MATCH REPORT: Team work see Sheffield home & dry

After a morning of heavy rain, Poole arrived at Sheffield to bright sunshine and a perfectly prepared track ready for racing. Both sides had made changes with Poole missing Greg Gluchowsk and Steve Harris, Sheffield without Radek Handke.

Heat 1 saw the visitors draw first blood as Mikey Hewitson crashed and was forced to retire, luckily a superb win from Myke Grimes over Aaron Smith & Hayden Chant limited the damage to a 4-5. With the next heat shared Sheffield’s Polish flyers Damien Zareba & Pawel Idziorek edged the home team in front with a well taken 6-4 and some text book team riding.

However Poole hit straight back as Will Bristowe & Smith slammed home a big 7-3 despite the best attentions of Adam Watson & Hewitson. The next two heats proved to be crucial with Sheffield taking two maximums of their own, Grimes & Rich Hudson over Chant & Jay Briggs then Idziorek & Zareba over Aaron Morgan & Dean Hook. With the next three races to the interval all shared, Sheffield held a narrow 5pt lead at the break.

Heats 10 & 11 provided plenty of excitement for the crowd as firstly Hudson & Idziorek took a 7-2 over Hook with the unlucky Bristowe excluded for an unintentional legging of Idziorek. Sheffield’s Andy Angell was next to receive his marching orders for moving at the start of heat 11, however it looked to many he had timed his start perfectly. In the re run Gavin Parr rode a Captains race and split the Poole pairing, to limit the damage. Hewitson and Grimes squared the next race before Idziorek & Zareba took another maximum to put the scores at 69-58 in Sheffield’s favour. Idziorek cruising to what would be his second full house (20) of the Elite League season.

Pawel Idziorek scored his second maximum of the season, supported by Damian Zareba. Photo Ed Morton.

Pawel Idziorek scored his second maximum of the season, supported by Damian Zareba. Photo by Ed Morton.

Poole hit back with a 6-3 after Watson was excluded for a coming together with Gavin Wheeler which seemed a little harsh, this left Skipper Gavin Parr to yet again put in a damage limiting ride and get a new name (Geordie no mates). With four heats to go Sheffield took control and a 7-2 from Hudson & Angell, after Poole’s Ben Donahue brought down Angell at the first time of asking, set things in motion.

The next race was perhaps a little strange with Sheffield’s Myke Grimes coming off at high speed and being tangled up in his bike and the fence, however the race was allowed to continue with Zareba taking the win which limited Poole to a 4-5 heat advantage. Roles reversed exactly in the penultimate heat when Sheffield took a 5-4 after Ben Donahue crashed on the third bend sustaining a very nasty facial injury.

Poole's Ben Donohue (l) had a stay over night at A&E following a horrific crash with Gavin Parr (r)

Poole’s Ben Donohue (l) had a stay over night at A&E following a horrific crash with Gavin Parr (r). Photo by Ed Morton.

The final heat resulted in a 6-3, Poole having lost Chant to a tapes exclusion. Idziorek rounded off his maximum in style whilst Wheeler & Angell had a real cat and mouse tussle for second with Wheeler managing to take the 3pts.

An interesting fact, from heats 14-18 only three riders finished in each race, Pawel Idziorek maintains a 4.00 race average but is joined in that lofty position by Sheffield junior Rich Hudson who scored 11+1 from his three rides.

As always when Poole come a visiting you are always guaranteed a good match and today was no different, no nonsense good hard racing which was well handled by Referee Graham Lush who always gave a clear reason for the decisions he made.

Sheffield 94
Pawel Idziorek 19+1, Damien Zareeba 16+2, Gavin Parr 13+2, Myke Grimes 12+2, Rich Hudson 11+1, Andy Angell 11, Mikey Hewitson 9+1, Adam Watson 3

Poole 78
Gavin Wheeler 18, Aaron Morgan 16+1, Aaron Smith 14+1, Will Bristowe 9, Haydn Chant 7+1, Dean Hook 7+1, Ben Donahue 4, Jay Briggs 3.

The Combination fixture went to a last heat decider with Poole managing to secure a 6-4 to win by two points, the match was nip & tuck all the way with Sheffield welcoming back Kyle Holland who didn’t disappoint with 16+1, Adam Watson was busy as always, Simon Gamble made his first appearance of the season. The whole team made vital contributions but Poole just had the edge. Another entertaining fixture to round off the afternoon and it didn’t rain!

Sheffield (62+19) 81
Kyle Holland 16+1, Adam Watson 12, Rich Hudson 10+2, Ed Morton 8+1, Matt Parrott 8+1, Simon Gamble 8

Poole (68+15) 83
Haydn Chant 17+2, Dean Hook 14, Jay Briggs 12+1, Callam Albin 10, Pete Chant 10, Jordan Bradford 5