A&T Secure League One Title In Hard Fought Win, Still All To Play For In League Two As Sheffield Come Out On Top!

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Updated: August 11, 2018

A full strength Sheffield Stars put in a valiant effort as they went down to defeat by 87-93 against a depleted league leaders Astley (who were missing four of their top riders).  Astley showed why they were champions in 2017 with an accomplished team performance. News later filtered through that Stockport had lost at Hull, which gave Team Green back-to-back Northern league One championship titles. Astley went in front with a Pawel Idziorek/Adam Phillips 6-4 win in heat 3. Sheffield replied with a maximum 7-3 race win from Ed and Niall Morton in heat 4, the Stars leading for the only time by 21-19. Astley fired straight back with a Steve Harris/Ciaran Collins 6-4 in heat 5 and a maximum 7-3 from Idziorek/Phillips, after a well rode first bend in heat 6. Astley now led by 28-32, a lead that was never relinquished. Adam Watson produced a terrific last bend pass on Collins in heat 7, but Paul Graham comfortably held Chris Turner to make it a drawn heat. Astley further increased their lead with another seven point score in heat 10, Collins and Idziorek easily accounting for Luke Morton and Laura Watson. A technically ridden heat 12 almost had a surprise winner in Laura Watson. Niall Morton, Adam Phillips and Idziorek were all concentrating on each other as Laura sped away. Pawel eventually passed on lap three, but Niall had kept Adam behind (the Astley rider a victim of the dry/slippy track when falling on the last corner).  The track conditions would play its part in the Stars last chance of salvaging something from the match. Chris Turner coming to grief on the first corner while on the outside of Adam Phillips/Mick Knowles. Pawel completed a fine 24 point maximum score with victory in heat 17, Steve Harris in second place for Astley’s third maximum seven point score and confirmation of the league points. Niall Morton completed his own personal triumph with an assisted win in the final race 7-3 with brother Ed, this is becoming a habit now for the brothers. Sheffield remain bottom and with only two fixtures remaining it looks like the play-offs are out of reach. For Astley the champagne corks will be popping with next week’s home fixture against Hull.

Scorers

SHEFFIELD STARS – Luke Morton 11+1, Ed Morton 20, Adam Watson 18+2, Chris Turner 10+1, Laura Watson 7, Niall Morton 20+3, Kielan Burton 1.

ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY – Steve Harris 19+1, Mick Knowles 7+2, Ciaran Collins 15+2, Paul Graham 11+2, Pawel Idziorek 24, Emily Burgess 1, Adam Phillips 16+1.

Referee – Rob Mawhood

Sheffield won the Division 2 match by 81-68, keeping their title hopes alive while at the same time putting a dent in Astley’s ambitions for back-to-back championships. The Stars saw a return to racing for Jeremy Knight, Frank’s son hitting the track for the first time in almost ten years. Astley were severely depleted, with six riders away on holiday. Luke Morton won the opening race, on his way to an unbeaten 16-point maximum, with Mick Knowles losing for the only time as he protected Charlie Burgess into second place from the always trying Steven Webber. Sheffield took the lead in heat 2, with Kielan Burton executing an inside pass on Emily Burgess. The Stars moved into an eleven point lead with successive maximum 7 point race scores in heats 5 and 6. Laura Watson passed Emily Burgess in heat 5, with the Astley youngster then excluded after the referee spotted her use her foot as a break in the back wheel (in an attempt to change direction for an attack to re-pass Laura). Heat 6 had Steven Webber produce a powerful first lap to join Luke for the maximum score. Mick was too strong for Laura in heat 11, with Astley reducing the score to 59-50 as Charlie Burgess held off Jeremy Knight. Sheffield scored their third maximum 7 points in heat 12 as James Morris joined Kielan to record the full house, eventually getting the better of Tom Morrissey (who had already beaten him four times). Astley got their second race advantage with a 6-4 in heat 14, with Mick winning for the fourth time, but the league points had been secured by Sheffield.

 

Scorers

SHEFFIELD STARS – Luke Morton 16, Steven Webber 12+2, Laura Watson 19, Edward Balfour 3, James Morris 11+3, Kielan Burton 17, Jeremy Knight 3.

ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY – Charlie Burgess 10+1, Mick Knowles 18+1, Emily Burgess 12, Lewis Skitterall 8+1, Tom Morrissey 12+1, Duncan Whalley 8+2.

Referee – Niall Morton

Astley were comfortable winners of the Division Three match, by 82-30. Sheer weight of numbers, Astley had seven riders to Sheffield’s three, meaning the result was a forgone conclusion. The win means Astley are now one victory away from a sixth successive Division Three championship. The riders were split into two groups (under 10 and under 13). Duncan Whalley and Aiden Green each defeated the other once, in some very close racing. Edward Balfour and Freddie Cox each scoring a race victory. Ada Cox and Erin Balfour both had their own personal battles, with each having one success.

Scorers

SHEFFIELD STARS – Edward Balfour 12, James Morris 11, Erin Balfour 7.

ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY – Aiden Green 15, Tom Morrissey 15, Duncan Whalley 15, Charlie Burgess 10, Freddie Cox 10, Lewis Skitterall 10, Ada Cox 7.

Referee – Dave Shoat

 

 

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