Birmingham Monarchs travel to the picturesque setting of Harbourside Park this Sunday as they take on Poole in the BCTG Elite League.
The Monarchs are looking to bounceback from defeat to Sheffield in the opening fixture of the season as Poole won their meeting at Ipswich and will be looking to keep the 100% record going.
Poole looked strong winning by twenty points at Whitton Church Lane as their Polish pairing of Szymanski and Gulowski rattled up 35 points between them as they also had good back up from Harris, Wheeler, Morgan and Glover. Poole have a depth of quality which was also shown in their combination fixture against the Suffolk side as they won 71-57.
Birmingham last time out lost by twenty points to Sheffield but manager Mark Winwood and the rest of the side can take heart from the performance of the side after the interval as they kept pace with the Stars and if not for a couple of tape exclusions would of been closer if not maybe snatching victory. Timms was top scorer last time out as Nathan Groves also got into double figures for the Monarchs as the rest of the side also scored well to keep the Midland side in contention. The combination side found it difficult against a strong Sheffield second side but the youngsters are continuing to show progress with Ewan Hancox claiming ten points and Dylan Hexley with six.
Last year Birmingham travelled down to the Dorset coast in September hoping to keep their title hopes alive after a great start to the season. The Midlanders looked strong with Heard, Timms and Wadhams in the lineup with Scott Millward, Nathan Groves and Jack Harrold ready to back up the local trio. The meeting was close all the way but Poole nicked the victory with Thomas Reed top scoring for them but the fixture was marred by an incident which gave a match ban to Mark Winwood which would then last till the end of the season.
Winwood will be hoping for a quieter afternoon this time round as he looks to his lineup for the weekend. Chris Timms will be back from his exploits in Poland last weekend and the Newport duo of Nicky Evans and Kieron Jones will no doubt be looking to make the trip over. It is still unclear if Scott Millward will be riding, the Dudley based racer is still recovering from a hand injury and so may have to miss the journey down.
Poole will have an abundance of riders to fill the places in the first and second teams as they hope to carry on their winning ways. England International Steve Harris will no doubt be in the lineup, the ex Horspath man had a good start to the Elite with 10 points at Ipswich. Pete Barnes will probably call on the services of Szymanski and Gulowski as well as Leyton Glover and possibly Thomas Reed who was top scorer the last time the two sides met. Last year in the combination Poole easily won 91-49 as Birmingham only tracked five riders due to unavailabilty to some of the regular second team riders. Birmingham should be able to field a full lineup this time though and try to push Poole all the way in the Combination.
LAST YEARS SCORES
Poole 87: Reed 19, Ar.Smith 17, Glover 12, Sidwick 10, Nowak 9+2, Hearn 9, Donohue 7+1, Shylock 4
Monarchs 82: Harrold 15+1, Wadhams 15, Groves 12+2, C.Timms 12+1, Heard 12+1, Millward 10, Winwood 4, P.Timms 2
Birmingham deducted 4 points for match ban – score adjusted 87-78
Ref: Robin Spicer
Poole 91: Al.Lane 18+2, Hanmer 14, Instone 12+2, C.Smith 12, Briggs 9+1, S.Lane 7+2, K.Mines 5+1
Birmingham 49: Millward 13+2, P.Timms 12+1, Widdas 9, Re.Winwood 8, Ry.Winwood 4
Birmingham given 14 pen pts
Ref: Mike Legge