MATCH REPORTS: Stars defeated in Scotland

The Sheffield ‘Wosskow Brown’ Stars travelled with a severely weakened squad, only seven riders managing to make the trip to Scotland, to race against both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

An unprecedented set of circumstances (Basketball, Boxing, Car trouble, Exams, Football and Work) all colluded to rob the team of 12 members. First port of call was Cathkin Park for a Northern League Two match against a Glasgow team buoyed by a win last week against Edinburgh.

Sheffield had won five of their last six matches but were always going to struggle by giving away 20 penalty points after having to name Niall Morton in the sextet.

A good performance saw Sheffield to a 77-73 victory on the track, but this became a 77-93 loss after the addition of the penalty points. When Lachlan Mcdougal managed to pass Niamh Morton in heat 2 it gave Glasgow the lead by 11-9.

The next five races were all drawn as the teams employed cagey tactics. Heat 8 was all set for a Sheffield 7-3 until Brandon Kay got past Sophie Middleton on the very last bend, the scores now tied at 40 each.

Colin Gray joined Kay for a Glasgow maximum in heat 10 as the home side went in front again. Sheffield brought the scores level again in heat 12 with a 7-3 maximum, Rob Mawhood passing Kay on the very last corner to join Luke Morton.

The Glasgow youngsters’ legs tying up badly on the last lap. Andy Mcdougall completed a fine match when winning heat 13 (his fourth out of five), with Glasgow again retaking the lead.

A magnificent first bend by Middleton in heat 14 had Sheffield in the lead on the track for the first time, as with Luke Morton the Stars managed their second seven point maximum score.

Niall Morton capped a fine performance with the race win in heat 15, to complete a 20-point maximum return, and with Mawhood in third place Sheffield had secured a very narrow victory.

Andy Mcdougall and Brandon Kay were the race winners for Glasgow, with Joe Beuchmann riding conservatively by shepherding his partner in four of his five races.

For Sheffield Niall Morton gave a confidence boosting display receiving support from Sophie Middleton, Luke Morton and youngest team member Sam Haines.

GLASGOW (73+20pp) 93
Andy Mcdougal  19, Brandon Kay 16, Joe Beuchmann 12+3, Jim Alexander 11+1, Colin Gray 9+2, Lachlan Mcdougal 4, Chic Mackie 2.

Niall Morton 20, Sam Haines 16, Luke Morton 16+2, Rob Mawhood 10+2, Sophie Middleton 10+1, Niamh Morton 5.

Neither team had any under 13’s so the Sheffield riders headed off for the second leg of the tour and a visit to the Edinburgh Falcons.

The Falcons are serious title contenders again this season and were able to name six regular first teamers. The Stars had won their last three Northern League One matches, which included road wins at Hull and Northumbria, which had put them in third place in the League table.

Sheffield had a seven-man team, the first time the Stars have been unable to put out a full team since racing from their Cookson Park base, which included only three first team regulars.

The Falcons sharpened their talons and tore into the Stars, hitting seven maximum seven-point scores in the opening nine races to lead by 61-28 at half time.

Only Kyle Holland had managed to finish ahead of an Edinburgh rider, gaining second places in heats 1 and 8, the home stars making the most of the opportunity to improve their averages.

Holland could have had one further second place, but he crashed heavily in heat 5 going for a gap on the last bend that just wasn’t there. Holland then gained the Stars first race win in heat 10, just managing to hold off the very impressive Neil McPherson.

Kyle Holland came off in Heat 5 challenging for the lead. Photo by George Swanson.

Sheffield’s Kyle Holland came off in Heat 5 challenging for the lead. Photo by George Swanson.

This was a minor blip for the Falcons, they proceeded to hit the maximum seven points in the next three races as they eyed a 120 plus score. Against all the odds Sheffield gained a maximum 7-3 result in heat 14, Holland and Luke Morton finishing ahead of Neil Swanson and the returning from injury Lee Lawrence.

Niall Morton then got the better of Ewan Kennedy and the 120-point score was to elude the Falcons. McPhersons fine match took a turn for the worse as he fell on the first lap of the last race, leaving Sheffield to gain a drawn heat, but the Falcons had battered their visitors by 115-64 to exchange league positions with the Stars (Edinburgh were now third in the table with Sheffield slipping down to fourth).

Kamil Grezla, Craig Newsome and Mikey Hewitson were all unbeaten for Edinburgh, with Holland preventing Jake Slight from joining his teammates on a maximum score. Both teams next face the bottom of the table Heckmondwike, with the Falcons also having a tasty looking visit to league leaders Bury on the same day.

Kamil Grezla 20, Mikey Hewitson 18+2, Craig Newsome 18+2, Jake Slight 15+3, Neil McPherson 14+2, Neil Swanson 13+1, Lee Lawrence 10+1, Ewan Kennedy 7+2.

Kyle Holland 16, Niall Morton 12, Luke Morton 11+2, Sam Haines 7, Rob Mawhood 7, Sophie Middleton 6, Niamh Morton 5.

Sheffield again had to give away 20 penalty points for the League Two, this time due to having to include Kyle Holland in the team.

Edinburgh were in great form and won the match by 76-74 on the track and by 96-74 after the addition of the penalty points.

Sheffield took the lead with a 6-4 from heat one, Holland winning the race with Sophie Middleton in third place after Taylor Murray fell when trying to pass Middleton. Murray did much better in heat 4, leading with a super quick start, as the Falcons got a maximum 7-3 as Callum Cairney came through to put the Falcons two points ahead.

Luke Morton won heat 6 after an entertaining race with Murray, who was providing all the fireworks on the track. The teams then traded 6-4 heat wins, to leave Edinburgh in front by 41-39 at half time.

Sheffield's in-form Luke Morton (left) scored his first ever maximum score. Photo by George Swanson.

Sheffield’s Luke Morton (left) scored his first ever maximum score. Photo by George Swanson.

The final seven races all finished in 5-5 drawn heats, but there was plenty of action on the track. Ewan Kennedy fell in heat 10 while in front, Dode Mitchell and Rob Mawhood swopped places in heat 12, Mitchell making the crucial final pass, Skye Mitchell just failed to put enough pressure on Sam Haines and Niamh Morton in heat 13.

Luke Morton came out on top after a great battle with Cairney in heat 14, then Holland finished the match by piping Gavin Kennedy on the line in heat 15. For the Stars it was as a personal triumph for Luke Morton, who raced to his first ever 20 point maximum score. His stunning form saw him registering five wins, most earned the hard way after bringing off great passing moves.

Kyle Holland was his entertaining self, losing once to Gavin Kennedy. Niamh Morton had her best match of the day, scoring only one last place, having previously run up a sequence of eight, showing great determination.

Gavin Kennedy was always in the thick of the action, as was Taylor Murray (who impressed with two races wins). Callum Cairney and Ewan Kennedy provided solid back-up, while Lewis Foxley beat a Sheffield rider every time he was out on the track. The result puts Edinburgh up to third in the League table, while Sheffield slid the other way (going from third to sixth).

EDINBURGH (76+20pp) 96
Gavin Kennedy 17, Callum Cairney 16+1, Taylor Murray 13+2, Lewis Foxley 11+3, Ewan Kennedy 9+1, Dode Mitchell 8+1, Skye Mitchell 2.

Luke Morton 20, Kyle Holland 19, Niamh Morton 11+2, Sam Haines 10+2, Rob Mawhood 7, Sophie Middleton 7.

Sheffield had no riders for the Under 13’s match at Edinburgh, the young Falcons winning the match by 70-0.