MATCH REPORT: Northern 4’s and Junior League Round 1

Report by Mike Hack

After a two years’ absence, due to the Covid pandemic, there was a welcome return to the Northern Fours and Junior League series. Heckmondwike hosted Round 1 of the 2022 series, on a sunny but cool first day of Spring.

Stockport have pulled out of Division 1 racing, and had to secure the services of Astley & Tyldesley’s Paul Graham, on loan, to make up a team. However, they rode superbly to take the Fours League match win. It was a closely fought match throughout, with A&T, Bury, Sheffield and Stockport battling for the lead throughout the 24 heats. Bury’s challenge faded away in the closing stages, as Stockport finished their races on 46 points after heat 22. Sheffield could still pass them and A&T could match them in the final two races. Ed Morton’s 2nd place for Sheffield in heat 23 set up a last heat decider with both A&T and Sheffield needing a race win to draw level with Stockport. A&T’s Steve Harris led all the way up to the last bend and held off a strong challenge from Sheffield’s Darius Pilas. However, as both riders drifted out, Darren Kent nipped through on the inside to celebrate the consolation of recording the home team’s only race win of the match. Thus, Stockport took the match win, one point ahead of A&T, with Sheffield a further point behind in 3rd place. This was an excellent match and augurs well for the remainder of the six round series.

Northern Fours League Round 1 result

Stockport 46 Astley & Tyldesley 45 Sheffield 44 Bury 38 Hull 34 Heckmondwike 28
Stockport: Jake Read 13, Ben Higham 13, Terry Norman 12, Paul Graham 8.
A&T: Steve Harris 14, Pawel Idziorek 13, Reece Pollitt 12, Duncan Whalley 6.
Sheffield: Ed Morton 15, Darius Pilas 11, Damien Natonski 9, Kielan Burton 6, Laura Watson 3.
Bury: Harry Radford 10, Adam Turnbull 9, Kris Ramsden 7, Danny Taylor 7, Eryk Motala 5.
Hull: Jack Lister 11, Nathan Everett 9, Lewis Foxley 8, Liam Bennett 4, Jacob Francis 2.
Heckmondwike: Darren Kent 11, Patrick Beacock 6, Justin Naylor 4, Stuart Hardacre 4, Tony Le Brasse 3.
Referee – Andy Schofield.

There was an excellent turnout of 25 riders for the u-10 and u-13 categories, of the Junior League. This year’s series sees the categories combined and run on a ladder format, with GP points awarded for each category, based on each rider’s position in their final race. 24 heats of excellent racing followed, with the riders quickly settling into competitive racing in each heat. Sheffield’s Oliver Banyard won the u-13 category, with Bury’s Bobby Dunphy taking the win in the in the u-10 category.

9 riders lined up for the u-16 match. The last race saw the two unbeaten riders meet and Sheffield’s Sam Stansfield pulled away from the inside gate to hold off A&T’s Duncan Whalley, to complete his maximum.

12 riders contested the combined u-19, Division 2 and Women match. On the track, both Sheffield’s Kielan Burton and Heckmondwike’s Darren Kent raced to 16 points maximums. The scores were subsequently adjusted to reflect the three categories being run as one match.

Northern Junior League Round 1 – provisional result

Sheffield 165 Hull 104 Heckmondwike 100 Astley & Tyldesley 75 Bury 70 Stockport 0.

U-10s: Bobby Dunphy (Bury) 16, Harry Gibson (Hull) 15, Charlie Taylor (Sheffield) 14, Levi Edwards (A&T) 13, Charlie Lebrasse (Heckmondwike) 12, Joseph Green (Heckmondwike) 11, Lincoln Ackroyd (Sheffield) 10, Polly Gowans (Hull) 9, Jake Mulholland (A&T) 8, Alexis Woodcock (Hull) 7, Lincoln Davies (A&T) 6.

U-13s: Oliver Banyard (Sheffield) 16, Jayden Hancock (Bury) 15, Lacey Ackroyd (Sheffield) 14, Robin Darlington (Sheffield) 13, Kacie Bennett (Hull) 12, Oscar Belt (A&T) 11, Harvey McLaughlin (Hull) 10, Geo Lebrasse (Heckmondwike) 9, Will Hollich (Hull) 8, Elliott Long (Heckmondwike) 7, Savannah Hancock (Bury) 6, Dan Cowley (Sheffield) 5, Chloe Bassett (A&T) 4, Toby Darlington (Sheffield) 3.

U-16s: Sam Stansfield (Sheffield) 16, Duncan Whalley (A&T) 15, Liam Bennett (Hull) 14, Tom Dunphy (Bury) 13, Layton Sharp (Sheffield) 12, Noah Lyon (Hull) 11, David Hamilton (A&T) 9, Owen Simcock (A&T) 9, Jack Lebrasse (Heckmondwike) 7.

U-19s: Kielan Burton (Sheffield) 16, Jacob Francis (Hull) 11.

Div. 2: Darren Kent (Heckmondwike) 16, Will Banyard (Sheffield) 15, Pat Beacock (Heckmondwike) 15, Justin Naylor (Heckmondwike) 13, Mark Radford (Bury) 11, Stuart Hardacre (Heckmondwike) 10, Steve Mann (Bury) 9, Barry Ashton (Hull) 7.

Women: Laura Watson (Sheffield) 16, Niamh Morton (Sheffield) 15.

Referees – Darren Kent and Ed Morton.