MATCH REPORT: Honours even between Sheffield and Coventry
The honours were shared when Sheffield raced an Inter-City Challenge Match against the Coventry Sabres at Cookson Park. The Stars winning the first team match, with the Sabres cutting down a youthful Stars in the second team match.
Both teams featured guest riders from Stockport in the first team match. Ben Higham and Devon Campbell lining up in the Stars orange colours, with Jake Read in the sky blue of Coventry.
Ben making an immediate impact, as he teamed up with Nigel Howard for a 7-3 maximum in heat 1 over Jake. Jake had led from the tapes, but in drifting Ben wide on the first turn, he was passed by Nigel. Ben then came through with a forceful pass on lap two.
Devon Campbell made a great pass on Kyle Barlow in heat 3 as the Stars led by 18-12. An eventful heat 4 had the points shared 5-5, Ed Morton coasting to the second of five impressive race wins. All the action was behind Ed, with first Nigel passing Matt Lawrence on turn 1 of lap three, only for Matt to repay the compliment on the exit of turn 2.
The Sabres then reduced the deficit to 24-26 with a 7-3 race win for Jake and Sam Hardie, Adam Watson starting from 15 metres back after movement at the tapes. Sheffield restored the six-point advantage with another 7-3 from the Ben/Nigel pairing.
Kyle and Matt bagged a big 7-3 for Coventry in heat 9, bringing the scores to 47-43. With the next three races ending shared 5-5 results, we approached the final three races with just four points separating the teams. Sam Hardie led from the tapes, but fell victim of the wide Cookson Bowl as Nigel came through the gap he left in drifting Ben to the outside.
Nigel went on to win the race with Ben passing Sam on lap three to give the Stars duo a 20 point return (out of 21) from their three races together. Sheffield then sealed victory with a 7-3 from Ed and Devon in heat 14, Devon having forced his way past both Ben Wells and Kyle Barlow. Jake won the final race, for his second race win, but the points were shared as Ben and Adam relegated Dan Drewett to fourth place.
Ben Higham 13+3, Nigel Howard 15, Adam Watson 12+1, Devon Campbell 12+3, Sam Haines 5, Ed Morton 20, Laura Watson 3, Niamh Morton DNR.
Jake Read 16+1, Jake Slatter 3, Sam Hardie 13, Matt Lawrence 14+3, Dan Drewett 7+1, Kyle Barlow 13, Ben Wells 4.
Ref – ROB MAWHOOD
Heavy rain during the interval made for wet conditions as the teams lined up for the second match. Ben Wells took heat 1 for the Sabres, with Sheffield’s GB ladies pair of Laura Watson/Niamh Morton making it a shared heat by relegating Tom Savage to fourth place (this would be Tom’s only loss to a Stars rider in the match).
The more experienced Coventry septet then raced into a 31-19 lead, with 7-3 race maximums in three of the next four heats. Laura and Niamh stopped the rot by gaining the Stars only 7-3 race win in heat 6. Coventry though hit back immediately. James Chattin and Owen Gregory with their second maximum score, both remaining unbeaten from three races each.
Coventry confirmed their dominance after taking the maximum score in four of the remaining eight heats, running out comfortable winners by 90-60. Niamh, Kielan and Laura provided the five Stars race wins, which meant only Kyle Barlow was unbeaten for Coventry (albeit from just two starts).
Logan Perkins (much like Sam Haines in the first match) was deserving of a bigger score for his efforts for Sheffield. All of the Coventry team gained a race win, only exception being James Chattin (but he had three assisted wins), in a solid scoring display.
Laura Watson 10+2, Niamh Morton 16, Kielan Burton 12, Sammi Marsh 5, Alice Unwin 3, Logan Perkins 7, Jack Brownell 2, Steven Webster 3, Joe Brownell 1.
Ben Wells 17+2, Tom Savage 15+2, Owen Gregory 18, James Chattin 13+4, Lee Gregory 12+3, Jake Slatter 8, Kyle Barlow 7+1.
REF – DAVE SHOAT
Members from both teams then attended the Sheffield Arena for the Steelers v Coventry Blaze Elite League Ice Hockey match, the Steelers winning 5-2 to make for a Steel City 2-1 over the Godiva City. Both teams gaining a shout out from the Steelers promotion, who had assisted in providing discounted tickets for the clubs.
Photo by Paul Devine.