MATCH REPORT: Stars secure rare Redbraes victory
The Stars travelled to the Redbraes Raceway knowing they had to do something a Sheffield side had never done before (win a first team match at Edinburgh) if they were to claw themselves away from the bottom of North and Scotland League Division One.
The Falcons have been beset by injuries as they have defended the Championship they won in 2016, losing the influential Craig Newsome after a spill at Astley last week. Sheffield took full advantage of the patched up Falcons, creating history with a 92-88 victory. Which in the process completed a ‘speedway double’ for the Steel City over the Scottish capital, Sheffield Tigers having won at the Edinburgh Monarchs on Friday evening.
The Stars win was built around the heat leader trio of Niall Morton, Adam Watson and Ed Morton, who won 10 races between them. Niall started the ball rolling, winning the first race as he inflicted the only defeat of the match on home captain Mikey Hewitson.
The teams then traded 6-4 heat results over the next five races (eventually twelve of the eighteen races ended in 6-4 results – is this some sort of record ?), as the Falcons opened up a 31-29 lead.
Heat 7 saw Sheffield move into the lead as Niall/Laura Watson gained a 7-3 victory, after Kamil Grezla slid off on a surface made greasy by steady rain. With only Mikey Hewitson winning a race for the Falcons over the next eight heats, Sheffield were in a comfortable 74-66 lead with four heats remaining.
Mikey then teamed up with Jake Slight for Edinburgh’s only 7-3 heat result, halving the Stars lead to just four points. Jake and Mikey lined up for the Falcons again in heat 17. However, Adam, managed to split the pairing as the Edinburgh duo got the Falcons back to within two points with a 6-4 heat advantage.
Ed powered away from grid one to win the final race and the match, with Luke Morton claiming third place to give Sheffield a four point win. Mikey was brilliant for the Falcons, losing to Niall in that very first race, but only Jake and Kamil could gain a solitary race win each.
Niall had his best match of the season for Sheffield, while Laura chipped in with an important race win in heat 7 to complement the wins by Adam and Ed. With Hull and Northumbria suffering heavy defeats, it means Sheffield will avoid the bottom two places this year. If Edinburgh can win at Bury next weekend then they will finish third in the table.
Jake Slight 15+1, Lee Lawrence 2, Gavin Kennedy 16, Ewan Kennedy 7, Douglas Morgan 7, Kamil Grezla 14, Neil McPherson 5+2, Mikey Hewitson 22+1.
Niall Morton 22+1, Laura Watson 11, Adam Watson 21, Luke Morton 10+1,Ed Morton 20, Sam Haines 8, Niamh Morton DNR, Kielan Burton DNR
Referee – EWAN TULLOCH
For the second away match running, Sheffield had been able to travel with only five League Two riders. With England Junior International Ed Morton taking the number one race jacket, the Stars gave away a 20-point start to the Falcons.
Race wins for Gavin Kennedy (2) and Douglas Morgan in the early heats made sure Edinburgh kept an 8-point lead, by 54-46, at the interval. The Stars came out for the second half all fired up. Outscoring the Falcons by 20-9 in the first three second half races, as they went into the lead by 66-63.
A tapes exclusion for Gav Kennedy in heat 11 proving pivotal to Sheffield going in front. The Falcons hit back with a 6-4 from Lee Lawrence/Douglas Morgan in heat 12, leaving just one point in the match.
Ewan Kennedy won heat 13, with Niamh Morton/Laura Watson ensuring a 5-5 drawn heat. Sam Haines won his third race in heat 14, with Kielan Burton in third place for a Stars 6-4 (leaving Sheffield three up with one race to go).
Ed won the final race, to complete an unbeaten score, and with Luke Morton slotting into third place the Stars had a 6-4 (their ninth heat advantage) to seal the league points by 87-82. The result moved Sheffield above Edinburgh in the League Two table.
Ewan Kennedy 12, Ciaran Leslie 5, Gavin Kennedy 12, Skye Mitchell 7, Lee Lawrence 11+1, Douglas Morgan 15.
Ed Morton 19+1, Sam Haines 16+1, Laura Watson 11+2, Niamh Morton 13+2, Luke Morton 15+1, Kielan Burton 13+1.
The under 13s League Three match was won by Edinburgh’s Fledgling Falcons by 24-16. All the Sheffield points scored by Kielan, who was unbeaten for the 13th match in a row. Just three matches left (all at home) to see if Kielan could be the first rider to go unbeaten for the entire season. Sam was unbeaten in nine matches in 2015, before injury ended his season. In 2014, James Bunting lost just once in twelve matches.