MATCH REPORT: Hammers win entertaining match in difficult conditions
Report by Rob Jeffrey
The Horspath Hammers welcomed the South and South West League Champions, Poole Comets, to the track in an English Charity Shield league match. This was a must win for the home side following defeats at Poole and Coventry recently. With the track under water early morning, following the recent downpours, the track staff and riders got the circuit in a raceable condition. With both teams missing key riders, they looked very even on paper. Heat one saw Poole’s Matt Mildon head home Jack Ellis and Jack Harrold, to show the Comets meant business. Heat two saw Lukasz Nowacki and recent World Pairs and World Team Cup winner Will Jeffery bang in the first 7-3 advantage over Nathan Goulden and Welsh international Wil Bristowe. The racing was entertaining on an obviously heavy track and with drawn heats following the scores remained close. Heat 6 brought together Zac Payne and George Horsley and they duly completed the second home maximum advantage to increase the lead to 11 points. Team riding was the key to the day and for four consecutive races the Hammers followed each other home to either win or draw heats, a back to form Jake Neighbour highlighting this. Poole stayed in the meeting though and with Aaron Smith and Fraser Garnett picking up useful wins along with the impressive Matt Mildon, the meeting remained competitive. The home side were proving just a bit stronger though and with the Payne and Horsley partnership delivering a crushing 7-3 with five races to go the win was in sight. A series of drawn races and a 6-4 to Poole from Bristowe and Jay Briggs in heat 17 brought the meeting to a close with the Hammers victorious 97 points to 82. Special mention to Poole number one for the day , under 12 racer Kenzie Bennett , who rode his heart out and was always in the thick of the action on the first bend,trying to make something happen. Credit to all the riders who got on with the meeting, without a murmur of discontent over track conditions.
Matt Mildon, Jack Harrold & Jack Ellis break from the start
Will Jeffrey splitting Fraser Garnett & Aaron Smith
Horspath:- Jack Ellis 12+1, Andy Johnson 3 (1 ride), Will Jeffery 13+1, Lukasz Nowacki 15+2, George Horsley 12+2, Zac Payne 18+1, Jack Harrold 13, Jake Neighbour 11+3
Poole:– Kenzie Bennett 6+1, Wil Bristowe 11, Nathan Goulden 9+1, Fraser Garnett 15+1, Jay Briggs 6, Matt Mildon 17, Aaron Smith 17+1