MATCH REPORT: A&T take first Division One title

Astley & Tyldesley are the 2017 North and Scotland League Division 1 champions after a play off for the title with Stockport. Team Green overcame an early deficit to overhaul their Greater Manchester rivals and run out convincing 95-83 winners at Bury on Wednesday evening.

Stockport got off to the best possible start with a heat 1 7-3 win by the Wright/Higham pairing over Holland/Graham. A&T levelled the scores when the Wlodarczyk/Kosciecha pairing took a 7-3 over Preston/Norman in heat 3, but Stockport regained the lead in the next race.

The Campbell/Read pairing took a 7-2 over Holland, after Graham fell and didn’t finish. However, A&T took the lead for the first time two races later, with a 7-2 of their own, from the Kosciecha/Wlodarczyk pairing over Wright, with Higham excluded for legging.

Another A&T 6-4 was followed by two shared heats, to make the scores close at
the interval, with A&T leading 46-42.

A&T came out sharper in the 2nd half, with three successive 6-4 wins. A 7-3 heat win to the Holland/ Graham pairing over Campbell/ Read in heat 13 put A&T 71-57 ahead and the match was over as a contest. Three of the next four races were shared, with Stockport taking a consolation 7-3 heat win from Preston/ Norman over Holland/ Graham in heat 16.

A&T rounded off the match in fine style, with a well taken 6-4 from the back
by the Kosciecha/Wlodarczyk pairing over Read/ Lush. The first half was a tightly contested affair, but A&T sealed the match with four successive heat wins at the start of the second half. The whole A&T team scored well and rode solidly as a unit.

A&T edged the race winners by 11 to 7, but significantly had fewer last places/no scores by 13 to 5, three of which came in the last four heats. Jake Read, Louis Wright, Michael Preston and Ben Higham scored well for Stockport.

Reece Pollitt, newcomer Jakub Kosciecha and Tomasz Wlodarczyk top scored for A&T, with excellent back up from Kyle Holland and Max Evans. Damian Zareba pulled off two excellent passes to win his two races from reserve. A&T captain Paul Graham lifted the cup at the end of the match, as the A&T riders, officials and supporters celebrated.

This is the first time in the club’s 27 years history that A&T have won the Northern League Division 1 title. First team manager Lee Phillips can be justly proud of steering the team to the title in his first season in charge.

Wednesday night’s win makes it a treble success, in that A&T are the first club ever to win all three Northern League divisions in the same season.

Thanks go to the Bury club for erecting their temporary floodlights and staging the match.

Next match is the Northern Regional Final of the Cycle Speedway Knock-out Cup, which will take place at Gin Pit on Sunday, 2pm start.

Stockport 83
Jake Read 18 (1), Louis Wright 16, Michael Preston 15, Ben Higham 12 (3), Terry Norman 8 (1), Devon Campbell 8, Jack Lush 6, Daniel Mason dnr.

A&T 95
Reece Pollitt 20 (1), Jakub Kosciecha 18 (2), Tomasz Wlodarczyk 18 (1), Kyle Holland 14, Max Evans 12 (2), Damian Zareba 8, Paul Graham 5 (1), Mark
Grantham dnr, Mick Knowles dnr.
Referee – Neil Howarth.