MATCH REPORT: Eagles finally win at the Village

Ipswich Eagles travelled to The Village, having never claimed a victory against the former league champions.

Horspath lined up without the experienced Mark Boaler, but still had a formidable looking line up assembled as they started their first match of the 2016 season. The Eagles had the same line up that beat Wednesfield last time out.

The Eagles started well, being physical from the starts and getting into good positions from their outside grids, knowing they couldn’t afford to give Horspath the same lead they’d given Coventry and Wednesfield previously.

There was plenty of thrills and spills as both teams battled to gain an advantage. Lucasz Nowacki was in imperious gating form, he would in fact go the whole match unbeaten, while little pocket rocket Matt Hill was also flying from the starts to take some good wins against top level opposition.

Cody Chadwick and Marcin Paradzinski do battle. Photo by Peter Payne.

Cody Chadwick and Marcin Paradzinski do battle. Photo by Peter Payne.

Unfortunately in heat 8, when coming under pressure from Jamie Chittock on the first bend, Jack Harrold fell heavily on the kerb and was unable to take any further part in the meeting, this just emphasising the physicality on show in this contest.

The re-run, with Nowacki out in front and Osborne seemingly in control in 2nd, saw the live wire Charlie Rumbold make a dart up the inside of the Horspath rider and when they came together, Rumbold was sent flying from his machine, Osborne given his marching orders for using excessive force.

But perhaps the biggest surprise was when the Ipswich man went to fetch his bike, to find it snapped cleanly in half, leaving him using borrowed machinery for the rest of the match.

Sticking to the game plan superbly the away team failed to lose a heat in the opening half, taking advantage of some exclusions for the Hammers to go into half time 6 points to the good.

There was action all the way at the Village. Here Josh Brooke clashes with Lewis Osbourne. Photo by Peter Payne.

There was action all the way at the Village. Here Josh Brooke clashes with Lewis Osbourne. Photo by Peter Payne.

The second half started with a 5-5 before Horspath won their first heat of the afternoon, 6-4, with Ipswich returning the favour in the next heat after a lovely pass on the first bend from Chadwick on Paradzinski.

A few more heats were shared before disaster struck for the away team and it seemed the wheels may come off.

First Brooke was excluded for crossing the inside line when it seemed a 50-50 challenge with Osborne, the Horspath rider using all his strength to try and make it round the outside, before Chittock was also excluded for hitting the rear wheel of Carmichael and causing the Welsh rider to come crashing down. This resulted in a 7-2 and 6-3 wiping out the 6 point lead and leaving the Eagles down by 2.

Brooke and Hill brought it back level with a 6-4, before the last regular heat was shared, leaving the scores locked at 88 a piece with just the nominated heats to come.

In the first of the 2 heats, Brooke, who had a terrible day by his own admission, was able to race away for the heat win, but with Payne/Paradzinski relegating Chittock to the back and an inside grid to come, it seemed Horspath had the match in their hands.

Heat 20 and Chadwick was able to get round Carmichael from the starts and with Hill in third it seemed a draw was on the cards. However when Carmichael drove up the line and crossed the inside kerb on the 3rd bend, referee Robin Spicer was left with little choice but to exclude the Horspath man, giving the Eagles a 5-4 race advantage, and the league points, sending the Ipswich team and their small band of supporters wild.

Chadwick was able to put added gloss to the win by then beating Nowacki in the match race trophy to cap a memorable afternoon for the Suffolk side.

All in all a great spectacle for the neutral and a great advert for Elite league racing with so many matches finishing in the tight score lines and last heat deciders that many have craved for the last few years, the Eagles themselves have had no more than 6 points seperate them and an opponent at the final whistle in there 3 matches so far.

Horspath Hammers 97
Andy Johnson 3, Marcin Paradzinski 18, Lucasz Nowacki 23+1, Jack Harrold 1, Mark Carmichael 16, Jake Neighbour 10+1, Zac Payne 13+2, Lewis Osborne 9, Will Jenkins 3

Ipswich Eagles 98
Jamie Chittock 10, Charlie Rumbold 15+2, Ash Hill 14+2, Cody Chadwick 19+1, Matt Hill 17, Josh Brooke 12, Leon Mower 6+2, Dan Chambers 5+2, Alex Harvey DNR