MATCH REPORT: Determination and desire see Falcons home

A crowd of just under 100 witnessed the Edinburgh Falcons blow apart the long unbeaten run of Stockport 2006 with a win of some 17 points on Sunday afternoon. The visitors arrived minus Jake Read and the home side brought back Lee Lawrence in place of Douglas Morgan, who had ignored a club curfew the night before the big match.

The match commenced with a couple of shared heats, in the first Kamil Greszla committed a “school boy error” in trying to go round Ben Higham, this allowed youngster Michael Preston through for the second place behind Jake Slight – the first of 3 wins for the Edinburgh rider. The second heat was fortunate for the home side with Matt Lush suffering bike failure whilst cruising to a heat maximum with Chris Eaton leading the way. Heat 3 witnessed the first of 5 routine victories for home captain Mikey Hewitson, his partner was third behind the sole visitor Jack Lush and a 3 point margin had been established.

Greszla attempting to atone for his dreadful heat 1 gave chase to Terry Norman in 4 but the veteran just held on however his partner was behind Lee Lawrence for the minor placings. Heat 5 was a real breakthrough for the Falcons, Neil Swanson held Ben Higham at the gate with a slight drift allowing Slight through for a comfortable 4 points. Swanson kept Higham at bay and the home side were 7 ahead. Heats 6 & 7 were both shared with Hewitson and Slight defeating the Lush brothers, the latter of the 2 heats had the Falcons holding a 7-3 until a well delivered dive from brother Jack knocked Greszla out of his stride and allowed Terry Norman through for the shared heat.

Heat 8 was a classic, Higham gated from 1 and was stalked by Craig Newsome from the outside, the former world number 10 tried everything to get past the Stockport rider however it all appeared to be in vain until the run off the last corner when Newsome mugged him 2-3 lengths from the line. It was text book from Newsome and the home side had moved into a 9 point lead with Czarkowski holding Preston at the back. The final race before the interval seen the visitors reduce the gap to 7 with a fine win from Norman, Swanson was second a safe distance ahead of Matt Lush in third.

Heat 10 was an interesting tactical battle with Chris Eaton opting for grid 3 in an attempt to avoid a clamping from Hewitson who in the end was placed in grid 4, the tactic worked for Stockport with a home 6-4 recorded when a heat maximum was very likely. Heat 11 was another victory for Newsome this time untroubled from Terry Norman & Jack Lush who ensured a split heat and the gap remained at 9. The arrears were again reduced to 7 in heat 12 with Chris Eaton giving Slight his first defeat of the day, the minor placings had a good scrap between Matt Lush and Greszla with the visitor holding on.

Heats 13 & 14 resulted in 2 home heat advantages which were ensured the match points and the first NL defeat to Stockport since they lost at Bury on 15th April 2012. Hewitson was the winner of heat 13 with Higham holding off the charges from McPherson for second place. Stockport left themselves with only one rider in heat 14 having already used tactical reserve Terry Norman the maximum number of times, this resulted in a 7-2 with Czarkowski & Lawrence leading home the inexperienced Devon Campbell. This increased the gap to 14 points and allowed the home side to coast to victory with shared heats after the visitors had claimed inside grids.

Much could be said about the visitors missing Jake Read, however when GB hopefuls Higham and the Lush brothers have to wait until heat 17 for their only victory of the day you have to give immense credit to the Falcons. You could also say that a full strength visiting side would not have had the finish of 4 heats on inside grids. For the visitors Eaton was excellent and backed up well by former British Champion Terry Norman.

For the home side captain Hewitson was untroubled and coasted to a maximum – 3 of which were from the outside grids, if a score of this magnitude doesn’t alert Dave Murphy to his options North of the Border then nothing will. He was backed up tremendously by Slight, Newsome and Swanson however it was a real team effort from Edinburgh who now wait 4 weeks until their next division 1 fixture at Hull. Finally a word for the referee Gavin Kennedy, who hasn’t been mentioned in the 700+ words above. He controlled the match very well and issued only 1 exclusion to J Lush in Heat 15 for Excessive Force along with a “telling off” to Neil Swanson in heat 5 for some over enthusiastic post-race celebrations.

Edinburgh 97: K Greszla 8+1 (5), J Slight 17+1 (5), C Newsome 15+1 (5), M Czarkowski 10 (4), N McPherson 9 (5), L Lawrence 5+1 (2), N Swanson 13+2 (5).

Stockport 80: M Preston 7 (5), B Higham 13+1 (5), M Lush 9 (5), C Eaton 17+1 (5), J Lush 12+1 (5), T Norman 17+1 (5), D Campbell 5 (4).