MATCH REPORT: Bury solid in derby win

Astley & Tyldesley and Bury went head to head in the first Northern League local derby of the season, at a wet and windy Gin Pit on Sunday.

In the Division 1 match, Bury took an early lead after Leighton Bates, making his A&T debut, was excluded at the gate in heat 2. However, the Errol Thaw/Danny Hughes pairing took advantage of a fall by Chris Parish to secure a 7-3 heat win for A&T in heat 4 and move into the lead.

Back came Bury, with a 7-3 heat win of their own when the Ben Scranage/James Elston pairing passed Reece Pollitt on the last lap to put Bury back in front, 30 – 29. The visitors were never headed after that and held on to win a very closely fought match, by 92-87.

A&T had three key riders missing and this played a vital part in losing their first match of the season. Polish star Radek Handke raced to a 20 points maximum score for A&T, with the others battling hard. Bury had the more solid scoring main body of the team, with Scranage losing only to Handke and just had the edge on A&T throughout a very close, hard fought derby encounter.

This result means that A&T drop to 2nd place, as Stockport kept up their 100% record by winning at Sheffield, with Bury remaining in 3rd place, now level on match points with A&T, but behind on race points difference.

Astley and Tyldesley 87
Radek Handke 20, Danny Hughes 14 (2), Errol Thaw 14, Reece Pollitt 14, Mark Mulvey 10 (1), Lee Phillips 8, Leighton Bates 5, Ciaran Collins 2.

Bury 92
Ben Scranage 19, Kris Ramsden 17, Chris Parish 16, James Elston 12 (2), Will Owens 11 (1), Neil Howarth 8 (2), Dawid Renc 5, Adam Turnbull 4.

Referee – Bill Phillips

The Division 2 match was an even closer affair, as A&T overcame an interval deficit of 42-38 to storm back in the 2nd half to take a 76-74 win. Bury provided the race winner in each of the opening five races and looked to be in control, leading 29-21. However, the visitors visibly faded in the second half, as A&T’s superior fitness and stamina saw them bang in three 7-3 heat wins and secure victory with one race remaining.

A last race 7-3 heat win proved to be a mere consolation for Bury. James Elston raced unbeaten for Bury, whilst Ciaran Collins top scored and Mark Grantham won his last two races on his debut for A&T. This win maintained A&T’s 100% record at the top of the table, whilst Bury suffered their first defeat in this division.

Astley and Tyldesley 76
Ciaran Collins 16 (1), Max Evans 15 (2), Gareth Paine 15 (2), Mark Grantham 12, Jon Quarmby 11, John White 6, Ben Dickinson 1, Joe Quarmby dnr.
Bury 74
James Elston 18 (2), Adam Turnbull 15, Steve Mann 14, Dawid Renc 10, Chas Whalley 9, Louis Turner 7 (1), Daniel Miller 1.

Referee – Mike Hack

In the Division 3 match, A&T fielded 16 riders to Bury’s 8, with the visitors hit by a late withdrawal, to reduce them to 7. As ever, the youngsters gave it their all over the 24 races and although the team result was in no doubt, there were plenty of competitive hard fought races. A&T raced to a 163-63 victory, with British u-8 champion John White again racing unbeaten, as did British u-10 Girls silver medallist Emily Burgess. 10 A&T riders recorded a double figure points score, as this win maintained A&T’s 100% record at the top of the table.

Astley and Tyldesley 163
John White 16, Emily Burgess 16, Ben Dickinson 15, Joe Quarmby 13, Luke Hill 13, Charlie Dickinson 13, Jonah Clare 12, Charlie Burgess 12, Max Evans 11, Jack Littler 11, Kieran Fallon 9, Ryan Fallon 8, Lucy Grantham 7, Finn Boland 7.

Bury 63
Daniel Miller 14, Josh Neath 12, Lewis Habib 10, Sean Etheridge 10, Duncan Whalley 6, Hermoine Whalley 6, Angel Etheridge 5.

Referee – Mike Hack