Speedway: Belle Vue Avoid Late Sting by the Bees

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BELLE VUE ACES   50   –   42   COVENTRY BEES 

 

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 Scott Nicholls Battles Coventry’s Krzysztof Kasprzak

 : Pic by Historic Speedway Ellesmere Port FB

A bumper Bank Holiday crowd swelled the stands of the National Speedway Stadium on Monday as the Belle Vue Aces exacted some revenge for their loss down at Brandon on Friday Evening with a 50-42 win against their bogey side the Coventry Bees.  The meeting was delayed by 30 minutes due to a massive crowd trying to get inside and the wait was worthwhile for all those fans in attendance.

Friday night saw the Aces going down to their opponents after they had been in a great position to win the match and so they looked to bounce back and also look to win their first league match at their new stadium following their loss to the Swindon Robins a few weeks ago. Belle Vue got off to a great as Australian Max Fricke equalled the track record clocking 60 seconds dead in the opening heat, as he and Slovenian Grand Prix star Matej Zagar helped secured a maximum 5-1 for the Aces after Coventry’s Jason Garrity had anticipated the start a bit too early and went through the tapes which saw him starting 15 metres back.  

Steve Worrall then took the reserves race ahead of James Sarjeant and fellow Aces colleague Joe Jacobs for a 4-2 heat win in the home sides favour and looked to be a on a big score. Belle Vue then increased their lead with a 5-1 from Craig Cook and Captain Scott Nicholls in heat 3 to see the the Aces move into double figure with a 14-4 scoreline. Heat 4 then saw Steve Worrall going through the tapes much like Garrity did in the first race and so had him going off 15 metres back in the re-run. In the re-run itself it saw Brother Richie making the gate for the home side and from then on it was all about his sibling Steve, as the Belle Vue number 7 caught up on the back straight with the Bees pair and managed to firstly get pass Ashley Morris who was guesting for Coventry and then with Sarjeant doing his best to holding back the advancing Worrall brother- Steve, it saw him then finding drive to fire himself by the Coventry rider and get into second for a 5-1 and  delighted the home fans.

Coventry Team Manager Gary Havelock then nominated Jason Garrity for a tactical ride in which raised a lot of eyebrows amongst the crowd, as the Droylsden-born rider seemed a shock choice for going for double points at that point in time. Referee Jim Lawrence brought the riders back in the first running of the heat as Garrity was adjudged to have made a big rolling start from the gate and to be fair on both side, there was a case of blatant jumps at the gate on both sides going unpunished by the referee and was a recurring theme in the meeting. The re-run saw Max Fricke taking the race win ahead of Garrity and Kacper Woryna after the Coventry reserve managed to find a way by Jacobs to see a 5-3 race win and first heat advantage for the Bees in the match. Coventry then picked up another a second race advantage in Heat 6 when Krzysztof Kasprzak blasted away from the gate and that led to a brilliant race between Scott Nicholls and Chris Bomber battling it out for second place and saw them passing each other numerous times until Nicholls just managed to hang on for second place and saw a 4-2 to the visitors.

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Bees Duo Kasprzak & Harris lead the ACES:

 Pic by Historic SpeedwayEllesmere Port FB

 

Matej Zagar then broke the track record in Heat 7 after the Slovenian flew away from the gate and clocked 59.8 and had team mate Craig Cook missing the start but making a swooping move round the outside of his opponents to go from last to second entering the second lap and stayed their for a 5-1 maximum for the Aces. Heat 8 saw one of the most sublime speedway races you will likely across for many years, as an all British battle broke out between Jason Garrity the two Worrall brothers. The Aces got out on a 5-1 and that was until the Bees rider got by Steve Worrall into second and saw him re-passed again by the Belle Vue man as the three riders were all so close to one another in the whole race.  Steve Worrall then tried everything to retake Garrity again as the Coventry man hunted down Richie toward the line and was beaten by inches for the win. After the race all three riders shook hands as the crowd rose to their feet to applaud an incredible effort by all three in the race and saw some great sportsmanship by all.

When heat 9 came around it saw another jump at the start by Sarjeant going unpunished and saw Max Fricke coming to a stop as he expected the red lights to be put on, but the lights weren’t forthcoming and so the race continued on and had the Australian almost half a lap behind due to it which allowed Morris joining his team mate for a 5-1 and saw the start of a late rally for the Bees in the match. In heat 10 Jason Garrity once again was in the thick of the action as the British rider went from last to second with a sensational move on both Cook and Nicholls to join Kasprzak at the front for another 5-1 for the Midlands side, and the home side’s 16 point margin shrunk to just a 8 point lead in five races left to go. 

Danny King rode to his first three points of the match in a shared heat 11, after King had made a great start to pull away from Zagar and Fricke, that was before Chris Harris found himself up with his team mate on a 5-1 until the Belle Vue boys managed to quickly past the Cornishman. Steve Worrall and Joe Jacobs then stemmed the Bees revival momentarily with a 4-2 to see the Aces clawing their way to victory instead of running away with it like it had looked early doors in the meeting. Chris Harris finally found his gating boots late in the meeting too, as heat 13 saw Cook and Zagar almost dumbfounded by the power that Kasprzak managed to generate as he roared by them both to see Coventry scoring a big 5-1 in the meeting. 

