MATCH REPORT: Vikings push Rockets all the way

by Niall Morton (Sheffield)  

While the Rockets wanted to continue to keep the pressure on Stockport, the Vikings were looking for their third win of the season and revenge for their loss at Cookson cycle speedway track earlier in the season.

Sheffield arrived at Cramlington missing their star riders Radek Handke, Damian Zareba and Jason Burke, and so Niall Morton, Luke Morton & Matt Parrott were drafted into the side. Northumbria were able to welcome Mark Mulvey & John Wilson back into the side, a close match looking in prsospect.

After three heats, the scores were level after a 6-4 for either side, but the McMillan-Hudson paitong took the first maximum heat advantage over the solitary Wilson after Michael Parr fell when passed by McMillan first time out & caused the race to be stopped. Heat five was a second drawn heat, before Sheffield extended their lead to 6 in heat six as McMillan kept Gavin Parr busy from third to allow Owen to take the win.

The Vikings reduced the deficit in heat seven with a 7-3 from the Mulvey-Michael Parr pairing, while Owen & McMillan raced Gavin Parr again just before the interval, the positions constantly changing until Owen was once again able to get the better of Parr as McMillan kept the pressure on the veteran, meaning that Sheffield went into the interval with a lead of 47 to 42.

The Rockets still held onto that 5 point lead heading into heat twelve, where a mix up between teammates Owen & Luke Morton saw Owen fall with Michael Parr & Mulvey in a7-3, bringing Northumbria back into touching distance with just 1 points less than Sheffield. The scores remained the same till heat fourteen, as first the Parrott-Holland pairing extended the lead to 5 with one 7-3, before the Morton-McMillan did exactly the same to increase that lead to 9. The Mulbey-Gavin Parr hit straight back with a 7-3 of their own, but it was too little, too late for the home side as Sheffield took a 6-4 and a 5-5 in the last two heats to give them victory by 94 points to 85.

It was a much closer match than the scores suggested, with positions swapping throughout the meeting, but Sheffield deserved the win with a well team rode performance that saw every rider assisting each other, which is probably the edge that gave the Rockets victory. Aiden Owen won four heats & wa unlucky to fall to make him Sheffield’s top scorer, while Richard Hudson quietly built up a strong score, and Bobby McMillan lost only to Gavin Parr from the tactical reserve berth, helping Owen to both his wins over the Northumbria rider and achieving two 6-4s & two 7-3s in his four rides. For Northumbria,Gavin Parr once again top scored, while Mark Mulvey showed the form that saw him unbeaten in his EuroVets semi the day before, and Michael Parr would have scored more were ot not for the heat four exclusion. Overall, Sheffield deserved the win, but Northumbria kept the pressure on the whole way to make for an incredibly entertaining match.

Northumbria 85
Gavin Parr 17+1 (5), Mark Mulvey 17+1 (5), Michael Parr 14+1 (5), Jason Keith 14 (5), Daniel Wharrier 8 (5), Daniel Redshaw 7 (4), John Wilson 4 (3), Terry Kirkup 4 (4)
Sheffield 94
Aiden Owen 17 (5), Richard Hudson 16+1 (5), Bobby McMillan 13+2 (5), Niall Morton 13 (5), Kyle Holland 11+3 (5), Matt Parrott 8+2 (3), Zach Smurthwaite 8 (4), Luke Morton 8 (4)
Referee: Keith Dyer (Northumbria)

The combination was a brilliant fixture to follow on from Sheffield tense 1 point victory over the Vikings in the return match at Cookson, with Sheffield’s team riding ability shining through in the end to give them a comfortable victory. The match wa sonly tempered after Vicky Brown suffered a nasty fall in heat six, which looked to be alright at the time, but she has since been diagnosed with a fractured elbow, so everyone wishes her the best in recovering.

For the home side, both Daniel Redshaw & John Wilson stood out, taking five wins between them, but lacked the support they required to keep the match close. For the Rockets, Niall Mortin lost only to Redshaw in heat six afte the Brown fall & exclusion, while Ed Morton continued his rapid improvement and young Sam Haines pulled off some fantastic passes on riders twice the size of him. Sheffield continued to maintain their lead at the top of the Division 2 table as they remained unbeatan, but the Vikings will look at this as a step forward as they continue to develop new riders.

Northumbria 65
Daniel Redshaw 17 (5), John Wilson 12+1 (4), Daniel Wharrier 8+1 (5), Keith Oldham 8 (4), Jim Graham 7 (5), Neil Mgee 6 (4), Norman Carson 3 (2), Terry Kirkup 4 (1)
Sheffield 84
Niall Morton 16+3 (5), Ed Morton 13+1 (5), Matt Parrott 11+1 (4), Rob Mawhood 11+1 (4), James Bunting 11 (4), Luke Morton 10+2 (3), Sam Haines 8+1 (3), Vicky Brown 4 (2)
Referee: Keith Dyer (Northumbria)