Poole v Leicester
Event: 24th July 2011
Report: Graham Sutton
This match featured two talented and evenly matched teams, a healthy Harbourside crowd and a last heat decider after 18 hotly contested races – in fact this was everything that the Premier League should be!
There were some fascinating exchanges in the early heats as Thomas Reed twice showed World Champion Lukas Nowacki the quickest way around the track and when Greg Gluchowski gated Marcus Wadhams two to one in heat 6 for the second of four race wins, the Midlanders knew they were in for a battle if they were to keep their title aspirations alive. It got better for Poole in heat 7 when Adam Peck moved on gate 2 leaving Arron Morgan and the reliable Reed to fully capitalise with a 7-2 and a 36-33 lead.
Leicester restored their two point advantage in the very next heat however with a 7-2 of their own after Pawel Cegielski got his marching orders and a 6-4 in heat 9 gave them a four point advantage as the interval scoreline read Poole 42, Leicester 46. Straight after the break there was more tough action as Tom Colling came down under pressure from Kev Burns resulting in the Leicester skipper’s exclusion. Gluchowski gated Wadhams four to one in the re-start with Colling settling for two points to make it a one point margin, 48-49.
Chris Roberts outpaced the Peck/Ashford pairing to share heat 11 then in a remarkable heat 12, hot Poole prospect Morgan caught Waddams unawares to win the heat and Reed finally outwitted Marchant on the dash to the line for a vital third place, giving the home side a slender one point lead 59-58. Nowacki suffered his third defeat of the match in heat 13 as Gluchowski made no mistakes from gate 1 but Glover was unable to find a way past Jarvis at the back.
Leon Yelland had already proved his worth in heats 4 and 9 with well executed overtakes for third places and he did better in heat 14 by outpacing Cegielski with Ashford taking the all important third ahead of Colling. Poole missed a trick in heat 15 by not putting Roberts off gate 1 allowing Peck to gate clear of Colling for a 5-5 from outside grids, moving the score to 73-74. Reed was unable to make a pass on a dogged Wadhams in heat 16 and with Jarvis holding off the persistant Matt Mildon, the Leicester lead was back to three points.
With two heat wins to his credit, the excellent Morgan was trusted with gate 1 in the penultimate heat and he did not disappoint but clever first bend tactics from Peck and Marchant relegated Cegielski and gave the visitors another 5-5 making it 82-85 with Nowacki lined up for a gate 1 in heat 18. Fast gating Gluchowski almost gated his fellow countryman from grid 2 at the first and unsatisfactory attempt but the World champion responded to the wake-up call and made no mistakes in the re-start. With Ashford rounding off a fine team effort with his fifth third place, Leicester clinched the two league points they needed to maintain their title challenge.
With Pete Young unavailable and Aaron House sidelined by a serious leg injury picked up in mid-week training, Poole will consider this to be two points lost but Leicester could point to the absence of Phil Howells and Adam Stevenson in reply although they were able to draft in vastly more experienced replacements which probably tipped the balance in their favour.
Finally a word of praise for referee Terry Ashford for a five star performance and a similar rating for both sets of riders who once again justified that well worn cliche – cycle speedway was the real winner!
Poole 86: Greg Gluchowski 19, Thomas Reed 16, Arron Morgan 14, Chris Roberts 12, Tom Colling 12, Pawel Cegielski 7, Leyton Glover 4, Matt Mildon 2.
Leicester 91: Marcus Wadhams 17, Lukas Nowacki 17, Carl Jarvis 13, Adam Peck 13, Craig Marchant 10, Jason Ashford 10, Leon Yelland 8, Kev Burns 3.
Referee – Terry Ashford
The Division 2 match provided another close encounter which went to a last heat decider with both sides mixing a blend of youth and experience. Leicester strengthened their title credentials with a hard fought victory but having built up an 11 point margin in the early stages, they were made to fight all the way as Poole mounted a recovery and it tokk a 6-4 from Nicky Whitehead and Mick Skinner to secure the league points.
Poole 61: Chris Shylock 14, Dave Murphy 14, Sam Hearn 14, Will Bristow 7, Luke Armes 6, Aaron Smith 6.
Leicester 67: Nicky Whitehead 18, Mick Skinner 14, Charlie Cooper 13, Ashley Doughty 8, Matt Hartshorne 7 Charlie Cooper 7.
Referee – Chris Morgan