MATCH REPORT: North & Scotland do the double at Poole

Harbourside Park regulars were treated to two cracking matches in the opening round of the 2018 Battle of Britain with the powerful North & Scotland squads taking the honours against South West and Wales after 40 pulsating heats of Elite racing.

The Junior match opened the proceedings but there was nothing second best about the standard of racing as both teams battled hard for supremacy and fought tooth and nail for every single point.

Adam Taylor and Michael Preston steered the North to a 5 point interval lead and two quick heat wins after the break extended the margin to 12 after South’s skipper Sean Bennett got his marching orders from referee John Carry in heat 11.

The hosts clawed their way back into contention with three 6 – 4 wins to make the scoreline 86-91 with just two nominated races remaining.

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The penultimate heat saw Ben Tinsdale race home for the win but the Morton/Taylor pairing closed the door on Sean Bennett to ensure the match victory went to the visitors. Michael Preston turned the tables on South’s leading scorer Fraser Garnett in the final race after his colours were lowered for the only time in the match by the Poole rider in heat 9.

South & South Wales 94
Fraser Garnett 22, Will Jeffrey 14, Ben Tinsdale 13, Danny Byrne 13, Jack Ellis 13, Sean Bennett 9, Macie Schmidt 6, Owen Johnson 4

North & Scotland 102
Michael Preston 23, Adam Taylor 17, Ed Morton 16, Max Evans 11, Devon Campbell 11, Adam Turnbull 10, Kaysar Mohamedi 8, Lewis Foxley 6

Referee John Carry

The senior teams looked evenly matched on paper and a closer scoreline would have surely followed were it not for a high speed crash between Maciej Ganczarek and Pawel Idziorek in heat 3 which led to the withdrawal of the Poole man who sustained injury and bike damage.

With the likes of Nowacki, Hook and Mould unavailable, the hosts drafted in 3 of their junior squad to fill the gaps while it was left to Zac Payne to spearhead the SSW attack. Guiding the North to victory was the wily tactitioner Steve Harris whose move of home from South to North during the winter was another decisive factor in the match outcome.

His race partnership with A&T clubmate Reece Pollitt chalked up 40 points and with Idziorek and Jake Read chipping in some good scores, there were points to spare in the closing stages although SSW did stage something of a second half comeback when they reduced the deficit from 14 to 4 between heats 13 and 17.

However, well crafted 6 – 4 heat wins in each of the last 3 races made it a clean sweep of the spoils for North & Scotland.

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As with the junior match, racing was tough and entertaining for the crowd and the victors will be hoping to carry this form with them to Round 2 while team manager Dave Murphy must hope that the missing SSW stars will be in action for his squad sooner rather than later.

South & South Wales 93
Zac Payne 18, Jake Neighbour 16, Adam Bennett 13, Wil Bristowe 12, Will Jeffrey 12, Fraser Garnett 11, Ben Tinsdale 10, Maciej Ganczarek 1 (Withdrew Injured)

North & Scotland 103
Reece Pollitt 21, Steve Harris 19, Pawel Idziorek 16, Jake Read 14, Kris Ramsden 11, Adam Watson 10, Kyle Holland 6, Ed Morton 6

Referee Dave Dart

Photos by Graham Robins.