MATCH REPORT: Stockport cruise to victory in Knockout Cup
The stage was set after two hard fought semi-finals left Hull, Sheffield, Stockport and Northumbria to fight it out for the Northern Knockout Cup title. Hull lined up with former double-British champion Andy Angell and British finalist Adam Stephenson in their ranks, Northumbria had super vets brothers Gavin and Michel Parr, Sheffield had three from last week’s sixth place in the Euro Club in Damian Zareba, Bobby McMilland and Kyle Holland, while Stockport had GB Junior Internationals Jake Read and Matt & Jack Lush.
So on with the first heat and the first exclusion of the match, Ryan Hoyland being controversially sent back to the pits after him and Michael Parr fell when ridden into the back of by the vet. But this was the only point in the match where Stockport were behind after Higham took second behind Stephenson. Heat two, and two races, two exclusions for Sheffield, Bobby McMillan moving at the tapes to keep Sheffield on 0. Lush won from Aylmer and Keith to level the scores between Stockport & Hull with Northumbria in third.
Heat three, and Matt Lush takes another win for Stockport, Zareba putting the Stars’ first points on the board with a second and Schofield holding Mulvey to keep Hull in contention. Gavin Parr took a good win after a beautiful last bend pass on Read in heat four, Angell tumbling on the first bend to give Owen third. Stephenson claimed his second win in heat five after Zareba fell trying to pass second place Read allowing Keith to pick up third. A nasty tumble between Michael Parr and Aylmer in heat seven saw the Newcastle man excluded, as Matt Lush beat Owen in the re-run to put Stockport five up. Heat seven saw Gavin Parr take his second win, this time from Jack Lush and Holland, while Angell beat Higham and McMillan off the gate in heat eight to keep Hull in the race, as Sheffield still tried to close the points down. But the scores at the halfway stage stood at Stockport 27, Hull 21, Northumbria 16 and Sheffield 13.
Heat nine saw Sheffield get their first heat win of the match off Hoyland ahead of Jack Lush and Wharrier after Stephenson was excluded for crossing the inside boundaries when attempting a last bend pass for the win. Heat ten and eleven saw another two wins for Sheffield, Zareba and McMillan winning to help Sheffield pass Northumbria, as Gavin Parr and Read took the seconds from Higham and Schofield. Heat twelve gave Angell his second win as he went round Hoyland, who held onto second ahead of Matt Lush. With just four races remaining, Stockport looked certain for victory on 37, while Sheffield had caught up on Hull with the two tied on 28, ahead of Northumbria’s 23.
Stephenson put Hull three up on the Stars with a win in heat thirteen as McMillan finished behind Matt Lush and Gavin Parr, while an all-action heat fourteen saw Mulvey excluded after first hitting Aylmer off the track, before riding himself and Holland into the pits fence. In the restart, Read won from Holland and Aylmer to put Stockport 8 up and close Sheffield’s deficit on Hull to 2. However, Schofield won from Owen and Eaton to change that gap back to 3 with a heat remaing, leaving Sheffield now hoping for a miracle. However, they failed to get one as Angell won off his gate one from Zareba and Jack Lush to leave the final scores at Stockport 48, Hull 42, Sheffield 38 and Northumbria 27.
Stockport were deserve winners as they scored solidly throughout, Matt Lush and Jake Read joint-top scoring with Jack Lush just one below, the young side only finishing outside the top two once in a race. Hull’s Andy Angell and Adam Stephenson both scored highly, Angell also joint-top scoring while Stephenson was unbeaten except for the exclusion. Sheffield were left rueing the early exclusions and mistakes after scoring 15 points off their gate ones, with Hoyland, Zareba & Owen being most impressive. Northumbria were forced to rely too much on Gavin Parr aftr his brother Michael was injured in a crash as no one else managed to finish in the top two of a race.
