MATCH REPORT: Stockport cruise to victory against Sheffield
Sheffield crashed to their heaviest Northern League One defeat of the season so far, losing by 68-112 to Stockport at St Thomas Park.
The unbeaten league leaders were ruthless as they put Sheffield to the sword, providing the race winner in 17 of the 18 heats (ten of which were won with the 7-3 maximum score).
The pattern for the match was set in the very first race. Ed Morton made a rapid start to lead from grid one. Ben Higham came around the outside down the back straight and pinned Ed to the kerb on turn three, which allowed Louis Wright to pass and post the first 7-3.
With Michael Preston a no show for Stockport, it meant a promotion to a team berth for youngster Daniel Mason. He was the only rider Sheffield could regularly finish ahead of. That was until Ed relegated Devon Campbell to third in heat 13 and then gained the Stars solitary race win in heat 16 inflicting the only defeat on Terry Norman.
Stockport remain undefeated in 2017, staying two points ahead of A & T, who won at Bury. Ben and Jake Read were unbeaten, with Louis, Devon and Terry losing just the once.
Ed, Adam Watson and Sam Haines were always in the thick of the action for Sheffield. While Kielan Burton’s one ride saw him keep Devon busy for two laps, which allowed Ed the opportunity of taking a comfortable second place.
Ben Higham 19+5, Louis Wright 22, Jake Read 20+4, Devon Campbell 21+1, Daniel Mason
7+1, Terry Norman 23.
Ed Morton 16, Laura Watson 6+1, Luke Morton 10+1, Sam Haines 12+1, Adam Watson
13+1, Niamh Morton 9+1, Kielan Burton 1, Sammi Marsh 1.
It was second against fifth in the Northern League Two match. Stockport having risen to second with a 94-94 home draw against Fife Revolutions just minutes before the start of this match.
Stockport conceded 39 penalty points by having to utilise Ben Higham and Jake Read (just as they had done against Fife).
The Stars team contained just the right amount of experience as they claimed the match points by 103-86, a win that lifted Sheffield to fourth in the table.
The match started with two drawn heats before Jake and Louis Wright got the first of Stockport’s 7-3 wins in heat 3.
The platform for Sheffield’s win came through girl power in heat 4. Niamh Morton (race winner) and Sammi Marsh (third place) gaining a 6-4 win over Daniel Mason/Lance McCabe.
Five of the next seven races ended in 7-3 wins for Stockport, who led by 24 points with four heats remaining. The hosts now needed 7-3 wins in the last four races to win the match by one point.
Kielan Burton and Laura Watson secured a 5-5 drawn race in heat 12, now only a batch of exclusions could stop Sheffield. The match finished with a mark of great sportsmanship. Ben and Jake allowing Sam Haines and Kielan to post a 7-3 maximum for Sheffield.
Ben Higham 17+1, Daniel Mason 12, Jake Read 13+4, Louis Wright 20, Devon Campbell
19+1, Lance McCabe 5.
Sheffield 64+39 = 103
Sam Haines 13+1, Niamh Morton 13+1, Rob Mawhood 6+1, Sammi Marsh 7, Kielan
Burton 9+2, Laura Watson 9+1, Luke Morton 7.
Sheffield won the Northern League Three match 4-0. With Stockport unable to track any under 13s. It was left to Kielan to go through the formality of completing one lap to claim the Stars win. Actually, it was a three-lap race with Ben Higham, who pushed the Stars youngster (giving him a perfect lesson in race riding).
Report: Rob Mawhood