MATCH REPORT: Lions mauled by Eagles
A bad day at the office just does not cut it with this one. This meeting, without doubt, had all the makings of a blockbuster with both teams fielding their strongest riders. Lions made two major changes to the team line up with Jamie Morley (rested) and Harry Sexton dropping down to the reserve berth making way for the Hollebon brothers Martyn and Neil.
Ipswich were at full strength naming all three of the close season transfers from Kesgrave of James Porter and the Brinkoff brothers Lewis and Tyler.
On arrival at the Whitton Sports Centre, the weather was overcast and the threat of rain was imminent. It has to be said that Sunday’s ‘team Lions’ were the polar opposite to the previous week at East London regarding enthusiasm and team spirit and seeming to project nothing but negative vibes!
The formal coin toss was won by Ipswich captain Charlie Jane Herbert who duly elected to start off gates 2-4 in the first race; the meeting began.
Heat 1 – and the riders didn’t even get off the starting grid before the whistle was blown to halt proceedings. The referee was not happy that the tapes were held for what appeared to be an eternity, but after consulting the starter, who was adamant it was between 2-5 seconds a re-run was ordered with all four riders. For the second time, the tapes were again held for the full 5 secs, under the close scrutiny of the referee using a stopwatch. The race began with Ben Clarke (Ipswich) gating across Steven Archer to win comfortably and Neil Hollebon easily accounting for James Porter to open with a 6-4 to the Eagles.
Heat 2 – was to be no better as the race was also brought to a stop after no more than 3 meters. This time the referee was not happy with the progress of the race and instructed all four riders to return to the pits, summoning both team managers to the centre green. Instructions were given as to what was expected from both teams when the tapes were released. The re-run was an easy maximum 7-3 with Lauren Jacobs and Lewis Brinkoff very dominant.
Heat 3 – Disaster for the Lions, after yet another long hold of the tapes George Morley on gate 1 moved and was excluded. Tyler Brinkoff won the re-run at a canter while Martyn Hollebon kept Charlie Jane Herbert at bay for a 6-3 to the Eagles bringing the match score to 19-10 to Ipswich.
After only three races and Hellingly not remotely looking likely to provide a race winner, the writing was clearly on the wall.
Heat 4 – was no better after a hard-fought first bend on the second lap Neil Hollebon was unhappy with the referee’s decision to allow the race to continue pulling off the track to gift the Eagles a 7-2 heat win. It was now very apparent to all who were watching that the Lions had no more interest in the meeting as two more 7-3 maximum heat wins followed virtually unopposed.
Heat 7 – did produce the first of only two race wins for Hellingly. This one came from Martyn Hollebon winning from gate 1 after the Lions had claimed gates 1&3 being 22pts in arrears.
Heat 8 – this time it was Eddie Ridley’s time to gather an exclusion for moving at the tapes even though virtually every race was being held at the start for almost the full 5 secs.
Heat 11 – The interval came and went with the threat of rain still in the vicinity. This race brought the second race win for Hellingly with Neil Hollebon taking the chequered flag. Heat 11 was also the one and only heat advantage for the Lions with George Morley taking the third spot ahead of Charlie Jane Herbert to bring the score to 68 to 39 in favour of the Eagles. The remaining 5 heats Hellingly faired a little better, but with the luxury of gates 1&3 for all the races still failed to provide another winner. The meeting ended with the scoreline reading Ipswich 95 Hellingly 62.
This was a very comprehensive display by Ipswich and on this showing will surely take the league title with ease. The exception possibly will be the return match later on in the season at the Lower Dicker circuit.
Tyler Brinkoff 17+3 (5r) – Ben Clarke 15+1 (4r) – Charlie J Herbert 13 (5r) – Lewis Brinkoff 12+2 (4r) – Harvey Young 11 (3r) – Luke Dunningham 10 (3r) – James Porter 9+1 (4r) – Lauren Jacobs 7 (4r) – Fraser Harris DNR.
Martyn Hollebon 14+2 (5r) – Neil Hollebon 11+1 (5r) – Eddie Ridley 9+1 (5r) – George Morley 9 (5r) – Steven Archer 9 (5r) – Jim Cox 7 (4r) – Harry Sexton 3 (3r)