MATCH REPORT: Stars put a dent in Revolutions title hopes
Report by Rob Mawhood, Photo taken by Caroline Burton.
Sheffield Stars put a dent in Fife Revolutions title hopes as they won by 95-84 at the DBD trade Fastbowl. Sheffield have blown hot and cold in 2023, all dependent on what strength of six riders they could put on track. In cold, wet conditions it was a strong six the travelled from Yorkshire, Dariusz Pilas and Niall Morton added to the team that lost to Fife at the Graves track earlier in the year. The match start time was delayed from 1pm to 2.15pm after Sheffield had mechanical problems with the van hired to transport the majority of the team. Sheffield arrived at 1.45pm and the riders appeared to have travel weary legs as Fife riders won the first three races to lead by 16-14.
Pilas and Morton linked up for the meetings first 7-3 maximum in heat 4, Pilas getting revenge over Jake Slight who beat him in heat 1 (which would be his only loss in the day), as Stars went 21-19 ahead. Fife went ahead again (31-29) following 6-4 race wins in heats 5 and 6. The ebb and flow of the match continued with another Stars 7-3 maximum in heat 8 from Pilas and Kielan Burton, who had been put under tremendous pressure by Jake Ferguson and Harris Alsop. This put Sheffield ahead by 41-39 at half time.
Slight rode well to keep Morton and Kyle Holland at bay in heat 9. The meetings only exclusion came in heat 10, suffered by Jack Brownell. Laura Watson restricted the damage to a 3-6 heat result with a terrific ride to hold off Ferguson. Sheffield’s strength then shone through with maximum 7-3 race wins in heats 11 & 12. First it was the Pilas/Burton pairing, who were chased for the full four laps by Davidson. Brownell and Holland followed up in the next race as both riders passed Harris Alsop on the final bend. Sheffield now led by 63-56 and it would be about containment over the final six races. Lewis Alsop won heat 13, with Morton not falling for the temptation to a passing move, as that would have presented Slight with a good opportunity to get a Fife 7-3. Sheffield’s experience was evident as they took 6-4 results off their next three inside grids, while Brownell/Holland did excellent to gain a 5-5 drawn heat against Fife’s top two, Davidson and Lewis Alsop.
Fife remain top of the league despite this loss, and have crucially home and away meetings against second placed Bury Comets over the next three weeks.
Dariusz Pilas and Kielan Burton with a maximum in heat 8.
Sheffield are likely to finish third, having won at both Bury and Fife (when able to field a strong line-up). But have lost at home to the same pair, and at Hull, when only able to track two heat leaders.
Fife Revolution (84) – Lewis Alsop 16+1, Jake Slight 12, Kayden Davidson 20, Jason Keith 9+1, Jake Ferguson 11, Harris Alsop 9, Dougie Morgan 7.
Sheffield Stars (95) – Kielan Burton 18+2, Dariusz Pilas 21+2, Laura Watson 11, Niall Morton 19+2, Jack Brownell 11+1, Kyle Holland 15+1, Rob Mawhood DNR.
Referee – Gavin Kennedy.