MATCH REPORT: Hull v Birmingham (Challenge match)
Hull welcomed Birmingham to the Hessle Raceway on a warm and dry sunny afternoon for a pre-season challenge match. Both teams tracked nine riders with two of Hull’s recent signings, Frank Auffret and David Hemsley, making their Hull debuts. Hull were without the injured Andy Angell but brought in Tom Bewick from Wednesfield for the day.
Heat one saw the strong Birmingham pair of Mark Winwood and Paul Heard race away for a 7-3 heat win to which Hull immediately responded with a 6-4 win. The following heats saw two drawn heats followed by two 6-4 wins to Birmingham which saw them build up a six point lead. Heat eight saw Hull register a 7-2 heat win to bring them to within a point of Birmingham. Birmingham hit back immediately with a 7-3 heat win and a further drawn race saw Birmingham lead by five points at the interval.
The first race after the interval was drawn but then Hull registered a 7-3 win to take the lead by one point for what would be the only time in the match they led. Birmingham scored two successive 7-3 wins to take back the lead and the remaining heats saw no side make any further headway. The score after eighteen heats was Hull 86 – Birmingham 93.
Three additional nominated races then took place which saw Birmingham take two 7-3 wins with the final heat being drawn.
The match was ridden in a sporting manner throughout and proved a good workout for both sides. Birmingham had the top end strength but the Hull side all scored consistently throughout and both sides can look forward to a successful season on this showing. The match scorers were:
Nathan Everett 15+1 (6 rides), Frank Auffret 8 (5 rides), David Hemsley 13 (5 rides), David Cooper 8+1 (4 rides), Tom Bewick 13+1 (6 rides), Mat Eglan 9+1 (5 rides), Rich Pawson 9+2 (4 rides), Josh Belli 11 (3 rides) and Adam Stephenson 11+2 (4 rides)
Mark Winwood 16(4 rides), Paul Heard 20+4 (6 rides), Chris Timms 18+1 (5 rides), Carl Winwood 9+1 (5 rides), Ewan Hancox 4+1 (4 rides), Ricki Johnson 15 (5 rides), Jake Steel 4 (4 rides), Billy Winwood 13 (5 rides) and Paul Timms 13+1 (4 rides)