MATCH REPORT: Yorkshire win Jeff Layden “Roses” meeting
The return of the ‘War of the Roses’ saw Yorkshire defeat Greater Manchester by 93-86 at Heckmondwike for the Jeff Layden Cup. The roses rivalry has been revived in honour of the former Heckmondwike president, who sadly passed away last December.
Jeff was the instigator for the Roses matches back in the early eighties, and this was a fitting tribute to remember him by. Son David and grandson Chris were present to hand out the trophies to the riders, plus the cup to winning captain Andy Angell. Both teams selected a mixture of youth and experience, with the Yorkshire side looking the stronger as it featured Sheffield Elite League riders Andy Angell, Pawel Idziorek and Bobby McMillan. The opening race saw the Hull pairing of Andy Angell/Sam Schofield secure a 6-4 advantage over Chris Parrish and Reece Pollitt. A drawn heat followed before Greater Manchester went into the lead with a 7-3 from Ben Higham/Ben Scrannage over Darren Kent/Jason Burke (both of whom rode in the original fixtures). Yorkshire hit straight back with their own 7-3, with McMillan joining Richard Hudson for the maximum score over Parrish and Joe Pickford. Adam Stephenson won heat 5, with Pollitt preventing a maximum by gaining a good second place over Schofield. Yorkshire moved into a six point lead (by 33-27) with a further 6-4 in heat 6 from McMillan/Kent over Terry Norman/Jack Lush.
The next five races finished all square, highlights being a good ride from Danny Taylor in heat 8, Pollitt keeping Kent at bay in heat 10 and a tremendous ride from Adam Watson in heat 11, as he came from last to pass both Scrannage and Higham (with McMillan going the other way). Heats 12 and 13 were both 6-4 wins for Yorkshire, who now led by 70-60. Yorkshire were on for a match winning 7-3 in heat 15 until Higham made a good pass on Stephenson and the race was drawn, with the white rose still leading by ten. Schofield then showed why he had been selected. A terrific race 16 win over Norman and Parrish put Yorkshire on 85 points with two races to go. Heat 17 saw the only exclusion of the match, a very unfortunate one for Adam Watson for slowing the race. Match referee Rob Mawhood was maybe a little too quick to invoke the disqualification, as there ended up being no change to the race order. The 6-3 advantage didn’t make a difference to the match result, with Yorkshire leading by seven with just one race remaining.
The Tykes pairing for the last race were Heckmondwike’s Idziorek and Kent. Pawel sealing a white rose win with an electrifying pass on Scrannage at the second attempt. The match was a good advert for todays racing, to the riders credit it didn’t contain the often fierce and brutal nature of racing in the 1980’s when the likes of Serbert, Rothwell, Dyson, Blair, Gamble and Clarke featured for Yorkshire, while Lancashire called on Garnett, Watchman, Ogden, Eaton, Bowden, Greenhalgh and Whiting. The main winner on the night was the memory of Jeff Layden, and he would have been pleased and proud with the efforts of Watson, Hudson, Schofield, Taylor, Pickford and Pollitt as the youngsters rubbed shoulders with their illustrious elders. The aim for next season is to have the fixture over two legs, with hopefully the inclusion of an Under 16’s match as well.
Yorkshire – Pawel Idziorek 16(4), Andy Angell 13+1(4), Adam Stephenson 13(4), Bobby McMillan 12+1 (4), Richard Hudson 11(4), Sam Schofield 10(3), Jason Burke 6+1 (4),Darren Kent 6(4), Adam Watson 6(4).
Greater Manchester – Ben Scrannage 15+2(5), Jack Lush 13(5), Chris Parrish 12+2(5), Terry Norman 11+1 (4), Reece Pollitt 10+1(5), Ben Higham 9+2(4), Joe Pickford 8+1(4), Danny Taylor 8(4).