MATCH REPORT: All square in Suffolk as last ditch 7-3 saves the Eagles

The Eagles and Aces locked horns for the second time in as many weeks, and another eagerly awaited, titanic battle lie ahead for the home support.

Both set of teams were depleted this afternoon with Roberts and Fellgett missing for the home side, while Mould and Marchant were absent for the away side. Heat one saw the Aces take the inside grids, but it was the home team who were the happier, securing a drawn heat. Heat two saw Brooke for the home team open the door for his team mate Rumbold to take a 7-3, but the lead was to be short lived, when Chittock was excluded at the tapes and the away pairing of Heard and Johnson carved out a 7-2. They were to follow this up in heat three with Jewkes and Smith seeing off the Hill brothers, 6-4. Two more drawn heats in five and six, then Heard and Johnson were at it again securing a 6-4 and some daylight was starting to appear between these two evenly matched teams. A drawn heat in eight kept it to five point gap but Wednesfield finish the half in style with an Aris and Jewkes 7-3 over the hapless Ipswich pairing, with the home side making too many errors at the wrong time and found themselves going into the interval nine points down. Half time score 40 – 49.

Ipswich came out for the second half more determined and more aggressive than they were in the first half, with some stern talking done at half time and this showed in the opening heat when Griffiths was judged to have brought Mower down with his leg. It was a slightly harsh decision and in the re run Ipswich were able to secure a 6-3 to cut the lead back to six points. Wednesfield were to hit back straight away with a 6-4 in heat eleven. Another exclusion in the following heat saw Aris move at the tapes, Peck and A.Hill got the better of Winwood, though the midlands rider was able to split the home pairing for another 6-3. Again the away side came right back at their hosts, this time Smith and Jewkes claiming a 6-4 and after thirteen heats, seven points separated the two teams.

Heat fourteen and a second exclusion to Grffiths, this time for moving while under orders, but Johnson did manage to limit the damage by winning the heat from Rumbold and Matt Hill. Ipswich were now only six points down with four heats to go, but two 6-4s in a row in heats fifteen and sixteen turned the match on it’s head and the home team were now only two points behind, and sensing they could pull off an unlikely come back. But, their dreams all seemed to be shattered when Aris and Johnson stole a 6-4 on Ashely Hill and Rumbold to move back to a four point cushion with one heat to go. So it was left to a old trusted partnership in Brooke and Mower to reacue a point against Heard and Kemp. As the race got under away it looked a tall order with Heard happy to sit in behind Brooke but a do or die dive from Mower saw the Ipswich rider come out of bend two in front to secure a classic last heat 7-3 and with that a share of the spoils.

On reflection of the match overall a draw does seem a fair result with either team not doing quite enough to win out right. Ipswich will look at mistakes in the first half, while the away team will looked back at three second half exclusions. Chris Jewkes and Matt Smith were the pick of the riders for the away team, while Ipswich’s Josh Brooke and Matthew Hill were outstanding for the home team and were well backed by team captain Adam Peck.

In the match race trophy, Josh Brooke (4) beat Paul Heard (2).

Ipswich Eagles 88
Josh Brooke 18+1 (5), Adam Peck 14+1 (5), Matt Hill 13+1 (5), Ashley Hill 12 (5), Leon Mower 10+2 (5), Charlie Rumbold 10 (5), Jamie Chittock 9 (5), Jordan Stant 2 (1).

Wednesfield Aces 88
Chris Jewkes 16 (5), Ricki Johnson 15 (5), Paul Heard 14+1(5), Matt Smith 14 (5), Lee Aris 10+1 (5), Lee Kemp 7 (3), Mark Griffiths 6+1 (5), Mark Winwood 6 (3).

Referee Terry Ashford (Suffolk)

Elite League Combination League

Ipswich Eagles (49+25) 74
Matt Hill 12, Phil Clarke 8, Pierce Bacon 8, Mark Debman 6, Ben Harvey 6, Jordan Stant 5, Alex Harvey 4.

Wednesfield Aces (80+17) 97
Jordan Holdcroft 15, Dave Meanley 15, Mark Griffiths 14, Mark Winwood 13, Connor Dycke 13, Lee Kemp 10.

Referee Dave Hill (Ipswich)

Both teams went into this match conceding penalty points, but with the home team very short in numbers and this was always going to be an uphill struggle against the league leaders, who could call upon the likes of Griffiths, Winwood and the ever improving Holdcroft. It turned out to be with the Aces securing a comfortable win, with only one home rider scoring double figures and thus securing the Elite League Combination tile for the Aces.