MATCH REPORT: England reign supreme in the Home International

If you forgot your suncream at the Home International at Ipswich on Saturday, you were going to have a bad time. With temperatures well into the high twenties and limited shade available, keeping cool was at a premium. England team manager Mark Boaler did exactly that though, leading his side to an emphatic victory in the senior event.

Scotland’s influential captain Mikey Hewitson got off to a great start for his team with a win off grid 2, Myke Grimes salvaged a second place from grid 4 after getting stuck at the back in a busy first bend, finishing ahead of Wales’ Nicky Evans. Ben Scranage was unlucky to come off worse in a challenge for position in heat 2, as Ben Mould put the Welsh in the driving seat with a win. However the English hit straight back, with Winwood this time at the back as Paul Heard took the chequered flag, giving the English a one point lead after three heats, off the unfavourable outside grids.

It would be the last time England were in front until the second half though, as the Welshmen had the advantage of being inside their main competitors for the first nine heats. A strong ride from Lewis Osbourne against Nicky Evans pulled a point back for England, as they went into the interval trailing by 5 points, but with the bonus of all inside grids against Wales to finish.

Hewitson races away from Ireland's Gary Colby as Ben Scranage fends off Mark Carmichael's challenge

Hewitson races away from Ireland’s Gary Colby as Ben Scranage fends off Mark Carmichael’s challenge. Photo by Ray Andrews.

After the break, England were clinical, winning 8 out of the remaining 9 heats, with Scranage keeping Carmichael behind him in heat 15 as Hewitson raced away, ensuring the English beat their Welsh counterparts in every heat in the second half. In the end, it was a comfortable win by Mark Boaler’s well disciplined England side, which included reserve Zac Payne notching two wins out of three.

The main turning point in the match may have been an exclusion for Jack Harrold for a ram on Mikey Hewitson, after Lewis Osbourne had slipped off his pedals at the start on grid one in heat 10. Osbourne made no mistake in the re-run taking the flag, setting the precedent for the second half. Hewitson was Scotland’s only heat winner, with Charlie Rumbold picking up a win in heat 4 for the Irish.

Scotland 38
Mikey Hewitson 13, Jake Slight 8, Nathan Groves 7, Craig Newsome 7, Lee Kemp 5

Wales 49
Nicky Evans 10, Ben Mould 14, Mark Winwood 8, Mark Carmichael 11, Jack Harrold 6

England 59
Myke Grimes 14, Ben Scranage 4, Paul Heard 15, Lewis Osbourne 14, Zac Payne 11

Ireland 30
Ciaran Collins 4, Lewis Roberts 7, Gary Colby 8, Charlie Rumbold 7, Craig Norton 3

Home International Juniors

The England juniors opened up the days proceedings in some style, as they wrapped up a comfortable win in the very hot early afternoon conditions.

Lee Kemp was the only rider in the field to deny the England riders a race win. Kemp, enjoying his first season at Wednesfield lost out only to England’s Richard Fellgett, as he posted a solid 15 out of 16. For England, Pierce Bacon and Richard Fellgett raced unbeaten, with ample support from Jesse Moore, Reece Pollitt and Mason Phillips, who all only dropped the one point each to Kemp.

Lee Kemp, Carl Parfitt and Mason Phillips in a strong first bend in the Junior Home International. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Lee Kemp, Carl Parfitt and Mason Phillips in a strong first bend in the Junior Home International. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Wales and Scotland battled it out for second place, with the Scots just nicking it by one point, with an exclusion to Adam Bennett in heat 3 proving costly for the Welshmen.

Wales 39
Iuean Payne 11, Sean Bennett 9, Adam Bennett 8, Carl Parfitt 11

England 61
Jesse Moore 11, Reece Pollitt 15, Mason Phillips 15, Pierce Bacon 12, Richard Fellgett 8

Ireland 19
Adam Reeve 4, Ciaran Collins 6, Katie Adams 5, Ciaran Wenn 4

Scotland 40
Lee Kemp 15, Kyle Holland 9, Dougie Morgan 9, Louis Kennedy 7

Celtic Cup

The Celtic cup was contested between Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Holders Wales took the trophy back home with them again, with Scotland being their main challengers. The Welsh in the end winning the title by 5 points. Full scorers will be published when we get them.

Celtic Cup Winners 2015 - Wales

Celtic Cup Winners 2015 – Wales