MATCH REPORT: Newport edge to narrow victory

Sunday’s meeting brought together the two title favourites for the South and South Wales Division One title, a battle between the Horspath Hammers and the Newport Stars at the Village.

The meeting started with Jack Harrold flying out of the traps and defending his lead from the two charging youngsters, Will Jeffery and Jake Neighbour. This was a sign of things to come, as Jack never put a wheel wrong all day.

Neither side could get a clear advantage in the early exchanges. However, a crucial slip off the pedals by Jeffery, whilst defending the lead against the pressing Adam Bennett and Dale Clark, proved costly, as Newport took full advantage of the recovering Will, to bang in a 7-3 to suddenly open up a 6 point lead.

Heat 9 brought the big talking point of the meeting, when with Zac Payne and Jeffery on a 7-3 heat advantage. A real coming together of all four riders including Chris Davies and Adam Bennett, resulted in a heavy fall for Will, which home heat leader Payne took exception to and vented his anger at referee Colin Simmons.

Simmons immediately reached for his top pocket and pulled out a yellow card, meaning an instant 4 point deduction for the Hammers, which ultimately proved very costly.

With Ben Mould excelling again delivering some very fast rides, suddenly Newport had opened up an 8 point lead by the interval. After Zac Payne lead the half time team talks with the ever reliable Lukasz Nowacki, the Hammers duly secured their first 7-3 of the day, courtesy of Jack Ellis and Andy Johnson, to close the gap back down to 3 points.

A run of steady 5-5 drawn races kept the totals very tight, although Horspath were fully aware of the impending deduction, so still had it all to do.

Dave Liebermann and Will Jeffery raised the home hopes with a crucial 7-3 over Sean Bennett and Kevin Greaves with some superb team riding, and suddenly the Hammers held a slender 1 point lead.

With four races to go it was still anyone’s meeting, but with the unbeaten Jack Harrold and Ben Mould in two of them, Newport were confident of hanging on. Mould duly obliged with a rare feat around Horspath of passing track expert Lukasz Nowacki from behind. The European champion clearly getting up to match fitness and his nod of acknowledgement at the end was true sportsmanship.

Jake Neighbour and Dave Liebermann showed their class with a storming heat 16 ride, resulting in a 7-3 for the home side, who suddenly found themselves in a 3 point lead. It was all to no avail though, as Chris Davies and Ben Mould answered with a 7-3 of their own in the penultimate race, leaving the unbeaten Jack Harrold to complete his 5 ride maximum, and take the points back down the M4.

Final score was Horspath 89-90 Newport. The 4 point deduction altered the final score to 85-90.

Horspath Hammers 85
Chris Nuttall 2, Jake Neighbour 13+3, Lukasz Nowacki 15+1, Dave Liebermann 11+2, Zac Payne 16+1, Jack Ellis 12, Will Jeffery 10+1, Andy Johnson 10+1

Newport Stars 90
Dale Clark 7+1, Jack Harrold 20, Chris Davies 12+2, Joe Lewis 8, Sean Bennett 8, Ben Mould 19+1, Adam Bennett 12+1, Kevin Greaves 4

Referee – Colin Simmons

Report: Rob Jeffery | Photo: Peter Payne