13+1, Charlie-Jane Herbert 9+2, Macie Schmidt 18, Laura Watson 13+4, Niamh Morton 8+1, Krissy Mines 8
Miriam Thompson 8+1, Holly Greenhalgh 17, Kayleigh Clarke 11+1, Delicia Pride 4, Sophie Mitchell 5, Lucy Millikin 15, Letitia Collins 19+1, Carley Martin 5
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