MATCH REPORT: Weakened Lions no match for Ipswich

Sunday was not a pleasant day for Hellingly Lions as they faced a trip to Ipswich in the South East and East league. As forecast, the weather was overcast and fine drizzle falling with the temperature to the liking of Eskimos.

The Eagles did them no favours by naming a full strength side, whilst the Lions had no choice but to make the trip vastly under strength due to work commitments and injuries the outcome being first team racing for all of Lions juniors.

The mainstay of the team being Neil and Martyn Hollebon, Ed Ridley and Steven Archer, the balance of the team was juniors. Ipswich had three riders who were unbeaten by an opponent with no less than 7 out of 9 riders reaching double figure scores with ease.

For Hellingly there was very little to get excited about as the Eagles had 11 maximum 7-3 heat wins, Neil Hollebon recording the Lions only race win in heat 17. The meeting was very much a power house show from Ipswich with the young Lions having to accept second best.

Pierce Bacon 20, Ashley Hill 19+1, Harrison Bacon 18+2,Dan Knights 16+3, Richard Fellgett 13+2, Matt Hill 12+2, Fraser Harris 12, Luke Dunningham 3, Ben Clarke 2

Neil Hollebon 12, Steven Archer 10, Martyn Hollebon 9+2, Edward Ridley 9, George Morley 8, Isaac Westwood 6, Jamie Morley 4+1, 

The Hellingly Division 2 side was almost the same as the Division 1, but without Neil and Martyn Hollebon. The Ipswich team again was looking more than useful with the inclusion of two women’s internationals and three other riders from the Division 1 side.

Hellingly won the toss which put Steven Archer on gate 1 Heat 1. Steven went into the distance from the tapes, but after two laps, Luke Dunningham chased him down and passed him to record his first race win. 6-4 to Ipswich was the score with drama about to unfold in heat 2.

International Chloe Pearce was off gate 1 and Gemma Hill off gate 3 for Ipswich, Ethan Page on gate 2 with Isaac Westwood gate 4 for the Lions. Chloe Pearce gated and rode a clever first bend to allow Gemma Hill through to what looked like an easy 7-3. This was how the race progressed until on lap 2 entering the pit bend Ethan Page (pictured below) dived under Chloe into a gap that really was not there. He went down very heavily onto the concrete and the referee stopped the race.

After a lengthy delay to allow first aid for Ethan, he was excluded from the re-run as being the prime cause of the stoppage. Because of the severity of the fall Ethan had to withdraw from the meeting and took no further part.

Ipswich went on to record an untroubled 7-2 in the re-run. Unfortunately for Hellingly it also meant that there was to be a further four races which would be contested by a single rider.

Team spirit for the Lions was now very much on the low side, but Isaac Westwood rode a good race on his own to win in heat 8 and likewise for George Morley winning heat 11 from tapes to flag.

The Ipswich Eagles continued control of the meeting throughout, conceding only one race in heat 9 when the Ed Ridley and George Morley partnership scored a 6-4. Ipswich eventually ran out comfortable winners 92 points to 60.

The latest news on Ethan’s injury is after examination he has soft tissue and ligament damage with his leg in a splint and further tests to follow, which now brings the injury total to three for the Lions with riding staff very much in short supply.

Ethan Mitchell 17+1, Luke Dunningham 16,  Kai Gowers 14+1,Gemma Hill 11, Alex Harvey 9+2, Fraser Harris 9+2, Ben Clarke 6+2, Chloe Pearce 6+1, Charlie Jane Herbert 4+2

Steven Archer 17, Ed Ridley 14, George Morley 11, Isaac Westwood 10, Jamie Morley 6+1, Ethan Page 0 (withdrawn injured)