MATCH REPORT: Last gasp Grange earns Stars a draw

Norwich started their campaign yesterday, with a local derby against the Hethersett Hawks.

With Lee Grange back in a Norwich shirt against his former club, Craig Norton jumped out of his sickbed at ten past one, Jamie Medler, the only lad who hasn’t reached 30 yet, and four of the lads, Gary Colby, Paddy Wenn, Alan Parkins and Chris Cullum (pictured above with Lee Grange in his 50th season), meant the entire side had a combined age of nearly 200! Youth vs experience it certainly was.

Dan Chambers looked sharp and led the Hawks assault, with ex-Sandwell man Lee Smith backing him up well. For Norwich, Parkins took two perfect wins and Stars legend Paddy Wenn’s sharp team riding, along with Lee Grange flying with two wins, kept the away side with the young Hawks, but were trailing by 4 points at the interval.

In heat 9, Norton and Wenn swept home for a 7 3 from the inside grids, with Wenn passing superbly on a tired Hamill on the last bend. Heat 12 had no less than five reruns to get round the first bend, with Hawks’ Josh Herring and Norton coming together.

It was all square up until a heat advantage in heat 15, when a Grange victory with a vital reserve ride from Colby to get the third place allowed Norwich to edge in front by 2 points going in to the nominated race. With Hawks’ top two up against Grange and Parkins, it was nail biting stuff, with Parkins left at the start, as an ongoing football match nearby with an untimely goal when under orders, it was down to Grange to chase down the Hawks, who were home and dry. However, a last bend pass on Lee Smith limited the Hawks a 6-4, but securing a deserved draw.

All the Norwich lads put in a respectful performance and can take many positives moving on in the season. Credit due to Shaun Dyball, who delivered a fair match on the whistle.

Dan Chambers 21+2 (6) Lee Smith 17+2 (6) Josh Herring 13 (5) Harley Hamill 10+1 (4) Olly Buxton 8 (4) Dan Butler 7+1 (4) Scott Grimes 3+1 (2) Roger Carter 1 (1)

Lee Grange 21 (6) Alan Parkins 17+1 (6) Craig Norton 16 (5) Paddy Wenn 13+4 (5) Chris Cullum 7+1 (5) Jamie Medler 3 (3) Gary Colby 3 (2)

In the Division Two match, Norwich always had the upper hand with a strong top five of Jamie Medler, Ciaran Wenn, Rohan Eubank, Alex Dyball, Mason Parkins, with Michael Jones, a credit to the sport making the trip from Royston, Hertfordshire. Norfolk U13 champ, Scott Colby came in at reserve.

Nine 7-3s in 16 heats was the difference for the Stars, with credit to the Hawks’ Katie Adams, who rode some great rides getting in the thick of the action, making the stars earn their points.

Hethersett's Katie Adams battles with Norwich's Jamie Medler, while Ciaran Wenn races away.

Hethersett’s Katie Adams battles with Norwich’s Jamie Medler, while Ciaran Wenn races away.

Adams was well supported by the girlpower of Carly Cameron (Grimes) and Olivia Nicholas. Young Alfie Nixon and Daniel Longlands rode superbly and have a great future in the sport. Finally, it was good to see Lee Hulcoop back on track after his long layoff

Daniel Longlands 13 (5) Alfie Nixon 13 (5) Katie Adams 12+3 (6) Olivia Nicholas 9+1 (5) Carly Cameron 6+1 (4) Lee Hulcoop 6 (4) Nigel Longlands 5+2 (3)

Roham Ewbank 20 (5) Mason Parkins 19+1 (5) Alex Dyball 17+3 (5) Ciarin Wenn 16 (4) Jamie Medler 15+5 (5) Michael Jones 5 (5) Scott Colby 4 (3)

Norwich’s next match is April 10th at home, with Great Blakenham taking to the Eaton Park track. Tapes up at 2pm.