MATCH REPORT: Maximums for Owen & Zareba and a third century for Sheffield

Sheffield 105 – 72 Astley & Tyldesley, Northern League 1, Sunday 13th April 2014

Astley & Tyldesley arrived at Cookson Park unbeaten at home but looking for a first away win of the season, and made five changes to the side that lost at Hull. Luke Jamson, Mark Graham, Ron Makin and Danny & George Hughes replacing Lee Phillips, Max Evans, Matt Snell, Emily Burgess and Paul Graham. The Rockets made just one change to the side that demolished Edinburgh last time out, the injured Jason Burke making for Matt Parrott as they looked to continue their fine run of form.

And Sheffield started explosively, a 7-2, a 6-4 and a 7-3 in quick succession putting them eleven up after just three heats. Pollitt claimed a fine win as Langton and Handke were made to pass Collins in heat four, while Jamson looked to have claimed another drawn heat in the next, until Owen passed him and let his partner Parrott through for another maximum heat advantage that extended the lead to fifteen.

Two more 7-3s for the Holland-Zareba and Handke-Owen pairings over the Allen-Graham and Hughes-Hughes pairings put Sheffield in a strong position, but then Hudson received an exclusion for cutting across Pollitt in heat eight whilst leading, Smurthwaite unable to pass Jamson in the re-run to give the away side a first heat advantage of the match. But Sheffield equalled that once again as Langton & Zareba claimed a 7-3 over Allen & Collins to leave the scores at the interval Sheffield 55, Astley & Tyldesley 33.

Parrott claimed a second win straight back out alongside Zareba in another 7-3 for the Rockets, while Hudson claimed the win form the Hughes-Hughes pairing who Langton could not pass for only the second drawn heat of the match. The Owen-Handke pairing achieved another 7-3 over the Allen-Collins pairing, before two more 5-5s followed, Zareba and Danny Hughes taking the wins as their partners Holland and Makin were kept at the back by the Pollitt-Jamson and the Langton-Smurthwaite pairings.

Sheffield claimed another two 7-3s, this time for the Hudson-Parrott and Owen-Zareba pairings to safely secure victory for the Rockets as they won from the Collins-Hughes and Pollitt-Makin pairings. Handke was judged to have move at the tapes in heat seventeen, and Langton was swapping places with Allen and George Hughes every lap, eventually claiming second place behind Allen for just a second heat advantage for the away side. In the final heat, Jamson claimed the win from the tapes, hotly chased by Holland, while Danny Hughes blocked the best efforts of Hudson to give A&T their third heat advantage of the match which could not prevent Sheffield claiming the match win, by 105 to 72.

Aiden Owen and Damien Zareba both achieved paid maximums, Owen achieving a 7-3 in all five of his rides and Zareba achieving it in four of his. Matt Parrott was also unbeaten in his three rides from the reserve berth, while Radek Handke was unlucky after clipping his helmet on the tapes in his only loss of the afternoon apart from the tapes exclusion, and Kyle Holland continued to score highly. Luke Jamson and Reece Pollitt were A&T’s best riders, Pollitt being unlucky not to finish after a first bend fall in heat one, and Danny Hughes rode strongly in the second half. But it was another fine victory for Sheffield as they hit another century, really starting to come together as a team.

Sheffield 105

Aiden Owen 17+3 (5), Damian Zareba 16+4 (5), Kyle Holland 15+1 (5), Radek Handke 14+1 (5), Jamie Langton 13+1 (5), Matt Parrott 11+1 (3), Richard Hudson 11 (5), Zach Smurthwaite 8+1 (3)

Astley & Tyldesley 72

Luke Jamson 13+2 (5), Reece Pollitt 13 (5), Joe Allen 13 (5), Danny Hughes 12+1 (5), George Hughes 8 (5), Ciaran Collins 5 (4), Ron Makin 5 (4), Mark Graham 3 (3)

Referee: Rob Mawhood 

A&T had lost just one Division Two match this season, whilst the Rockets hadn’t lost since the opening match of this season, and a tasty affair was expected. However, three 7-3s and a 6-4 in the first six heats quickly put the home side in the driving seat, which looked even more certain to give Sheffield victory after a nasty first bend crash for Ciaran Collins in heat seven that saw an ambulance have to be called, the A&T hopefully not injuring himself too seriously. That race conjured up another 7-3 for the Rockets, before they suffered their only heat loss of the match in heat nine with a 6-4 against. But then the pressure was applied once again, as from heats nine to fifteen, Sheffield achieved four 7-3s and two 6-4s to give them victory by 93 to 57.

Rebecca Davies was unbeaten for the first time this season in her four rides, her gating seeing her gain 7-3s in all of those rides, while Luke Morton, Niall Morton and Mick Knowles only lost to Reece Pollitt. Reece Pollitt was onto a maximum for the away side until a last race 7-3 for Mick Knowles & Niall Morton, while Max Evans always pushed hard against riders older and bigger than him. Another combination win for Sheffield keeps them on track to defend their Northern Division Two title with a very strong performance.

Sheffield 93

Luke Morton 16+3 (5), James Bunting 16+1 (5), Niall Morton 15+3 (5), Rebecca Davies 15+1 (4), Mick Knowles 15 (4), Ed Morton 11+2 (4), Daniel Rushton 5+1 (3), Matt Parrott DNR

Astley & Tyldesley 57

Reece Pollitt 18 (5), Max Evans 10 (5), George Hughes 9 (5), Ron Makin 8 (5), Matt Snell 7 (5), Joe Quanby 3 (3), Ciaran Collins 2 (2)

Referee: Rob Mawhood

James Bunting was easily unbeaten again, while Max Evans only lost to Bunting and Matt Snell only lost to Evans. There was some good, exciting racing from Daniel Rushton, Niamh Morton and Jack Brownell, and Sam Haines always got stuck in, falling twice but always producing some exciting racing.

Sheffield 103

James Bunting 16, Daniel Rushton 13, Sam Haines 13, Niamh Morton 11, Jack Brownell 11, Matt Wigfield 11, Joe Brownell 9, Logan Perkins 9, Charlie Cottam 8

Astley & Tyldesley 45

Max Evans 15, Matt Snell 15, Joe Quamby 10, Max Quamby 7

Referee: Dave Shoat

Report sent in by Sheffield