Matt Lush 13 (4), Jake Read 13 (4), Jack Lush 12 (4), Ben Higham 8 (3), Chris Eaton 2 (1)
Andy Angell 13 (4), Adam Stephenson 12 (4), Sam Schofield 9 (4), Lewis Aylmer 8 (4), Nathan Everett DNR
Damian Zareba 11 (4), Aiden Owen 8 (3), Ryan Hoyland 7 (3), Bobby McMillan 7 (4), Kyle Holland 5 (2)
Gavin Parr 13 (4), Jason Keith 6 (4), Daniel Wharrier 4 (3), Michael Parr 2 (2), Mark Mulvey 2 (3)
Referee: Owen Farrell
Andy Angell 16 (4), Adam Stephenson 15 (4), Sam Schofield 8 (3), Lewis Aylmer 5 (3), Nathan Everett 3 (2)
Damian Zareba 15 (4), Bobby McMillan 13 (4), Kyle Holland 11 (4), Ryan Hoyland 7 (3), Mick Knowles 1 (1)
Chris Parish 12 (4), Ben Scranage 9 (3), Kristian Ramsden 7 (4), Neil Howarth 5 (3), Will Owens 4 (2)
Mikey Hewitson 12 (4), Marcin Czarkowski 5 (4), Kamil Greszla 5 (4), Neil Swanson 4 (4), Mark Lee DNR
Referee: Bill Phillips
Chris Eaton 14 (4), Matt Lush 11 (3), Ben Higham 11 (3), Jake Read 10 (3), Jack Lush 6 (3)
Gavin Parr 10 (3), Daniel Wharrier 10 (4), Mark Mulvey 8 (3), Michael Parr 7 (3), Jason Keith 7 (3)
Pawel Idzioreck 14 (4), Darren Kent 9 (4), Justin Naylor 6 (4), Will Naylor 4 (4)
Astley & Tyldesley 32
Reece Pollitt 12 (4), Joe Allen 9 (4), Ciaran Collins 6 (4), Max Evans 5 (4)
Referee: Andy Schofield
The Junior Knockout Cup match looked likely to be a juicy affair, and after the first four heats, that looked to be proven, as Bury and Sheffield were drawn on 14 points, the Comets off their ones and the Stars off their threes with two heat winners and runners up apiece, while Hull followed on 7 as Edinburgh had 5. However, Sheffield took full advantage of their gate ones to win three of the next four, claiming a second place in the other, to put themselves on 29 points, Bury taking 10 points off their gate fours to put themselves on 24, while Edinburgh had pulled the points back on Hull to put them on 14, Hull on 13.
Sheffield were only able to claim 11 points off their gate twos, but extended their lead over Bury to 6, as Edinburgh and Hull tried to close the gap, moving up to 25 and 21 points respectively. Off their gate fours, however, Sheffield once again claimed 14 points to finish on 54 points, as Bury claimed 8 to finish on 42, and Edinburgh and Hull’s scrap for third place saw them finish on 35 and 28 points.
For the winning side, Adam Watson, Kyle Holland & Aiden Owen lost only to Will Owens as the Stars succeeded in only finishing outside the top two in a race twice. For Bury, Will Owens and Danny Taylor were the standout riders, Owens only failing to get his maximum after tumbling with Niall Morton when attempting to pass him. Mark Lee was Edinburgh’s only heat winner, as was Nathan Everett for Hull.
Adam Watson 15 (4), Niall Morton 12 (4), Kyle Holland 11 (3), Ed Morton 9 (3), Aiden Owen 7 (2)
Will Owens 14 (4), Danny Taylor 14 (4), James Elston 9 (4), Adam Turnbull 4 (3), Lewis Turner 1 (1)
Mark Lee 11 (4), Douglas Morgan 8 (4), Ewan Kennedy 8 (4), Ciaran Swanson 8 (4)
Nathan Everett 8 (4), Rob Stockton-Garner 7 (4), Josh Bellis 6 (4), Katie Greaves 4 (4)
Referee: Darren Kent
Many thanks to Niall Morton for this well written and thorough report.