MATCH REPORT: Lions raid the Hawks nest
The Memorial Playing Fields Hethersett was the venue for the East South/Eastern Div 2 league encounter between Hethersett Hawks and Hellingly Lions. After a 3-4 hour journey from the Sussex Coast, the Lions were greeted with hazy sunshine but still very warm and a track dry and dusty but looking very fast. Once again, as with most teams, Hethersett was dramatically short on riders with at least two members unavailable. The Lions also were also without the services of Jim Cox, so a stroll in the park was not envisaged.
The meeting began and as foresee the first five races were all shared 5-5 drawn heats bringing the match score to 25 – 25. At this point, it was apparent to all that the Hethersett Hawks young newcomer Charlie Lyth could be a star for the future; he’d already had two good heat wins under his belt by defeating experienced campaigners Martyn Hollebon and Steven Archer. Charlie went on to score a massive 23pts for Hethersett and his only defeat being inflicted by the Lions young Harry Sexton in heat 13.
Heat 6. With the match score all even Hellingly elected to use tactical reserve Neil Hollebon in an attempt to take command of the meeting. The race took three attempts to just make it around the first bend, with Glyn Morgan for the Hawks proving to be no pushover from gate 1. Neil Hollebon eventually got the better of Glyn with Steven Archer securing third place for a 6-4 heat win. Not quite what the Lions were expecting but nevertheless it was a two-point advantage.
Heat 7, With the evergreen Ed Ridley demonstrating his vast experience from the tapes and partner George Morley riding a clever first corner, the Hellingly pair went on to secure the first maximum heat win to extend the Lions lead by 6pts.
Two more drawn heats brought the scores to Hethersett 42 Hellingly 48 and with the atmosphere a little tense in the Lions side of the pits, the arrival of the interval was welcomed.
First race after the break and it appeared that the Hawks by no means were about to throw in the towel as Dan Longlands and Glyn Morgan thumped in an easy 7-3 max from gates 1-3 over Steven Archer and Harry Sexton due to the Lions pair impeding each other at the first bend.
Heat 11. This heat brought Charlie Lyth’s fourth win from four outings to brought the score to 54 – 56 to the Lions with the final outcome by no means clear cut at this stage.
Heats 12 & 13 jointly became the pivotal heats in the meeting with Martyn Hollebon and George Morley securing a 6-4 heat win from the outside gates in race 12.
Heat 13. Not to be outdone, it was Harry Sexton’s chance to shine as he inflicted the only defeat on Charlie Lyth of the afternoon in heat 13 and Steven Archer accounting for Katie Adams meant the score chart was back to a 6 points advantage to Hellingly.
The remaining three races were all shared 5pts each with the final score Hethersett 77 Hellingly 83.
To sum up, on paper Hellingly were by far the stronger outfit but it could be said, underperformed. Hethersett, on the other hand, seemed to be weak and lacking experienced riders. In the end it has to be said that Lions elder statesmen, Martyn Hollebon and Ed Ridley steadied the ship to see them home. It was a close fought contest on a dry dusty surface, but by far the star of the day had to be Charlie Lyth of Hethersett in his first season of racing.
The spoils this time went to Hellingly, but if all matches were raced in this spirit the sport of cycle speedway will always be champion.
Charlie Lyth 23(6r), Glyn Morgan 16+2(5r), Dan Longlands 15(5r), David Adams 12+2(5r), Lewis Smith 6(6r), Katie Adams 5(5r)
Martyn Hollebon 18(5r), Ed Ridley 13+3(5r), Steven Archer 13(5r), George Morley 12+1(5r), Harry Sexton 10+2(5r), Jamie Morley 9+1(4r), Harry Ridley 4+2(3r), Neil Hollebon 4(1r)