CATCH UP: Falcons one win away from the title

Edinburgh Falcons are now just one match away from winning the Northern League One title after a comfortable 95-81 victory over the Sheffield Stars at Cookson Park last weekend.

The Falcons named a full strength team, while Sheffield promoted Sam Haines into the team for Kyle Holland (who would referee the match).

Jake Slight and Neil Swanson broke the run of drawn heats with a 7-3 in heat 4, giving the Falcons the impetus. Kamil Grezla moved at the tapes in heat 5, but Archie McPherson kept the damage to a 6-3 as he followed home Luke Morton.

The Falcons gained 6-4 wins in heats 7 & 8 to edge into a five point lead. Craig Newsome and McPherson then gained the Falcons second 7-3, as the visitors went into the interval leading 49-40.

Action from Sheffield v Edinburgh by George Swanson.

Action from Sheffield v Edinburgh by George Swanson.

Mikey Hewitson fell in heat 11 while putting pressure on Niall Morton, Niall’s race win being only the third by a Sheffield rider. The resulting 6-4 maintained the nine point cushion for the Falcons. The Stars provided four race winners over the last seven heats (Adam Watson, Ed Morton, Niall Morton and Luke Morton), but crucially the other three races all ended in Falcons 7-3’s.

Niall Morton was rewarded for his efforts with his best score of the season, with good support from Luke Morton and Adam Watson. The Falcons had a look of champions about their performance.

Craig Newsome lost just once, with Mikey Hewitson only dropping points due to his fall. Jake Slight, Gavin Kennedy and Neil McPherson all provided solid backing.

The one downside for Edinburgh was the injury to Neil Swanson. Neil came down heavily on the run to the first corner of heat 15. The injury preventing him from taking part in the re-run and likely to keep him sidelined for the crunch match with Bury on the 16th October.

Sheffield 95
Vicky Brown 8, Luke Morton 14+1, Ed Morton 10, Niall Morton 17, Rich Hudson 8, Adam Watson 14+3, Laura Watson 5, Sam Haines 5.

Edinburgh 81
Jake Slight 15, Kamil Grezla 6, Craig Newsome 17+2, Gavin Kennedy 14+1, Marcin Czarkowski 10, Mikey Hewitson 15+2, Neil Swanson 3+1, Neil McPherson 15+1.

After being victorious over Glasgow earlier in the day, Sheffield were looking for another win in an attempt to gate crash third place in Northern League Two.

Edinburgh, outgoing champions, had a strong line up and would provide stiff opposition. The first two heats were 6-4s to Sheffield as they looked to set up victory.

Lewis Foxley and Dode Mitchell raced to a 7-3 in heat 3 to level the scores. Ewen and Gavin Kennedy struck another maximum in heat 5 as the Falcons took control of the match. The next two races were drawn leaving Edinburgh four up at the interval.

After the interval Kielan Burton and Laura Watson both passed Dode Mitchell to gain the Stars first maximum and level the scores. Gavin (2) and Ewen Kennedy were race winners in heats 10, 11 and 13 as the teams stayed level.

Sheffield looked to have settled the result as Laura Watson and Luke Morton raced to a 7-3 in the penultimate heat. Edinburgh would need a maximum score in the last race from youngsters Lewis Foxley and Ewen Kennedy to tie the result.

Sheffield had British under 16 silver medalist, Ed Morton out to secure the second place required for the win. What a race the three would provide. Sam Haines came down on turn one resulting in a re-run with all four.

Sam’s freewheel shattered as the tapes rose in the re-run leaving him stranded on the centre green. With the Falcons first and second Ed Morton was under pressure to get second place. Held out for two laps Ed found an outside pass on Lewis before then passing Ewen with a fine inside pass. At the same time Lewis lined up an inside pass entering turn three at the end of lap three, but the speed he carried took Ed of the track.

The race stopped with the ref’s decision a re-run with just three riders. Sam Haines excluded as he had been passed while not in the race. With Ed on grid 4 he was again left behind both Falcons from the start. With Lewis Foxley comfortably in the lead Ed got the important second place after passing Ewen Kennedy, to give Sheffield a 75-74 win.

Luke Morton was unbeaten (having scored a maximum at Redbraes in the reverse fixture) as he again enjoyed racing the Falcons. Laura Watson and Ed Morton also had race wins, as did Kielan Burton who continued to show how much he’s improving. Ewen Kennedy, Gavin Kennedy and Lewis Foxley won eight races as they almost saw the Falcons home. Dode Mitchell started well, but didn’t beat a Sheffield rider after the interval.

Sheffield 75
Ed Morton 14, Kielan Burton 9+1, Sam Haines 7+2, Laura Watson 15+1, Niamh Morton 8+1, Luke Morton 15+1, Jack Brownell 6, Joe Brownell 1.

Edinburgh 74
Ewen Kennedy 17, James Foxley 3, Gavin Kennedy 18+1, Ciaran Leslie 4+1, Lewis Foxley 16, Dode Mitchell 10+2, Skye Mitchell 6.