MATCH REPORT: Rockets run Stockport close

Sheffield arrived at Webb Lane knowing just how difficult the coming match would be, with the home side unbeaten at home for over three years and altogether for two. However, they had Bobby McMillan in their ranks making his first Northern League fixture in place of Matt Parrott. 

Two drawn heats and a 6-4 to the home side in the first three heats put Stockport two up, before the Handke-McMillan and Owen-Langton pairings achieved a 7-3 and then a 6-4 to give Sheffield the lead by beating the Pickford-Read and Eaton-Harrison pairings. In heat six, Stockport pulled the deficit back to two as Higham was made to first pass Hudson, then knocked out by Smurthwaite as the Sheffield rider was passed to allow Hudson back through, though with Norman taking the win, it was still a 6-4 to the home side. Zareba won from Read & Eaton in heat seven to keep the Rockets’ lead, before Jack Lush won from Handke while his brother held Owen to level the scores in heat eight. However, McMillan won from Pickford & Higham in heat nine to leave the scores at the interval 45 all.

Stockport came out in the second half straight off with a 7-3, 5-5 and 6-4 off the tapes to retake the lead with a six point margin. The Handke-Owen pulled it back to four with a 6-4 from the Norman-Higham pairing, but that was cancelled out in the next with a 6-4 from the Pickford-Matt Lush pairing over the Zareba-Langton pairing in heat fourteen, as Zareba was made to pass Lush on the last bend, putting Stockport on 73, Sheffield on 67.

The McMillan-Holland pairing brought the gap down to four with a 6-4 over the Jack Lush-Eaton pairing, with Handke coming behind Higham while Smurthwaite held Pickford to keep it like that with two heats remaining. The McMillan-Hudson pairing brought the gap down to two as they beat the Matt Lush-Read pairing, leaving the stage set for a last heat decider, with Jack Lush off one, Owen off two, Norman off three and Zareba off four. Off the gates and round the first bend, with Lush out in front and his partner Norman at the abck behind Owen as Zareba chases Lush. However, he can’t catch the Stockport youngster, giving victory to the home side by a two point margin, 91 to 89.

Stockport deservedly took the victory, with Jack Lush the star rider, losing only to Damian Zareba & Bobby McMillan, while seven of the eight scored over ten points. Sheffield’s Bobby McMillan lost only to Jack Lush, with Radek Handke also only losing to Jack Lush alongside Ben Higham, as Damian Zareba only lost to Joe Pickford and also Jack Lush.

Stockport 91

Jack Lush 17+1 (5), Terry Norman 14+1 (5), Chris Eaton 12+2 (5), Ben Higham 12+1 (5), Joe Pickford 12 (5), Jake Read 11+1 (5), Matt Lush 11 (5), Ryan Harrison 1 (1)

Sheffield 89

Bobby McMillan 18+1 (5), Radek Handke 18 (5), Damian Zareba 18 (5), Aiden Owen 10+1 (5), Richard Hudson 10 (5), Zach Smurthwaite 5+1 (4), Jamie Langton 5 (3), Kyle Holland 5 (4)

Referee: Graham Lush


The visiting side still had yet to lose in the Divison Two this season, while Stockport knew it would be tough to claim a first win of the season. However, the Rockets showed why they are unbeaten by not finishing worse off than a 5-5 in any heat. Vicky Brown was superb as she achieved her first maximum of the season, while Mick Knowles lost only to Jack Lush. Jack Lush lost only to Vicky Brown for Stockport, while Ryan Harrison pulled off several good passes.

Stockport 65

Jack Lush 19 (5), Joe Pickford 14+1 (5), Ryan Harrison 13 (5), James Barry 7+1 (5), Louis Wright 7 (5), Devon Campbell 5 (5)

Sheffield 105

Vicky Brown 15+1 (4), Mick Knowles 15 (4), Niall Morton 11+1 (4), Matt Parrott 10+2 (4), Rebecca Davies 10+2 (4), Luke Morton 9+2 (4), Ed Morton 9+2 (4), James Bunting 6+1 (2), plus 20 penalty points

Referee: Graham Lush


James Bunting and James Barry both raced unbeaten in the Division Three as the two failed to meet, but there was lots of good race action between Sam Haines, Louis Wright and Jack Brownell, as Sheffield continued their unbeaten run in the Division Three this season.

Stockport 33

James Barry 16, Louis Wright 9, Devon Campbell 8

Sheffield 47

James Bunting 16, Sam Haines 12, Jack Brownell 9, Charlie Cottam 6, Joe Brownell 4

Referee: Graham Lush

Report by Sheffield