Young Aussies too hot for GB
AUSTRALIA'S young guns proved too hot to handle for their Great Britain counterparts at a packed Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night.The men from Down Under put behind them a sticky start to the meeting, to deservedly come through for a 14-point victory, as Ipswich put on its first Test Match for many years.
AUSTRALIA'S young guns proved too hot to handle for their Great Britain counterparts at a packed Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night.
The men from Down Under put behind them a sticky start to the meeting, to deservedly come through for a 14-point victory, as Ipswich put on its first Test Match for many years.
Britain's under-25 side were not helped with the pre-meeting withdrawals of home favourite Danny King (injured) and Eastbourne's Lewis Bridger, who broke down en route.
It made a huge difference to the strength of the British team, and despite taking an early eight-point lead, the British youngsters couldn't hold on.
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To cap a tough night for Great Britain, Ben Barker blew an engine after two victories and never scored another point, while James Wright pulled out of the meeting after a nasty heat 11 crash.
All eyes were focussed on Australian Darcy Ward, the world under-21 champion, but he didn't set Foxhall alight, while new Grand Prix star Chris Holder also endured a mixed evening.
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But it mattered not with the Aussies stronger in depth than the Brits who, in Tai Woffinden at least had one of the men of the night.
The meeting got off to the worst possible start for the Aussies, outgated and conceding a 5-1 maximum after Holder spun round on turn three and was hit by team-mate Ward.
Holder was excluded, but the 5-1 maximum from Edward Kennett and Barker was repeated in the re-run.
Belle Vue's Wright won heat two and Great Britain's fine start continued with Barker flying round the outside in the next race to head Rory Schlein, with Chris Schramm picking up a vital third place.
Tai Woffinden made it four straight GB wins as the home youngsters took an eight-point lead and GB boss Rob Lyon got just the start he would have wanted.
But the young Aussies soon hit back, Holder winning heat five and then taking advantage of a huge dose of bad luck for Great Britain, with Barker's engine exploding on the line and Kennett getting all out of shape when in second place, gifting the Aussies a 5-1.
It was now just 19-17 in GB's favour but that score levelled up in an exciting heat eight which saw Ward and Wright battle neck-and-neck for second place, with the young Brit holding on for the points.
Australia were now in the ascendancy and it was clearly going to be tough for the Great Britain team to hold on.
Schramm made a hash of the second turn, impeding partner Wright, as the Aussies took the lead for the first time in the meeting, Proctor again to the fore for the Australians.
The British team badly needed to hit back, but it didn't happen, despite all of Kennett's efforts to pass Cameron Woodward, Australia scored a second consecutive 5-1 maximum.
They had turned an eight-point deficit into an eight-point lead in the space of just six heats.
There was an awful moment in heat 11 as leader Holder caught the fourth bend air-fence, but then shot straight across the track, colliding with the unfortunate Wright on the home straight.
It was an ugly crash and Holder was understandably concerned. But thankfully Wright got back to his feet, even if rather groggily.
Woffinden won the re-run as Britain pulled the score back to 36-30 in the Aussies' favour.
Kennett won heats 12 and 13, but Britain made no in-roads as the Aussies saw the meeting out to gain victory, despite a heroic effort from Schramm in heat 14, as he scrapped with Gathercole.
Great Britain: E Kennett 12, B Barker 5+1, R/R, C Schramm 2, T Woffinden 11, J Wright 6, J Haines 2.
Australia: C Holder 4+1, D Ward 5, R Schlein 11+1, C Woodward 6+2, T Batchelor 13, T Proctor 9+2, C Gathercole 4+3.