MATCH REPORT: Stockport too strong for Sheffield

A depleted Sheffield Stars, with five riders racing in the Laurels at Poole, were no match for title chasing Stockport in this North & Scotland League One fixture. 

The visitors hitting eleven 7-3 maximums on their way to a 110-69 win, the Stars heaviest home defeat of the season. The win sends Stockport into a Championship decider against Astley & Tyldesley. The winners will then host the North & Scotland play off finals next Sunday.

Niall Morton won heat 3 from Terry Norman, with Luke Morton taking third to secure a Stars 6-4. Every other race up to heat 8 was a 7-3 to Stockport, the highlight race being heat 5 when both Louis Wright and Michael Preston powered round Niall Morton on the super-fast Cookson circuit. The Stars only other heat advantage came in heat 9, when Niall Morton and Nigel Howard secured a 7-3 over Terry Norman. Howard showing some good form on his first team debut. 

Heat 11 saw another great race, with Michael Preston and Louis Wright again coming through to get the better of Niall Morton (and preventing what could have been another Morton/Howard 7-3). Niall Morton won heats 15 and 17 to break up the run of maximums for Stockport. Niall Morton led the line well for Sheffield, with Nigel Howard surprising the visitors with his never say die unorthodox style. Sam Haines battled hard for little reward and it was a big ask on Dan Rushton’s return to racing to face the league leaders.

Jake Read and Jack Lush were unbeaten for Stockport, with Sheffield playing smart by keeping Morton and Howard away from facing the GB duo. Terry Norman’s races were always entertaining and young Daniel Mason rode with the confidence a podium place in the British under 14 championship brings.

Sheffield – Sam Haines 11, Dan Rushton 5+1, Jack Brownell 2, Rob Mawhood 5, Luke Morton 7,Kielan Burton 4, Niall Morton 18+1, Nigel Howard 13, Steven Webber 4

Stockport – Jake Read 19+5, Jack Lush 20, Michael Preston 19+3, Louis Wright 19+3, Terry Norman 18+2, Daniel Mason 13+1, Lance McCabe 2
Referee – DAVE SHOAT

Sheffield gained their fourth successive League Two win, by 86-71, after adding on the 20 penalty points received for Stockport’s use of Jake Read. Stockport opened with a 7-3 from Jake Read/Daniel

The visitors then provided four of the next five race winners, the only blot being Nigel Howard beating Michael Preston with a brilliant last bend pass in heat 4. Heats 7 & 8 were quite extraordinary as the teams’ traded 7-0 race wins. Heat 7 had Michael Preston receiving a tapes exclusion and, as he was the only Stockport rider in the race it left Dan Rushton and Joe Brownell the
formality of riding round for a 7-0. 

The next race had both Sheffield riders excluded under the time ruling, following confusion in the Stars pits as to which race the match was on. Stockport then provided every race winner from heat 9 to 15, but the Stars were filling the minor places. Louis Wright finished with a well-taken maximum for Stockport, while Daniel Mason and Michael Preston gained three wins each. Jake Read gave up his maximum by sportingly allowing Jack and Joe Brownell to finish ahead of him in the last race. Dan Rushton, Sam Haines and Kielan Burton finished the season well, though they were unable to challenge Stockport’s big guns of Read, Preston and Wright.
Nigel Howard’s match had that great win over Preston, but also saw exclusions for a strong challenge when passing Louis Wright in heat 12 and being docked a win after crossing the inside line when challenging Daniel Mason in heat 14. The result meant that Stockport missed out on a third place finish in League Two, that spot going to newcomers Fife Revolutions.

Sheffield – Rob Mawhood 5, Luke Morton 7+1, Dan Rushton 9+1, Sam Haines 9+3, Kielan Burton 11+1, Nigel Howard 10, Steven Webber 4+2, Jack Brownell 6, Joe Brownell 5+2

Stockport – Jake Read 15+2, Daniel Mason 15+1, No Rider, Michael Preston 15, Louis Wright 20, Lance McCabe 6

With Stockport having no riders qualified for the under 13’s League Three match. It was left to the three Sheffield riders to have just the one race to produce a 9-0 victory. Kielan Burton took the race win to complete sixteen matches unbeaten. The win achieved the hard way, after passing both Jack Brownell and Joe Brownell.

The Sheffield riders had a great day out on the South Coast, in the Laurels at Poole. Ed Morton winning the junior title (the first Stars rider to do so), with Adam Watson making it Stars 1-2. Ed won four of his five races to finish with 19 points, Adam had three race wins in his 18-point total. Niamh
Morton had one race win from her five rides, but four-second places put her in fifth overall with 16 points. Laura Watson had two race wins, but a tapes exclusion meant she would finish with 13 points. Sammi Marsh scored 5 points to finish tied in fifteenth place.