MATCH REPORT: Stars stun Aces

Sheffield Stars 98 – 76 Wednesfield Aces, Elite League, Sunday 29th June 2014

Wednesfield came to the Graves knowing a tough match was in prospect without the missing Paul Heard, Marcus Wadhams & Mark Griffiths, and so Ricki Johnson & Glyn Rowley came into the side. For the Stars, Aiden Owen & Mikey Hewitson made their first appearances of the season in place of Richard Hudson & the injured Radek Handke, as both the home and the away side looked to carry on from their wins in the last round of fixtures.

Heat one saw a straight 6-4 from the Stars, before Parr was made to pass Smith for a drawn heat in heat two. The Zareba-Hewitson pairing took advantage of an Aris tapes exclusion to claim a 6-3 in heat three over Marchant, but the away did kept in contact as they made Idziorek pass Mould in heat four for a second 5-5.

However, the Stars took it up a notch in heats five and six, taking gate-to-finish 7-3s to extend their lead to thirteen after just six heats, the McMillan-Grimes and Hewitson-Zareba pairings leading the way. Marchant & Aris tried to steady the ship by keeping McMillan at the rear for a 5-5 in heat seven, but Angell was able to pass Mould as Parr passed Winwood in heat eight to strengthen Sheffield’s grip on the match. A drawn heat before the interval left the scores at Sheffield 52, Wednesfield 37.

The Stars came out all guns blazing in heat ten with another 7-3, Hewitson passing both Winwood & Smith up the inside on the first straight to join his partner Grimes. Heat eleven was restarted three times as a variety of Parr, Angell & Marchant came together and fell, Angell eventually taking the win with a pass on Marchant, his partner Parr being blocked for Aris to come through and make a 5-5 the result. Another drawn heat followed in heat twelve, before Hewitson took Mould off the track in heat thirteen, Zareba just about being unable to pass the Welsh international to give the visitors their first heat advantage.

Their joy was short-lived, however, as Marchant moved at the tapes in heat fourteen, Winwood keeping Owen at the back for a 6-3. Another two 6-3s followed, as first Angell and then Smith followed Marchant with tapes exclusions, Wednesfield taking the advantage in heat fifteen and Sheffield the points in heat sixteen, Mould diving McMillan to stop that one being a 7-2. Jewkes was able to pass Grimes in heat seventeen to stop another maximum heat advantage, Angell passing Marchant round the outside as Hewitson remained stuck at the back to finish the match with scores of Sheffield 98, Wednesfield 76.

Sheffield really flew round and made very few mistakes, with Damian Zareba & Pawel Idziorek both dropping only point, while some of the passes from Andy Angell, Gavin Parr & Mikey Hewitson truly exceptional. Wednesfield will have to take the positives from this match, but they were always going to struggle given the way the home side were riding: Ben Mould top scored and rode well, while Lee Aris would have scored more were it not for two exclusions, and Chris Jewkes did his job and more. The Aces must bounce back from this to stand any chance of claiming the title, and will be hoping that the Stars can continue their fine run of form to slow Horspath’s charge in the next round of fixtures.

Sheffield 98
Pawel Idziorek 19 (5), Damian Zareba 18+1 (5), Andy Angell 13 (5), Myke Grimes 12+1 (4), Bobby McMillan 11+1 (5), Gavin Parr 11 (4), Mikey Hewitson 10+1 (5), Aiden Owen 4 (3), Adam Watson DNR

Wednesfield 76
Ben Mould 16 (5), Craig Marchant 10+2 (5), Chris Jewkes 10+1 (5), Matt Smith 10 (5), Ricki Johnson 9+2 (5), Lee Aris 9+1 (5), Mark Winwood 9 (5), Haydn Rowley 2 (1), Glyn Rowley 1 (1), Connor Dyke DNR

Referee: Bob Prince (Birmingham)

The combination fixture was just as tense and exciting as the first team, with the away side taking the league points by a comfortable margin in the end. For the home side, Richard Hudson & Niall Morton’s gates were very strong, while for the Aces, Lee Kemp had an impressive match, as did Roger Cox, who showed his brilliant team-riding ability throughout.

Sheffield 56
Rich Hudson 15 (4), Niall Morton 10+1 (3), Mason Phillips 8 (4), Adam Watson 6+1 (3), Kyle Holland 6 (3), Matt Parrott 4 (3), Zach Smurthwaite 4 (3), Ed Morton 3 (3)

Wednesfield 74
Lee Kemp 17+2 (5), Carl Parfitt 14 (4), Roger Cox 11+3 (4), Scott Doughty 10+1 (3), Haydn Rowley 9+1 (4), Dave Meanley 8+1 (3), Connor Dyke 5 (3)

Referee: Bobby McMillan (Sheffield)

Report by Sheffield (Niall Morton)