MATCH REPORT: 2 Wins for A&T over Heckmondwike

Report by Mike Hack, Photos courtesy of Catherine White

Astley & Tyldesley came out on top of both North & Scotland League matches against Heckmondwike, at Gin Pit, on a warm Sunday afternoon.

The Division 2 match was the main match of the day, with a very experienced Heckmondwike team of veteran riders looking for a win to maintain their title challenge. In contrast, A&T fielded a team entirely of youth and junior riders. The first four races were all shared points, before A&T broke the deadlock with a 6-4 win to the Oscar Belt/ Owen Simcock pairing over Dave O’Callaghan, after Pat Beacock fell. A&T had two chances to increase their lead, but first Belt and then Simcock were relegated to the back in successive races. Five successive races were shared in what was a tactical stalemate. Heckmondwike levelled the scores in heat 11, with their only heat win of the match, with a 6-4 to the Darren Kent/ O’Callaghan pairing over Frank White/ Belt. Another two 5-5s followed, to keep the match scores level, before a dramatic heat 14. Duncan Whalley took the lead, with Kent in hot pursuit. Frank White in third place kept the pressure on Kent, who slipped, as he made a move to pass Whalley at the end of the third lap. White went past to join his team mate for a crucial 7-3 heat win. Mark Rushby took his second win of the match in heat 15, but John White was content to shepherd home his partner, Belt, to seal a four points victory for A&T, 77-73.

A&T provided the race winner in 12 of the 15 races, with Duncan Whalley racing to maximum points. There were excellent scores from John and Frank White, with Oscar Belt providing the necessary support for A&T’s top three riders. A solid scoring Heckmondwike team were content to pack the minor places in ten of the races, but a solitary heat win was insufficient. Mark Rushby and Darren Kent were the visitors only race winners.

North & Scotland League Division 2 result

Astley & Tyldesley 77 Heckmondwike 73

A&T: Duncan Whalley 20, John White 18 (1), Frank White 16 (2), Oscar Belt 12, Owen Simcock 6, Levi Edwards 5, Alex Lawless dnr.

Heckmondwike: Mark Rushby 16 (1), Darren Kent 14, Ian Johnson 12 (3), Justin Naylor 11 (1), Pat Beacock 10 (3), Dave O’Callaghan 10 (2), Lee Warhurst dnr, Elliot Long dnr.

Referee – Chaz Whalley.

A&T ran out convincing winners in the Division 3 match, 84-22. Alex Lawless and Oscar Belt raced unbeaten in the u-10 and u-13 categories respectively.

Northern League Division 3 result

Astley & Tyldesley 84 Heckmondwike 22

A&T: Alex Lawless 16, Oscar Belt 16, Josh Pilkington 14, Charlotte Brighouse 12, Levi Edwards 10, Elijah Rechembei 8, Amelia Harrison-Jones 8.

Heckmondwike: Elliot Long 12, Joseph Green 10.

Referee – Chaz Whalley.

It was the final round of the British Youth & Junior League national series, at Poole, on Saturday. Frank White rode unbeaten all day to win the u-12 Grand Prix series with a maximum score of 80 GP points. This completes a remarkable “double double” of British title wins for Frank – he has won both the British u-12 Boys Individual title and British u-12 Grand Prix series in 2022 and 2023.

Older brother John scored solidly in the u-18 category, resulting in 3rd place on the day and 2nd place overall in the series.