MATCH REPORT: Hull back in the game with Sheffield win

Sheffield Stars’ North and Scotland League One play-off hopes suffered a setback when they lost this midweek encounter at Hull by 82-95, as the home team won for the first time this season.

The Stars were at full strength, with Niall Morton returning to the number one race jacket. Hull though were able to play the trump card of including Ireland international Adam Stephenson (pictured left with Andy Angell) at number one for his first match in a couple of years.

Also returning for Hull was Darren Spencer, who last raced six years ago. Stephenson showed no rustiness as he took the opening heat after passing Niall Morton.

Josh Bellis and Andy Angell teamed up for the first of five maximum 7-3 wins in heat 2 as Hull raced into a 13-6 lead. Stars hit back in the next race with the first of two 7-3 heat wins.

Ed Morton protecting Luke Morton by keeping Nathan Everett at the back. Sheffield had named Ed Morton at number 7, with manager Rob Mawhood using him in every race against the Nathan Everett/David Cooper pairing.

When Ed teamed up with Niall for a Stars second 7-3 race win in heat 7, the scores were tied at 34 each (with 20 of those points coming against the Everett/Cooper pairing). With another Angell/Bellis 7-3 in heat 9 the interval arrived with Hull leading by 46-42.

Niall Morton won heat 10 as the Stars gained a 6-4 heat win to reduce the deficit to two points. Nathan Everett kept Ed in last place in heat 14 (Ed’s only dropped points) and with it extinguished Sheffield’s chances of winning the match.

Darren Spencer rolled back the years in heat 15, and was all set of a maximum with Stephenson when he shed a chain on lap three.

For Sheffield, it was just the one blip in six races for Ed as he topped the scorechart. Adam Watson got three race wins, with Niall and Luke also taking the chequered flag first on one occasion.

If Hull can put this team on track for the remainder of the season then Sheffield and Northumbria will be looking over their shoulders with the likelihood of the Humberside’s climbing above them in the table.

Adam Stephenson 17+2, Dave Lister 14+1, Andy Angell 19+5, Josh Bellis 21, Nathan Everett 13+2, David Cooper 8, Darren Spencer 3, Katie Greaves DNR

Niall Morton 16+2, Laura Watson 5, Adam Watson 17, Niamh Morton 4, Luke Morton 10, Sam Haines 9+1, Ed Morton 20+1, Sammi Marsh 1, Kielan Burton DNR

Ref – Andy Schofield

The Northern League match race became an anti-climax. Andy Angell (holder) elected to take grid 4, with Ed Morton on grid 2. Andy moved while under orders and received an exclusion, forfeiting the title to Ed (who completed the one lap required).

Hull were only able to name four riders for the Northern league Two match, and using Nathan Everett would mean Sheffield being given 20 penalty points.

This didn’t detract from the level of racing though. Both sets of riders putting on a determined display, Sheffield winning by 85-55 (105-55 with the addition of the penalty).

Sam Haines was the star for Sheffield, finishing with 18 points (including the only defeat for Everett in the final race). Sam had ridden with great determination in the League One match, and thoroughly deserved the accolades for his performance here.

All of the Sheffield team recorded at least one race win (or assisted win) with Kielan Burton’s ride in heat 5 and Sammi Marsh in heat 10 particular stand out moments.

Kielan managed to reel in Hull’s Dave Lister in the final metre of heat 5, with Sammi making a jet propelled start to win heat 10.  Josh Bellis remained unbeaten for Hull, with Everett losing just the once (often sportingly taking grid 4 when he was racing on his own.

Spare a thought for Dave Lister who ended up having eleven races on the night, with Sheffield’s young guns wearing him down in the later heats. Katie Greaves plugged away gamely, having a good second race when she chased Niamh Morton/Laura Watson for the full four laps (never being more than three bike lengths away).

Nathan Everett 19, Josh Bellis 20, Dave Lister 10, Katie Greaves 6.

Sam Haines 18, Niamh Morton 13+4, Kielan Burton 14+3, Laura Watson 13+2, Luke Morton 13+2, Sammi Marsh 14+2.

Ref – Andy Schofield

Hull were easy winners of the U13s (Northern League Three) match, by 92-16, as they were able to field eight riders to the Stars one.

Kielan went through the card for his ninth maximum score in League Three. Alex Warrington lost just to Kielan for Hull. With Tabatha Ford (2), Connor Warrington, Fergus Petch and Hetty Stanley also recording race wins.

Alex Warrington 15, Tabatha Ford 13, Hetty Stanley 13, Connor Warrington 13, Fergus Petch 11, Edgar Stanley 10, Stirling Ford 9, Liam Savage 8.

Kielan Burton 16.