MATCH REPORT: Sheffield come out on top in last heat decider

Sheffield Wosskow Brown Stars and Astley and Tyldesley had evenly matched sides for this Northern League One encounter at the super-fast Cookson circuit.

Sheffield welcomed back Rich Hudson and Luke Morton while A&T added Ciaran Collins and Lee Phillips to the team that won at Heckmondwike. The visitors made the perfect start with a 7-3 from Damian Zareba and Collins. When Zareba linked up with Mark Grantham for second 7-3 in heat 4, Astley were six points up.

The match then turned in Sheffield’s favour over the next two heats. Heat 5 saw Collins fall while leading with Niall and Ed Morton benefitting to the tune of a 7-3. Heat 6 had Vicky Brown speed away from grid one to take the win, Kyle Holland coming from last to pass both Lee Phillips and then Paul Graham, on the very last bend for a second Sheffield 7-3.

The Stars now led by 31-29. Two drawn races followed, with Reece Pollitt and Zareba claiming the wins. Heat 9 had another pivotal moment. Graham and Grantham looked to be on for a visitors 7-3 until Luke Morton passed on the inside to give what looked like being another drawn heat. Brown though had other ideas, the captain’s never say die spirit seeing her past Grantham in the last couple of metres to secure a Sheffield 6-4 and an interval lead of 47-43.

Phillips tried all that he could to keep Holland at bay in heat 10, the Sheffield rider eventually made in past to join Ed Morton for another 6-4 and a 53-47 lead. Pollitt was making the most of his five grid ones, easily taking the win in heat 11. Graham won heat 12, but again in was a draw heat. Heat 13 then provided perhaps the best race seen at Cookson in quite a while. Holland riding superbly to keep Zareba in second place, the former European champion throwing everything he could to get past.

The run of drawn heats continued with Max Evans and John White showing a lot of maturity to keep Luke Morton in last place in heat 14. With three races to go Sheffield still led by six at 78-72. A&T then recorded successive 6-4 heat wins to take the match to a last heat decider. Sheffield had inside grids with Holland and Rich Hudson, who had been quietly going about putting a top scoring performance together.  While it was Collins and Evans for A&T. Hudson was like a rocket out of grid one and took the race win easily, with Holland finishing in third spot the 6-4 heat result gave Sheffield their first League One win of the season by 92-88.

Sheffield’s was an all- round team performance, with just Joe Twigg missing out on a race win (the youngster perhaps suffering from being given the number one race jacket).  Pollitt made the most of five grid ones to record a sublime maximum, with Zareba losing just the once in that classic race with Holland. Collins was unlucky with that fall while leading and Graham was solid in his races.


Rich Hudson 15+2(5), Adam Watson 14+1(5), Kyle Holland 13+2(5), Niall Morton 12+2(5), Vicky Brown 11(5), Joe Twigg 11(5), Ed Morton 10+1(3), Luke Morton 6(3)

Reece Pollitt 20(5), Damian Zareba 17+2(5), Paul Graham 14(5), Ciaran Collins 11+1(5), Mark Grantham 9(4), Max Evans 7(5), Lee Phillips 6(5), John White 4+1 (2).

The League Two match had A&T maintain their unbeaten start to the season by taking the points with an 82-66 victory. A&T kept five riders from the first team, with Sheffield again using the reserves Ed and Luke Morton.  The visitors were always in control, taking four maximum 7-3’s in the first eight races, to lead 46-34 at half time.

They only dropped two heats in the second half, one when using reserve Nathan Holt, the other when Lee Phillips was excluded in the last race. Ed Morton was in superb form for Sheffield, losing only to Collins. However, support was fleeting. Sophie Middleton and Luke Morton both won races, as did the returning Jon Vardy. Sam Haines had a brilliant first race, but was then left dazed after a crash in heat 7. He didn’t come out for the re-run and was replaced by the reserve from his final outing. Collins went through the card unbeaten, getting solid support from Matt Snell, Max Evans and Mark Grantham.


Ed Morton 18(5), Sophie Middleton 9(5), Niamh Morton 9(5), Jon Vardy 9(4), Sam Haines 7+1 (3), Laura Watson 7+1 (5), Luke Morton 6+1(2), Jack Brownell 1(1).

Matt Snell 18(5), Ciaran Collins 17+3 (5), Max Evans 17+1(5), Mark Grantham 13+4(5) , Lee Phillips 8(4), John White 8(5), Nathan Holt 1(1).

The League three match for under 13’s was split by age/ability into two groups. A&T had one rider less but came out winners by 76-72, thanks to top performances from Matt Snell, John White and Nathan Holt (none of who lost to a Sheffield rider).

Lucy Grantham also played her part, winning a thrilling last race from Sheffield’s Lewis Bemrose (who was flying around the outside on the final bend).  Out of the sixteen races, Sheffield managed just four race winners (the improving KD Gittens managing two, with Jack Brownell and Kielan Burton getting one each. Sheffield’s Logan Perkins had the unfortunate draw of facing A & T’s top riders each time he was out, with three of the four being from outside grids.


KD Gittens 14, Jack Brownell 12, Kielan Burton 11, Logan Perkins 11, Lewis Bemrose 10, Joe Brownell 8, George Martin 6.

Nathan Holt 15, Matt Snell 15, John White 15, Lucy Grantham 14, Frank White 11, Aiden Green 6.