MATCH REPORT: North & Scotland KO Cup

Report by Rob Mawhood, Photos by Emily Morton and Fife CSC

Sheffield Stars lifted the North and Scotland KO Cup for the first time since 2007 with a solid team effort at Edinburgh’s Redbraes Raceway.
The competition became a straight final when League One leaders Astley and Tyldesley had to withdraw due to rider unavailability.
Sheffield lined up with a strong quintet, four or the five riders that won the unofficial title at Hull in 2021.
Newboys the Fife Revolution had a strong quintet, be it new to racing at this level. Bury, Hull and hosts Edinburgh were missing star riders.
To show how equal the teams were, each team won a race in the opening quarter of the match, Jake Slight, Niall Morton, Danny Taylor, Lewis Foxley and Kayden Davidson, which ended with Sheffield holding a one point lead (12-11) over Bury. Edinburgh, Fife and Hull all on 9. The next five races saw Bury (Mike Baldock, Kaysor Mohammedi) and Hull (Nathan Everett, Lewis Foxley) provide two race winners each, Sheffield with the other through Ed Morton. Half time scores Sheffield 25, Bury 23, Hull 19, Fife 17, Edinburgh 16.
Sheffield surged ahead in the third quarter with race wins for Ed Morton, Niall Morton and Kyle Holland. Hull, through Nathan Everett and Lewis Foxley (unbeaten from three races) were the other race winners. Sheffield now led on 39 from Bury (29), Hull (29), Fife (28) and Edinburgh (24). Bury suffering from an exclusion to Mike Baldock.
It looked as if the final quarter was going to be all about the chase for runners up spot.
Sheffield confirmed the inevitable when Kielan Burton won his first race in heat 17, putting the Stars in an uncatchable position.
A Mike Baldock win in heat 16, followed by wins for Nathan Everett (his third) in heat 18 and Kayden Davidson (his second) in heat 19 meant any one of three teams could be runners up.
Going in to the final race Sheffield had finished on 51, with Bury on 37 and Fife and Hull on 36.
Heat 20 was fittingly won by Jake Slight (Edinburgh) who defeated his ex Falcons team mate Lewis Foxley (Hull) from Danny Taylor (Bury). The unfortunate Jake Ferguson (Fife) received an exclusion. This left Bury and Hull level on 39 and a run off required to decide 2nd and 3rd places.
Bury’s Mike Baldock led the run off from inside gate and was awarded the win when Nathan Everett (Hull) was excluded for excessive force on turn two of lap two, the final 123 being the same as at Hull in 2021.
Sheffield were solid throughout, not having a single last place. Bury had race winners in Baldock, Taylor and Mohammedi. Hull had Everett and Foxley lose only once each. Fife had that last race exclusion prove costly on a possible podium place, Davidson and Lewis Alsop proving they have adapted well to Division One racing. Edinburgh had two race wins for Jake Slight, but are in a rebuild phase.

The victorious Sheffield team

The competing teams

Scores and scorers

Edinburgh (33) – Neil McPherson 9, Jake Slight 12, Jason Keith 6, Alex Mathews 6, Paul Kelly DNR
Sheffield (51) – Niall Morton 14, Kielan Burton 11, Kyle Holland 12, Ed Morton 11, Luke Morton 3.
Bury (39) – Kaysor Mohammedi 8, Eryk Motala 3, Danny Taylor 10, Mike Baldock 10, Will Owens 8.
Hull (39) – Lewis Foxley 15, Jacob Francis 4, Liam Bennett 5, Nathan Everett 15
Fife (36) – Lewis Alsop 10, Harris Alsop 8, Kayden Davidson 13, Victor Hill 3, Jake Ferguson 2.

2nd place run off

1st Mike Baldock, 2nd Nathan Everett (excluded excessive force).

Referee – Ewan Tulloch