MATCH REPORT: Top of the table clash lives up to expectations

The top of the table clash between the Poole Comets and the Horspath Hammers lived up to expectations as a close and tense battle unfolded at the Village bowl. After two shared heats, the hosts sped away to a 7-3 from David Liebermann and Zac Payne in heat 3 only for Maciej Ganczarek to team up with Ben Tinsdale in the next race to return the favour.

After 3 more shared heats, Ganczarek teamed up with Greg Gluchowski for a 6-4 over fellow countryman Lukas Nowacki which saw the Comets lead 44-46 at the break. However, the Hammers were back in front with a 7-3 in heat 10 from the impressive Rudman/Payne pairing.

Ben Mould helps Will Bristowe to a 7-3 in heat 11. Photo by Peter Payne.

After a difficult first half, Ben Mould pulled off the pass of the day on the final bend of heat 11 at the expense of Lukas Nowacki which provided the opportunity for Wil Bristowe to come through for the race win. Heat 12 featured an epic battle for 3rd place between Fraser Garnett and Will Jeffrey – good mates off the track but fierce racing rivals on it. After an entertaining sequence of passing and re-passing, it was Fraser who got the verdict.

A strange incident saw Gluchowski excluded at the start of heat 13 for raising his hand to indicate he was not ready, even though the referee had not completed the command “under starters orders”! Matiej Ganczarek managed to split the home pairing in the re-start but with the scorecard now showing 64-65, the match was still wide open.

The home side looked to be on target for a 7-3 two heats later with Sean Rudman tucked in behind Lukas Nowacki but Jay Briggs and Wil Bristowe managed to outfox Rudman to preserve the Comets’ one point overall lead. A Ganczarek/Garnett 6-4 extended that lead to 3 before Dean Hook powered away from gate 2 in the penultimate race with Wil Bristowe slotting in for a 6-4 to pull off a match winning effort.

The Hammers required a 7-2 to draw in the final race but Ben Mould rounded off an outstanding 2nd half performance with a win under pressure from Horspath top two pairing Nowacki/Payne snapping at his wheels for all 4 laps. With one away match at Newport to complete their S&SWL fixtures, the Comets look odds on to finish top of the table with the Hammers favourably positioned as runners-up.

Fraser Garnett (l) and Will Jeffery (r) battle it out. Photos by Peter Payne.

Zac Payne 16+3, Lukas Nowacki 16, Sean Rudman 12+2, Wil Jeffrey 12+1, David Lieberman 12, Andy Jonson 9, Jack Ellis 6, Owen Johnson 4

Matiej Ganczarek 19, Dean Hook 15+2, Ben Mould 14+1, Wil Bristowe 14, Fraser Garnett 12, Greg Gluchowski 8, Ben Tinsdale 7+1, Jay Briggs 3.