MATCH REPORT: Keith holds nerve in last heat decider

The visitors who were missing a few riders, but considerably beefed up their team with their two Polish riders flying in for this meeting, resulting in a terrific nail biter of a contest between two well matched teams.

With the heat leaders cancelling each other out, as a series of shared heats prevailed, it was the extra experience of the reserves that counted for Northumbria, Keith Oldham and Andy Knowles just too strong for their counterparts. A 6-4 as in heat 15 had put the home side up by four points, Jason Keith needed to only keep his nerve in a last heat decider. He gated to win and put behind him an earlier slip up, along with the disaster earlier in the season against Edinburgh, as the Vikings chalked up a welcome win.

NORTHUMBRIA 92: Gavin Parr 19, Jason Keith 15+1, Michael Parr 15, Mark Mulvey 10+5, Terry Kirkup 10+3, Dan Redshaw 9, Keith Oldham 8, Andy Knowles 6+1

ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY 88: Przemek Binkowski 18+1, Tomasz Wlodarczyk 18, Reece Pollitt 16+2, Paul Graham 14+1, George Hughes 9, Ciaran Collins 7, Max Evans 3, Gareth Paine 3

Northern League Division Two

Astley were far too strong to be troubled by Northumbria in this one, their young flyers easing to the front on a regular basis against all but Dan Redshaw. There were two debutants to the sport on show Jon Quarmby for Astley and Dan Thompson for Northumbria, both showing up well in their first taste of shale racing. There was a bit of a scare early on which forced the racing to be paused, as George Hughes took ill in the pits, being later taken by ambulance and kept in hospital overnight, though the ever genial George was still able to crack a joke or two as he lay stricken and insisted that the racing continued as he awaited care.

NORTHUMBRIA 63: Dan Redshaw 19, Richie Smith 10+2, Jim Graham 10, Dan Thompson 8, Norman Carson 7, Andy Knowles 6+2, Lewis Petre 2, Lee Redshaw 1

ASTLEY & TYDLESLEY 86: Ciaran Collins 19, Reece Pollitt 17+3, Gareth Paine 15, Max Evans 14+3, Matt Snell 14+1, Jon Quarmby 4, Joe Quarmby 3, George Hughes dnr

Northern League Division Three

NORTHUMBRIA 19: Lewis Petre 8, Lee Redshaw 8, Oliver Smith 3

ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY 60: Joe Quarmby 14, Matt Snelll 14, Max Evans 14, Kieran Fallon 8, Ryan Fallon 4