MATCH REPORT: Two wins and a draw for Sheffield

Sheffield Stars welcomed Niall Morton back for this North and Scotland League One match against Edinburgh Falcons, a team Niall is likely to be racing for in 2019 while studying at Edinburgh University. Niall’s presence inspired the Stars to collect their first point of the 2018 season after a creditable draw, the teams finishing even on 90 points.

Edinburgh edged into a two-point lead in heat 3, with a 6-4 from Mikey Hewitson/Lewis Foxley (Foxley making a good inside pass on Laura Watson on lap 2). Sheffield then went in front by two, after a 7-3 maximum win from Adam Watson/Kielan Burton, in heat 4. The Stars youngster making a big outside swoop to pass both Dode Mitchell and Jason Keith on the second lap.

The scores were back level after heat 5, another Falcons 6-4 from Jake Slight/Archie McPherson. The next four races each finished shared at 5-5, Hewitson taking two fine wins, while Slight lost for the only time in the match (to Ed Morton). The teams traded 6-4’s in heats 12 & 14, with Sheffield going into the lead only for the Falcons to bring the scores back level. Heat 13 produced a tremendous race, but still the scores remained level. Luke Morton going from fourth to first, back to fourth within 40 metres.

Hewitson scorched to his fifth race win in heat 14, the scores still even at 70 each. Heat 15 looked like a big turning point, the Falcons gaining their only seven point maximum score from Slight/Foxley. Putting Edinburgh four points up with the three nominated races to come. Sheffield responded with a massive result in heat 16, Niall and Ed Morton securing a 7-3 maximum over the previously unbeaten Hewitson to level the scores again at 80 each.

Slight won heat 17, which was shared 5-5 (Luke Morton/Burton holding out Mitchell). Adam Watson won the final race, which became the eleventh 5-5 drawn heat (McPherson and Keith keeping Laura Watson in last place). Both teams have daunting tasks in their next matches. The Falcons host runaway leaders Astley at Redbraes, while Sheffield visit Stockport (whom they last beat at League One level in 2004).

Sheffield 90
Luke Morton 12+2, Adam Watson 18+3, Laura Watson 7+1, Niall Morton 20, Ed Morton 21+1, Kielan Burton 12+1.

Edinburgh 90
Jake Slight 21+2, Dode Mitchell 8, Archie McPherson 15+2, Jason Keith 13+2, Lewis Foxley 11, Mikey Hewitson 22.

Referee – Rob Mawhood

Sheffield won the League two fixture by 78-72, a victory that puts them tied in first place with Fife and Astley on 8 league points. The Stars behind on race points difference, which is significantly inferior to the top two (Sheffield have also ridden more matches).

The match started with three draw heats, Sheffield claiming first blood in heat 4 with a maximum 7-3 from a first race win at this level for Steven Webber (ably assisted by Jack Brownell). Edinburgh levelled the scores by taking a 7-3 maximum in heat 5, Lexis Foxley/Dode Mitchell easily accounting for Laura Watson/Rob Mawhood.

The deadlock was broken in heat 7, Watson making a great assisted ride to help Joe Brownell, as Sheffield recorded a second 7-3 race maximum to lead by 37-33. Lewis Foxley and Paul Kelly each got their second race wins in heats 8 and 9. Sheffield’s third 7-3 maximum came in heat 10 from Kielan Burton/Luke Morton, a result that put the Stars ahead by 54-46.

The Falcons were in prime position for a maximum 7-3 in heat 12, until Mawhood arrived late to pip Alaisdair Foxley by a tyres width. The resulting 6-4 for the Falcons reducing the deficit to six points. Paul Kelly completed an excellent match for the Falcons by winning heat 14, his fourth win in a 19-point haul.

Lewis Foxley completed his unbeaten score by winning heat 15, the tenth time a Falcon had won a race, but with Burton and Watson safe in second and third spot the league points had been secured by Sheffield. ​

Sheffield 78
Kielan Burton 15+2, Steven Webber 14+1, Laura Watson 13+3, Edward Balfour 5, Rob Mawhood 8+2, Jack Brownell 9+1, Luke Morton 3+1, Joe Brownell 3, James Morris 4.

Edinburgh 72
Lewis Foxley 19+1, James Foxley 7, Dode Mitchell 15, Ben Foxley 5, Alisdair Foxley 7, Paul Kelly 19.

Referee – Dave Shoat

Sheffield won the League Three match (for under 13’s) by 49-21, taking Sheffield above Fife into to fourth place. The Falcons remain league leaders, after gaining a losing point, and will face second placed Astley in the next fixture.

Jack Brownell recorded a sublime four-ride maximum, with some strong starts. James Morris and Joe Brownell also recording a race win each for the Stars. For Edinburgh James Foxley managed two race wins, losing to Jack Brownell.

Sheffield 49
Jack Brownell 16, James Morris 12, Joe Brownell 11, Edward Balfour 10.

Edinburgh 21
James Foxley 13, Ben Foxley 8.

Referee – Dave Shoat

Photo by George Swanson.