What started out as a decent match turned into a farce with successive heats being 7-0 walkovers to the visitors.
The match started well enough with four drawn heats but a well taken Mould/Wheeler in the sixth saw the Aces take the initiative.
The eight was the turning point, Stephenson found himself on his own off the outside grid after Peck was excluded for a tapes offence, The Monarch tried the outside run on Jewkes but quite rightly CJ attempted to make a gap for his partner, Stephenson thought that he had been left little room but the referee saw things differently and excluded Stephenson for use of the leg. A further 7-3 before the interval and the Aces were clearly on top.
Heat thirteen was another disaster for the Monarchs, Ashford and Pike being both excluded at the start. The following heat was much the same, Peck picking up his second tapes offence and Whitehead following suit. However this time the exclusion was for delaying the start after the rider has raised his hand before starter’s orders to indicate he wasn’t ready, referee Whiting deciding that this was not acceptable.
The home side of the pits let their feelings be known after this decision. The referee then took the unusual step of issuing a public warning, via the announcer, that he would be quite willing to exclude the entire Leicester team should they not mend their ways.
There is no doubt that Wednesfield deserved the win and even without the 6-0 exclusion count they would have taken the points, however as a spectacle for Sky TV, well, It just wasn’t.
Gavin Wheeler was sharp from the tapes and despite coming under pressure a couple of times never seriously looked like being beaten. His team mates backed him up well with young Matt Haddock making a couple of good passes to underline his talent.
Only Marchant and Stephenson can be happy with their performance from the Monarchs camp. To be competitive in the EL teams it’s increasingly obvious that teams must field their top riders, and the Leicester team has not been able to do so this season.
The conclusion taken from this match can only be that it was a poor advert for the sport. If we are to be taken seriously by the outside world our sport needs to look at ways of providing four rider races as opposed to trying to find ways of sending them back to the pits before they have even started.
Leicester 71 (A Stephenson 14, C Marchant 12+3, D Pike 10, A Peck 9, K Burns 9+1, M Whitehead 7, J Ashford 6+1, N Whitehead 4)
Wednesfield 100 (G Wheeler 20, C Jewkes 16+2, R Johnston 15+1, B Mould 13+2, L Aris 11+1, M Griffiths 9, M Haddock 9, S Doherty 7+2)
A much better advert for the sport, the Aces were clearly better on the day but the racing was always close and interesting.
Leicester 57 (N Venson 11, A Doughty 9+3)
Wednesfield 70 (S Parr 15, J Holdcroft 15+1)