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Sun 30th April Battle Of Britain.  Northern v South/South Wales Astley & Tyldesley

Astley & Tyldesley hosted Round 1 of the eagerly awaited Battle of Britain series at Gin Pit on Sunday, sponsored by J.J. Harrison PVC Products, of Leigh.

The matches were ridden on a fast, dry track on a warm, but very windy day. In the Junior match, the North & Scotland got off to the best possible start with a 7-3 by the Watson/ Preston pairing over Goward/ Garnett. Two shared heats followed, before N&S slammed in two successive 7-3s to take control of the match. The South West & Wales hit back with a 7-3 of their own to the Jeffrey/ Smith pairing over Preston/ Watson. N&S then took six successive heat wins and rounded off a convincing 81-57 win, with reserves Mohammedi and Wright taking a 7-3 over Smith/ Bennett in the last race. Max Evans and Ed Morton top scored for a solid scoring N&S team, with Kaysar Mohammedi racing unbeaten from reserve. Will Jeffrey was best for the SW&W team.

Battle of Britain Junior match result:

North & Scotland 81 South West & Wales 57

North & Scotland: Max Evans 13 (1), Ed Morton 13 (1), Kaysar Mohammedi 12, Adam Watson 10 (3), Michael Preston 10, Louis Wright 9 (1), Niall Morton 9, Devon Campbell 5.

South West & Wales: Will Jeffrey 13, Callum Goward 10, Fraser Garnett 10, Callum Smith 8 (2), Sean Bennett 8, Jack Ellis 8.

Referee - Darren Kent (Heckmondwike).

In the Senior match, Damian Zareba won heat 1 in the fastest time of the day, 40.7 seconds, just 0.3 seconds outside the track record. The first two races were shared, before first blood to the North & Scotland, as Pollitt/ Read took a 7-3 over Hook and British Champion Mould. N&S edged further ahead with two more heat wins, before a dramatic heat 9. Payne was excluded for excessive force as he dived hard under Read, causing a heavy fall. N&S took a 7-2 in the re-run, to hold a 51-37 interval lead. Bristowe suffered a gate exclusion in heat 10 and a 7-3 to E. Morton/ Pollitt over Jeffrey put N&S 58-39 in the lead. The South West & Wales duly claimed inside grids for the remainder of the match and were given a lifeline in the next race. First, Higham was excluded for excessive force, then Watson moved at the gate, to gift Mould/ Hook a 7-0. N&S regained control with a 6-4 and 7-3 in the next three heats to move 81-63 ahead after heat 15. Davies/ Bristowe hit back with a 7-3 over N. Morton/ Read in the next race. Payne picked up two more exclusions - gate and ramming - in heats 17 and 19. A 7-2 heat win to the N&S reserve pair of E. Morton/ Ramsden over Jeffrey in heat 19 sealed an impressive N&S 106-86 win, before Harris won heat 20.

The racing was very competitive and hard fought throughout, with no shortage of incident. A&T duo of Reece Pollitt and Damian Zareba top scored for a solid scoring N&S team, with former European Champion Zareba losing only to Ben Mould in heat 17. Jake Read was injured in the heat 9 crash, running two last places after dropping a single point in his opening three rides. Former World Champion Steve Harris was best for the SW&W team, with three race wins. Mould also recorded three race wins, but former British Champion Zac Payne collected three exclusions.

Battle of Britain Senior match result:

North & Scotland 106 South West & Wales 86

North & Scotland: Reece Pollitt 19 (2), Damian Zareba 19, Kris Ramsden 14 (1), Ed Morton 13, Ben Higham 12 (3), Adam Watson 10 (3), Jake Read 10 (3), Niall Morton 9. South West & Wales: Steve Harris 21, Ben Mould 17, Chris Davies 11 (3), Zac Payne 11, Adam Bennett 8, Dean Hook 7 (1), Will Jeffrey 7, Will Bristowe 4 (1).

Referee - Graham Lush (Stockport).
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