MATCH REPORT: Stalemate at the Memorial Playing Field

Hethersett Hawks opened their Golden Jubilee season with a cracking local derby on a perfect track at the Memorial Playing Field. The visitors Norwich Stars had a strong line-up and the Hawks were without skipper Leigh Cossey due to working away but it was the home side who broke the early deadlock when Dan Chambers steered Harley Hamill home for a 7-3 win in heat 4 over former Hawks rider/manager Lee Grange.

There were a lot of shared heats, including a notable pass by veteran Chris Cullum in heat 8 and Norwich got back on terms in the following heat as Craig Norton and Paddy Wenn took maximum points.

Heat 12 proved a pivotal race as the same Norwich pairing looked set to put Norwich in front but a battling performance from Josh Herring and Olly Buxton finally got the 5-5 shared heats after three restarts.

Substitute Gary Colby came in to the penultimate and the experience paid off as Norwich took the lead for the first time with a 6-4 win. So it all came down to the wire in the nominated riders’ race and Dan Chambers, whose only defeat was in heat 1, flew away from the start followed by Lee Smith, who had made a good start in his debut for the Hawks.

However, lack of match practice for Smith saw him fade and a coming together with Grange on the final lap could have gone either way but the Norwich rider made it to the line in second place to ensure the match was drawn.

In the end a fair result in a competitive and enthralling match and both sides can use that as a platform for the season.

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)

Hethersett were able to track a separate seven riders for the Division 2 match and gave a very encouraging show against a Norwich side with more experience who provided five unbeaten riders. There was some good teamwork by Nigel Longlands and Katie Adams as youngsters Daniel Longlands and Alfie Nixon got among the points. Lee Hulcoop started his comeback after a 14-year absence.

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)

The previous day Dan Chambers raced in Wolverhampton competing in East Park’s 10th anniversary meeting. He scored 10 points.

The Hawks are next in action in the weekend 9th/10th April.