MATCH REPORT: Stars in contention but Whirlwinds see job through

The Whirlwinds were back in league action this afternoon when they took on the Stars from Norwich. The Stars, lead by Wenn, Colby and the return of Craig Norton along with Medler in support, posed a competitive team for the reigning league champions. The Whirlwinds themselves had to make a shuffle of their squad after Pierce Bacon had to call off because of illness. A late call up and first ever team match for young Oscar Webb, who delivered 17 points last weekend in the British Under 13 Club final.

Both teams looked evenly matched, with the Whirlwinds able to call upon Brooke, Roberts, the ever improving Harvey, as well as ex-womens champion Lauren Jacobs. The match, as expected, was tight with all four opening heats being shared. In heat five, the home team struck first as Roberts/Jacobs got the better of the Colby/Dyball combination, to open a four point lead with Jacobs powering around from four and with Roberts acting as her guard completed a maximum 7-3.

Norwich hit back in seven, when Roberts was excluded from the tapes, leaving Jacobs to face Norton/Medler. The away team secured a 6-3 to close the gap to one point, but the home side were back in control in eight, when a brilliant piece of team riding from Clarke and Harvey. Firstly, Clarke got himself into second spot before letting his young team mate Harvey past to chase up and pass Colby for a brilliant 6-4, moving the home team three points up. They took that three point lead into the break as Brooke/Webb secured a shared heat in nine. The half time score was Ipswich 46 Norwich 43.

The second half stared in the same vein as the first, with a shared heat in ten. Heat eleven brought more success to the away team, when Roberts got himself caught up inside of Wenn going into the first bend on the third lap he came down and didn’t finish the heat, allowing Norwich to go on and record a memorable 7-2 for Wenn/Medler.

This put Norwich in front for the first and only time in the match by two points. This acted as a wake up call and the defending champions immediately hit back with Brooke/Jacobs securing the first of their three heat advantages in the second half 7-3. The next two heats were shared as Ipswich looked to control their enthusiastic rivals from growing in confidence. Heat fifteen once again saw Brooke/Jacobs secure a 6-4, this time to edge the home team further in front.

Heats sixteen and seventeen were shared after clever team riding by young Harvey, allowing his younger team mate Oscar Webb to claim another second place as Harvey was content to ride to instructions and see out the match, taking the home team into the last heat four points to the good. It was left to Brooke/Jacobs to see the job through, as another excellent piece of team riding from Brooke got Jacobs through into first and the home riders were able to coast home home for a 7-3 heat win to round off another hard fought victory for the champions.

Full credit must also go to Norwich who made the Whirlwinds fight all the way, with Paddy Wenn in outstanding form and was well supported by Craig Norton, who will be pleased with his overall performance.

For the home team Josh Brooke gave a captains performance, leading from the front while Lauren Jacobs is looking stronger with every match, which will set her in good stead for the forthcoming British Finals and will have the other women looking over theirs shoulders that she wants her title back. Young Oscar Webb can be pleased with his own contribution in a difficult match and will take plenty from this experience. Lastly a big thank you to Mr. Brooke for refereeing.

Ipswich Whirlwinds 93
Josh Brooke 22+2, Ben Harvey 20+2, Lauren Jacobs 19+1, Lewis Roberts 14+1, Oscar Webb 10, Phil Clarke 8.

Norwich Stars 85
Craig Norton 19+1, Paddy Wenn 17+1, Gary Colby 17, Jamie Medler 13+4, Rohan Ewbank 10+2, Alex Dyball 9+1.

Referee – Bill Brooke