MATCH REPORT: Little League Championships

Report by Ross Mee

The decision to run both the team and individual Little League Championships on the same day for the first time proved to be a great success with ten entries in the team event and sixty riders competing in the three individual events with fifteen clubs being represented. The opportunity to compete in both events on the same certainly proved very popular with participation levels much better than in previous years.

It was great to see the Leicester track surrounded with spectators and their gazebos watching these young riders provide some highly competitive racing throughout a long day which saw 128 races being run.

The day began with the two semi-finals of the team competition.

In Semi-final 1 the Hethersett team led from the start and the competition really was for second place with A&T eventually pipping Hull for the spot. Scores: Hethersett 54, A&T 44, Hull 40, Gt Blakenham 32, Horspath 30

In Semi-final 2 Coventry and the Kesgrave A team led the way finishing tied at the top whilst Bury chased hard. Scores Coventry & Kesgrave A 49, Bury 44, Poole 40, Kesgrave B 18

Josh Pilkington (A&T), Harry Gibson (Hull), Luca El-Labany (Hethersett) and Bobby Dunphy (Bury) all rode unbeaten in their rides.

It was then onto the U8 Individual Championship with 18 riders entered in this. After 4 riders apiece the top four riders then rode in the grand final to decide the Championship and it was Southampton’s Thomas Comben (16pts) who triumphed followed by Kesgrave’s Lincoln Powling (16pts), birthday boy Great Blakenham’s Freddie Mower (15pts) and Horspath’s Bobby Ross Doyle (15pts).

The U10 Girls competition was run alongside the U8s with 9 riders competing in this. The key race was heat 10 when the three unbeaten riders met. It looked as if it was going to be Poole’s Natalia Palka’s title until a last bend pass by her team mate Talullah Curtis gave her the title with Hethersett’s Nyla El-Labany third, which were the final overall places. Nyla was also the best placed U8 rider.

On then to a marathon U10 competition with 33 riders competing in this and the top four from each qualifying for the semi-finals.

From group A Frank Spauls (Norwich) 16pts, Levi Edwards (A&T) 15pts, Samuel Comben (Southampton) 13pts and Carson East (Coventry) 13pts were the qualifiers.

From group B Luca El-Labany (Hethersett) 16pts, Bobby Dunphy (Bury) 15pts, Harry Gibson (Hull) 15pts and Theo Case (Kesgrave) 14pts qualified.

In Semi-final A the finishing order was Bobby Dunphy, Carson East, Harry Gibson and Levi Edwards and in Semi-final B it was Luca El-Labany, Frank Spauls, Samuel Comben, Theo Case.

In the final the title went to Luca El-Labany followed home by Bobby Dunphy, Frank Spauls and Carson East.

On a hot day the riders could have been forgiven for starting to flag after 8-10 rides apiece by this stage but the Team final turned into a highly competitive end to a great day. Despite the efforts of Josh Pilkington and Levi Edwards A&T found themselves chasing the other three. Defending champions Kesgrave led by Theo Case fought hard to retain their title but gradually it became a battle between the other two. The Coventry riders encouraged by their young team manager pairing of Cameron Gill and Jack Reynolds did everything that was asked of them, but in the end it was the all round strength of the Hethersett team that saw them take the title to Norfolk. The team led by Luca El-Labany, unbeaten in 14 rides on the day, Ronnie Harding, Austin Brailey, Oscar Copeland and reserve Nyla El-Labany thoroughly deserved their win.

The real winner though was Cycle Speedway – plenty of excellent racing and a great atmosphere (especially from a very enthusiastic Hull contingent!). The skills that these young riders displayed is a testament to the coaching that the clubs provide.

A big thank you goes to Myke Grimes for once again providing a Champions jersey for the Individual champions.

The Leicester club would like to thank all those who came along and made the day such an enjoyable occasion and particular Andy Schofield and Leon Mower for assisting with the refereeing and the indefatigable Matt Parr for his work in the pits