MATCH REPORT: Teamwork key in victory for the Stars

The Elite league season started this weekend with Ipswich hosting Sheffield, in what has always been tight affairs in the past, and this afternoons encounter proved to be no different, with both sides not willing to give an inch.

It was Sheffield who got off to an early lead, wining the three opening heats with a Chittock exclusion in the first while under orders, giving the away team a 6-3 advantage. Heat two saw Angell and Parr work a clever 6-4 to open a five point gap. Mower and Roberts for the home team seemed have no answer to Sheffield pairing of Handke and Idziorek, for a comfortable 7-3 and it looked at that stage Ipswich would be in for a long afternoon, with three heats gone and nine points down.

Ipswich’s luck changed in four when Hewitson moved at the tapes and Matt Hill and Brooke took full advantage of the lonely Sheffield rider resulting in a 7-2. Heat five was shared and heat six saw Parr excluded for bringing down a rider, but this time Ipswich couldn’t take full use of the extra rider, as Angell was able to win the heat to to give Ipswich a 5-4.

Now the home team were only three points down, but in heat seven Sheffield managed to open that five point gap again when the trusted pairing of Handke and Idziorek handed out a 6-4 over Brooke and Chitock. Heat eight, Ipswich grabbed a last bend 7-3, with Peck and Rumbold showing great determination to claw the home side back into the match and close to within one point. Ipswich made a change in nine with Matt Hill in for Mower, and with his older brother earned a 5-5 to set up an interesting second half.

The second started just like the first, with the home team suffering an exclusion. The Eagles looked like they had a 6-4 on the cards but Ashley Hill was excluded for not allowing enough room and had to settle for a 4-5 reversal. Heat eleven proved to be the crucial heat in the context of the match, as Handke and Idziorek once again came to Sheffield’s rescue with a brilliant 7-3 and a six point lead. The next four heats were shared as both teams not wanting to give the other any encouragement. Heat sixteen saw Hewitson sent packing back to the pits for his second tape exclusion, Mower took the the win with Angell from the away team managing to split the home team 6-3.

Ipswich were now only three points adrift, but Sheffield were able to secure the win in heat seventeen with that man Idziorek and Parr securing the all important 6-4 to give them a five point cushion going into the last heat. Handke took the last heat of the day with the two Ipswich riders taking the next two places, but this wasn’t enough and with a shared heat the outcome, the first two points on the table went the way of the visitors, in a largely entertaining encounter. The match was well officiated by match day referee, Bob Prince, who before the match was awarded his trophy for top referee for 2014, this was presented to him by Graham Elliott.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the home team, but they can take many positives from the match and with still room for improvement, which will come as the season progresses. For Sheffield they will be pleased with a great result, and if they can field their strongest eight like today will be hard to beat. Ipswich face a tough trip to Wednesfield next, with the Aces being tipped for this season title by many.

Ipswich Eagles 85
Jamie Chittock 6, Josh Brooke 16+1, Lewis Roberts 13+2, Leon Mower 11, Adam Peck 12+1, Charlie Rumbold 9+2, Matt Hill 11, Ashley Hill 6

Sheffield Stars 90
Mikey Hewitson 6, Damian Zareba 13, Andy Angell 15+2, Gavin Parr 10, Pawel Idziorek 19+1, Radek Handke 17+1, Myke Grimes 8+1, Adam Watson 2

Referee – Bob Prince (Midlands)

Elite Combination

Ipswich faced an uphill task with them giving away eighteen points and with Sheffield giving away three , the home team almost turned it around only for a costly last heat exclusion rob them of a deserved victory ,going into the last heat needing a maximum 7-3 to secure a win Matt Hill moved at the tapes handing the away side an unlikey win ,but a tremendous effort by all the Ipswich riders and like the first team were tp lose out to a narrow magin.

Ipswich Eagles 72 (69+3)
Ashley Hill 19 (5), Piecre Bacon 13 (5), Matt Hill 12+1 (5) , Ben Harvey 10+2 (4). Fraser Harris 10(4) Alex Harvey 5 (5)

Sheffield Stars 75 (57+18)
Adam Watson 14+3 (5), Richard Hudson 13+1 (4), Niall Morton 11+2 (5), Ed Morton 8 (4), Jason Burke 6+1 (4), Matt Parrott 5 (4)

Referee – Bill Brooke (Suffolk)