Sheffield Keep Up The Pressure In Division 2

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Updated: May 7, 2018

Sheffield Stars headed North to Scotland for a double header of Northern League Two fixtures against Fife Revolution and Glasgow Cyclones, knowing that a difficult task lay ahead. Not only were the Stars up against the league leaders (Fife) but they would be conceding 25 points at the start of each match after drafting in Edinburgh based Division One rider Niall Morton to cover for absentees. Rider unavailability also led to a last minute call up for Club Chair Rob Mawhood, for his first match since July 2017.

The Fife fastbowl, within the grounds of Queen Anne High School, provided some top class racing with Sheffield going down to defeat by 71-79 (which became 104 after the addition of the penalty points) as Fife’s unbeaten run rolled on. The opening three races finished as 5-5 drawn heats before the deadlock was broken by a first 7-3 maximum win from Fife’s Harry Langdale and Jake Ferguson, who both passed Laura Watson on the first lap after Rob Mawhood was not in position to help Laura defend the lead. Sheffield briefly came back into the contest after a terrific ride from Kielan Burton in heat 6, a race that will be talked about for many moons. Niall Morton led from the start with Craig Hardie comfortable in second place. Ferguson passed Burton on the start of lap 2 for what looked like another drawn heat. Burton then got up a head of steam and on the start of lap 3 and surged round the outside of Ferguson entering turn one, with Niall keeping things tight at the front, the momentum then took the Stars youngster around Hardie (with Niall doing his bit to squeeze the room Hardie had to work with). Into the final lap and Niall protected brilliantly for the Stars only 7-3 result of the match. Fife hit back immediately with their second 7 pointer from Vas Hill and Lewis Alsop, Fife now leading by 38-32. Sheffield provided the race winner for the next five races, two each for Luke and Niall and another for Kielan. However, only heat 12 had resulted in a Stars heat win, a 6-4 that brought Sheffield within 4 points of their hosts. Fife though are learning the art of team riding very rapidly and Hardie/Ferguson got a big 7 point heat score in race 13 which effectively sealed a win on the track for Fife. Vas Hill finished off the match by defeating Niall in the last race, showing how much the young Fife rider is improving.

Scorers

SHEFFIELD – Luke Morton 15+2, Rob Mawhood 9, Niamh Morton 6+1, Laura Watson 10, Niall Morton 18+1, Kielan Burton 13+1.

FIFE – Craig Hardie 12+2, Jake Ferguson 9+1, Vas Hill 15+1, Lewis Alsop 15+2, John Hutton 16+1, Harry Langdale 6, Josh Adamson 6+1.

Ref – CRAIG MASSON

Sheffield then departed from Dunfermline and set off for Glasgow, and the second leg of this double-header race day. Sheffield named the same six riders, and used the same pairings, hoping that they could overcome the 25-point penalty. Glasgow were without their Northumbria based riders (Shane Gray and Keith Oldham) and gave a debut to Chris Flynn (a MTB rider with just one practice session under his belt). The match ebbed and flowed, but a late flurry of 7-point race scores helped Sheffield to a hard fought 90-85 victory.

The Stars provided the race winner in all of the first six races, three finishing as 7-3 maximum wins, with Glasgow’s lead down to 11 points. Highlights here were Laura Watson showing her GB experience to assist Rob Mawhood in heat 4, with Kielan and Niall gaining a big seven pointer in heat 6 over Joe Beuckmann/Jim Alexander, Niall blasting inside the Glasgow duo down the back straight on lap one. Sandwiched in between was a terrific scrap between Luke and Andy MacDougal, the Glasgow man losing by just a wheel’s length at the finish line. Andy MacDougal rode a brilliantly tactical race in heat 7 to gain the Cyclones only 7-3 race win, as he shepherded Colin Gray ahead of Laura and Niamh. The home team were now 15 points in front, with Sheffield requiring something special to gain the match points. When Beuckmann beat Niall in heat 10 and Andy MacDougal won heat 11, (Luke falling when pressurised by the home star) the Cyclones were leading by nine with just four races remaining. Kielan and Niall got the first of three successive 7-3 maximum wins for the Stars in heat 12, Niall making sure that the ever-improving Chris Flynn had no room to pass. Niamh and Laura put their GB experience to use in heat 13, another big 7-3 to the Stars over Beuckmann/Alexander. Rob then joined Kielan for the Stars final seven pointer in heat 14, giving Sheffield the lead for the first time and knowing they had the luxury of Niall racing in the final heat. Niall won to put the icing on the cake, with Luke coming through for third place after passing a tiring Beuckmann (who it seemed had expended all of his energies in beating Niall in heat 10).

Two great matches, both ridden in excellent spirit. The return matches in October will be matches not to be missed on the evidence of today.

 

 

Scorers

SHEFFIELD – Luke Morton 14+1, Rob Mawhood 16, Niamh Morton 14+3, Laura Watson 13+4, Niall Morton 17+2, Kielan Burton 16+1.

GLASGOW – Joe Beuckmann 11+1, Jim Alexander 9, Andy MacDougal 15+2, Colin Gray 11, Lachlan MacDougal 6, Chris Flynn 8. Ben Hutton, Jake Lawrie, Zander Parks DNR.

REF – CHIC MACKIE

Sheffield travelled without any under 13’s for the League Three matches, conceding 28-0 losses to both Fife and Glasgow, who each had three riders suitable for the category.

The Stars juniors had been in action at Astley on Saturday in the second regional round of the Little League and BYJL. Edward Balfour gained a fourth place finish in the under 10’s event, a top class effort as this was only his second outing (he was even leading two of his races, which bodes well for the future). Logan Perkins and Joe Brownell were the two Stars riders to contest the under 12’s event. Logan placed 2nd with Joe 4th. Logan having some great races with his close friend and nemesis John White (A and T). The under 14’s event saw only Sheffield riders in competition. Kielan Burton reeling of five straight wins, for his second successive GP first place. Jack Brownell and James Morris (making his debut) were involved in some close racing. Jack getting the better of James on three occasions, unfortunately for Jack it was James who took the second place in the GP final (claiming the 20 points to go level in second place behind Kielan on 50 points).

 

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