MATCH REPORT: Double victory for Team GB in first test

Both Mens and Ladies teams were victorious against their Australian rivals in the first test match at Horspath, Oxford, last night. The test matches launched the beginning of the 2015 ICSF World Championships, held here in Great Britain for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Great Britain men suffered a hefty 4.5-0.5 defeat down under, two years ago, to put right. The Aussies brought a full team to Great Britain shores for the first time in Cycle Speedway history, with test matches traditionally taking place in Adelaide before this years championships.

There was not much to choose between the sides, with two shared heats opening the meeting. Australia’s Ryan Edson was excluded for a ram in heat three, giving the irrepressible Mark Boaler and Lewis Osbourne the first heat advantage of the evening, Bobby McMillan splitting the GB pair for the Australians.

Mark Boaler was in fine form for Team GB as he raced to a maximum score. Photo Mark Phillips.

Mark Boaler was in fine form for Team GB as he raced to a maximum score. Photo Mark Phillips.

Great Britain managed to squeeze out three more heat advantages before the interval, with the Australians limited to just one in heat seven, courtesy of McMillan and Edson. Great Britain went into the break with a slender five point lead, which can be eradicated by one maximum heat by their opponents.

Boaler took his third win in heat ten and with Mark Carmichael keeping Weinert behind him, increasing the home nation’s lead by a further two points. McMillan and Edson hit back again, with their own 6-4 heat advantage, however, that would be just their second and last of the meeting.

Five of the last seven heats were shared, but team GB consolidated their authority with two 6-4s in heat 13 and 17 courtesy of the Boaler/Osbourne pairing, with Mould and Heard sealing the victory in the penultimate heat. Mark Boaler completed an impressive 20 point maximum in heat 18 with a fine pass on Bobby McMillan, leaving the final score 95-84 to Great Britain.

Team GB’s Ben Mould and Paul Heard seal victory in heat 17.

Australia will be fired up for the second test at Newport tomorrow. A long, wide track, with plenty of opportunity for passing should suit them well. They must win or the series is all over. Team GB manager, Dave Murphy will be delighted with his team’s performance so far, it was calm, measured and disciplined, reducing the Aussies to just two heat advantages out of eighteen heats. It’s all to play for!

Paul Heard 13, Steve Harris 10, Gavin Wheeler 11, Ben Mould 14, Lewis Osbourne 12, Mark Boaler 20, Matt Smith 6, Mark Carmichael 9

Rob Sellick 8, Cody Chadwick 12, Joel Chadwick 16, Cameron Crisp 5, Bobby McMillan 16, Ryan Edson 7, Shane Bentley 10, Shane Weinert 10

The Team GB ladies, lead by captain Vicky Brown, won with aplomb over their Aussie rivals. Brown herself riding to an impressive 20 point maximum and was well supported by the rest of her team,with Michelle Whitehead and Lauren Jacobs only being beaten by a rival once.

Six of the first nine heats were heat advantages for the home nation, with only Letitia Collins and Lucy Millikin able to answer back for the Australians, with Millikin the only Australian to get a race win, which she duly managed twice, before an exclusion in her penultimate ride.

The match was all but sown up at the half way stage, with the GB ladies consolidating an unassailable 14 point lead. Brown’s ladies then turned the screw in the second half of the meeting, score a heat advantage in the remaining seven heats, five of which were maximum 7-3 returns.

Team GB's Vicky Brown went through the card unbeaten for the ladies. Picture by Mark Phillips.

Team GB’s Vicky Brown went through the card unbeaten for the ladies. Picture by Mark Phillips.

A whopping 39 points separated the two nations, the final score coming in at 94-55. The Aussie ladies know they need to pull something out of the bag next time out, or the series could be all over at Newport on Wednesday.

Lauren Jacobs 14, Charlie Jane Herbert 11, Lucy Whitehead 11, Michelle Whitehead 13, Laura Watson 9, Vicky Brown 20, Lauren Hookway 16

Letitia Collins 12, Jess Snowden 6, Lucy Millikin 13, Kayleigh Clarke 9, Ebony Clarke 7, Latisha Bevear 7

The next test match takes place at the Newport Olympic Sports Village on Wednesday 29th July 2015, tapes up at 7:30pm.