MATCH REPORT: Sheffield victorious in Northern League extravaganza

A beautiful autumn day, with the Cookson track bathed in sunshine, greeted the Sheffield and Hull riders for this Northern league action. With Andy Angell delayed en-route, from his Velo excursion in Newport, the teams agreed to alter the days format and run the league two match first.

With Sheffield needing a win to remain in the hunt for the Championship, it was a decision that almost backfired. James Bunting, Sam Haines and Ellie Sullivan were all absent when racing began at 2.30. Ed Morton and Matt Parrott stepped down from first team duties, with Charlie Cottam coming in for his league debut.

The first race had Nathan Everett record a brilliant win over Ed Morton, the Hull rider using the wide open spaces of the Cookson track to blast round the outside. David Cooper then held off Parrott for another share of the race points. Vicky Brown and Rebecca Davies then combined for a 7-3 win to put the Rockets four in front. The next eight races all finished 5-5, with Cooper and Everett winning three each. Charlie Wade (Yorkshire under 10 champion) won heat 9, with the only Sheffield rider to take the chequered flag being Ed Morton in heat 6.

The run of tied heats ended with a 6-4 for Sheffield from Parrott and Paul Fisher in heat 12, the veteran racer just holding on from the fast finishing Jack Lister. Heat 13 was then tied, with Ed Morton streaking away for the race win. Wade, showing he’s obviously learning from the maestro that is Andy Angell, making sure Ed Lister would beat Niamh Morton.

Sheffield were six up with two heats to go. Heat 14 saw Hull replace Everett (with the first team match in mind) with reserve Rich Moulson. The Rockets also used both reserves (Jack Brownell and Charlie Cottam). The veteran Moulson was battling hard with the two Sheffield riders when he took an awful tumble going into turn three on the third lap. He was left dazed and with severe facial cuts, injuries that would mean he took no further part in the days racing. The race was stopped and the result awarded, another 5-5 with Jack Lister leading at the time.

Only a 7-0 loss could prevent Sheffield from taking the league points now, but they finished on a high with a 7-3 from Brown and Brownell over Katie Greaves/Ed Lister to confirm an 80-70 win. Sheffield did just enough to win, but the star performances came from Hull’s Everett and Copper. Everett in particular looked extremely rapid around the Cookson bowl.

Vicky Brown 16+1 (5), Ed Morton 13+1 (4), Paul Fisher 11+3 (5), Rebecca Davies 10+3(4), Matt Parrot 10(3), Jack Brownell 9+1(3), Niamh Morton 8+2(4), Charlie Cottam 3+1(2).

David Cooper 16(4), Nathan Everett 16(4), Josh Bellis 9(4), Jack Lister 8+1(4),Charlie Wade 8+1(4), Ed Lister 6(4), Katie Greaves 5(4), Rich Moulson 2(2).

Now it was the League One boys. There was no Zareba or Owen for the Rockets, James Bunting and Sam Haines coming in for seasonal debuts. Bunting getting the jersey on his performance in winning the Yorkshire under 13 and 16 titles. While the Hull team were absent of Stephenson, Schofield and Swanborough. Young Jack Lister coming in to replace the injured Moulson.

Angell won heat one from Bobby McMillan, with the impressive Everett forcing an error from Niall Morton that resulted in the Sheffield rider falling. Heat two saw the experienced Jason Burke take a quality win from Lewis Aylmer. The race having been re-run after Kyle Holland was excluded after steaming into Burke (his team-mate) on turn three of the first lap, an incident that also saw David Cooper brought down. So two heats in and Hull lead by 11-8.

James Bunting and Rich Hudson get the Rockets ball rolling with a 7-3 in heat 3. McMillan gets the better of Angell in heat 4 (the Stars Elite team-mates obviously enjoying their match up with each other). Sheffield take the next three heats with a 7-3 and two 6-4’s to lead 40-29.

Heat 8 was a classic race between Burke and Angell. The two riders showing how close you can ride at speed without charging into the other rider with either your body or bike. Angell getting the verdict after passing on the third lap. The British champ revelling in some exhibition racing, which was also delighting a bigger than usual crowd. Aylmer won heat 9 to take us into the interval with Sheffield leading by 50-39.

The Rockets then hit three maximums just after the half time to cruise into a 71-48 lead. Heat 13 saw a brilliant first lap from Everett, as he just managed to hold off Bunting, before being joined by Angell for a Hull 7-3. Heat 14 saw a great race between Haines and Dave Lister. The two rode shoulder to shoulder for the first lap and a half. Lister just edging it as they entered lap 2. The Sheffield youngster though has plenty of stamina (from his road racing) and eventually got past on the start of the last lap.

Heat 16 brought a memorable win for Morton over Angell (who was now maybe feeling the effects of his Velodrome exploits). But credit to young Morton, who once out in front defended his position resolutely, and was a deserved race winner. Sheffield finished the match with two further 7-3’s to take the league points by 107-72. Sheffield were solid throughout, with every rider in double figures, while Hull were reliant on Angell and Aylmer (who saw two crashes reduce his scoring).

Niall Morton 16+1(5), James Bunting 15(5), Jason Burke 14+1(4),Richard Hudson 14+1(5), Bobby McMillan 14+1(4), Kyle Holland 13+2(5), Sam Haines 11+2(5), Matt Parrott 10+2(3)

Andy Angell 17+1 (5), Lewis Aylmer 13(5), Josh Bellis 11(5), Nathan Everett 11(5), David Cooper 8+1(5), Katie Greaves 5(5), Jack Lister 4(3), Dave Lister 3(3).

Finally we finished with the Division three encounter for under 13’s, and run on a similar formula to the BYJL. Twelve riders lined up (nine from Sheffield and three from Hull), so the Rockets 85-35 win was always on the cards. Charlie Wade was unbeaten in his four starts for a 16 point maximum, though he was chased hard twice by Sheffield debutant Ewan Swaby. The Sheffield rider is not yet 12 but stands over 6 feet tall. He has shown rapid progress in training sessions and looks to have a good future in the sport. Sheffield also gave a debut to Shaun Fairbrother, and he finished with well taken third place in his final ride. The Rockets had race winners in Sam Haines (3), Niamh Morton (2) and Charlie Cottam (1), with Jack Lister getting a brace of wins for Hull.

Sam Haines 15, Niamh Morton 14, Evan Swaby 12, Charlie Cottam 11, Jack Brownell 10, Logan Perkins 7, Kielan Burton 6, Joe Brownell 5, Shaun Fairbrother 5.