MATCH REPORT: Hammers stake claim for runners up spot

Whenever Sheffield and Horspath get together you know you’re in for a close match. With both teams having to make changes to their line ups it made for two very different looking sides that had met at The Village earlier in the season.

Sheffield youngsters Adam Watson, Mason Phillips and Niall Morton all got promoted to the first team as did seasoned campaigner Jason Burke. Horspath likewise called upon the services of Jim Collier& Will Jefferies with Paul Timms coming in to the no 7 berth.

Horspath won the toss and elected to take inside grids, Lukas Nowacki duly winning the first race with Mikey Hewitson second and Adam Watson third after a superb pass on Andy Johnson. The next two heats were also shared with wins to Myke Grimes and Chris Timms who would go on to record a 20pt maximum.

The breakthrough came in heat 4 with Hewitson taking the win and Mason Phillips bagging third place after a major battle with Johnson and Paul Timms. The Star’s repeated the feat in heat 6 with a well taken win for Gavin Parr over Louis Osbourne, this opening up a 4pt lead. With the next three heats shared the interval arrived with Sheffield on 47 to Horspaths 43.

With the Star’s hoping to extend their lead in the first race after the break, things didn’t quite go to plan, Niall Morton sliding off as he challenged Paul Timms and Osbourne taking the race win, 6-4 to Horspath.

Two more shared heats before the real talking point of the meeting, Angell traps Nowacki on his outside as Parr steams up the inside for a possible Sheffield 7-3. However referee Mike Hack is having none of it and excludes Angell for slowing the race down. This forces a rerun with Horspath taking a 6-3 and moving into the lead by a single point.

Phillips and Jason Burke hit straight back with a well taken 6-4 over the hard working Paul Timms to put Sheffield 1pt up. With two more shared heats, heat 17 proved pivotal with Chris Timms and Zac Payne taking a 7-3 over Hewitson & Burke. Horspaths 3pt lead made it Sheffield needing a maximum of their own to win the match by 1.

With Nowacki & Collier off outs, hopes were high that Grimes & Parr could save the day however it wasn’t to be with Nowacki getting to the front and fending off the attentions of Grimes to take the win. The final score of 88 to Sheffield and 91 to Horspath being an exact reverse of the scores at ‘The Village ‘earlier in the season.

For Horspath Chris Timms took a fine maximum and Nowacki, Payne and Osbourne all contributed at the right moments. Paul Timms had an excellent meeting and certainly had an influence on the final result. Sheffield were well led by Grimes, Parr, Hewitson and Angell who all  had their moments, none of the Star’s youngsters or the evergreen Burke looked out of their depth and were unfortunate to end up on the losing side.

All in all a good days racing ridden in good spirit on the superfast Cookson Bowl.

Both teams had riders doubling up for the Combination match and in all fairness nobody was actually bothered who was giving what penalty points away. The meeting was ridden in good spirit with lots of close racing and passing, and it was a fun which is surely what it’s all about?

Sheffield 88
Myke Grimes 17, Gavin Parr 15+1, Mikey Hewitson 13, Andy Angell 12+1, Adam Watson 10+1, Niall Morton 7+3, Jason Burke 7+1, Mason Phillips 7.

Horspath 91
Chris Timms 20, Lukas Nowacki 19, Zac Payne 15+1, Lewis Osbourne 11+3, Paul Timms 11+1, Andy Johnson 9+1, Jim Collier 3, Will Jefferies 3, Brandon Campbell DNR

Referee – Mike Hack

Elite League Combination

Sheffield 71
Joe Twigg 16, Ed Morton 15+2, Niall Morton 12+1, Luke Morton 10+2, Adam Watson 9+2, Matt Parrott 9+1

Horspath 59

Will Jefferies 13, Chris Timms 12, Zac Payne 11+3, Andy Johnson 11, Brandon Campbell 5, Paul Timms 4, Jim Collier 3