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Scott Nicholls holding off Danny King  in Heat 14
:Pic by Historic Speedway Ellesmere Port

The situation was that the home side needed just four points from their final two races to clinch victory, while Coventry needed two 5-1’s to get an unlikely win in what was an enthralling meeting. With the Aces win hanging by a thread after the late surge by the Bees, it saw a captain’s performance by Scott Nicholls to help steer his side to victory and also a slice of luck too after Nicholls was forced to come around the outside of Ashley Morris in heat 14 and had the Bees guest suffering an engine failure that all but blown their hopes of victory as it allowed Richie Worrall to come through into third and seal the win. Despite King’s valiant attempt of trying everything to get by Nicholls he was just wasn’t able to do so and the victory was secured with a race to go and saw Nicholls redeeming himself after a disastrous meeting down in Coventry on Friday and saw him getting the Aces over the line.  The final race of the night end proceedings on what had been a brilliant afternoon’s racing with another stunning heat, as Zagar got the better of the Coventry duo and had Nicholls having another battle with Kasprzak this time and saw him passing and re-passing before the Polish rider turned his attentions to Zagar and had Nicholls and Harris fighting for third. The match ended with a shared heat as Harris held off Nicholls and saw every fan in the NSS applauding some fantastic action and possibly one of the best meetings seen at a Belle Vue track since the old Hyde Road days.

Belle Vue Aces = 50


1. Matej Zagar – 2*,3,2,1,3 = 11+1
2. Max Fricke – 3,3,0,1* = 7+1
3. Scott Nicholls – 2*,2,0,3,0 = 7+1
4. Richie Worrall – 3,0,3,1 = 7
5. Craig Cook – 3,2*,1,0 = 6+1
6. Joe Jacobs – 1,0,1,1 = 3
7. Steve Worrall – 3,2*,1,3 = 9+1

Coventry Bees = 42

1. Krzysztof Kasprzak – 1,3,3,2*,2 = 11+1
2. Jason Garrity – 0,4^,2,2* = 8+1
3. Danny King – 1,1,3,2 = 7
4. Ashley Morris (Guest) – 0,0,2*,EF = 2+1
5. Chris Harris – 0,1,0,3,1* = 5+1
6. Kacper Woryna – 0,1*,0,2 = 3+1
7. James Sarjeant – 2,1,3,0 = 6

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Speedway: Colts Clip Eagles Wings At NSS

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BELLE VUE COLTS     53  –  37  EASTBOURNE EAGLES

For the second successive week in a row for the Cool Running Belle Vue Colts it saw them taking all points on offer and had another Colt in Lee Payne roaring to a 15-point maximum in the home sides 53-37 victory over the Eastbourne Eagles at the National Speedway Stadium on Friday night.After the fabulous racing the week prior against the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, it saw yet more of the same and perhaps even better racing too as the Colts shown their liking once more to their new surroundings with victory to remain unbeaten at home. 

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Both sides had some changes to their respective line-ups; as the visiting Eastbourne Eagles were missing Georgie Wood who was caught up in traffic and so therefore was forced to use rider replacement. Adam Ellis was missing due to a prior engagement in Germany and with reserve Nick Phillips missing through injury it saw Birmingham duo of Rob Branford spearheading the Eagles attack with fellow Brummies rider Jack Parkinson-Blackburn included as well and Ryan McDonald to make up the squad.

Belle Vue were missing their own star man from last week win, as Dan Bewley was riding for his Premier League club the Edinburgh Monarchs up in Scotland after in reciprocating favour from the Belle Vue management after allowing him to ride for the Colts last week in their opening home meeting. That meant that the Aces used their asset Joe Lawlor to take Bewley’s place and saw the youngster making it consecutive weeks as a guest booking, after he rode against his parent club last week with the Fen Tigers. The opening race of the match saw David Holt surprising the two number one riders on show, as he made the better gate and saw his team partner in Matt Williamson on his home debut; riding the outside and getting past Rob Branford for second place before riding onto victory while Branford moved into second as he got the better of Holt to see an opening 4-2 heat win for the Belle Vue outfit.

Charley Powell and Luke Harris then hit back for the visitors as they put Eastbourne in ahead in the match with a 5-1 heat advantage in the reserves race and that was as good as it got for the Eagles in the meeting. Heat 3 saw a brilliant race between Rob Shuttleworth and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn for second place; as David Holt took the race win and saw the battle behind him riveting to watch. From the start it saw both riders racing hard and saw Jack Parkinson-Blackburn making a the opening move as he came up the inside of Rob Shuttleworth on the second bend of the opening lap to claim second, and that saw the Colts rider who had stayed on his tail for the whole race returning the favour on the final bend as he dived up the inside to get a 5-1 for the home side. Two successive 5-1 heat wins for the Colts then took the scoreline to 18-12 after five races gone and the Colts were looking good for that lead.

A couple of shared races saw the Colts maintaining their six point lead in the contest and that then was followed by a big crash in heat 8 after Eastbourne’s Charley Powell locked up on the fourth bend and gave Luke Harris and Andy Mellish no where to go but collect them and saw Mellish coming off the worst. Andy Mellish was put on a stretcher and driven to the pits to be assessed by the doctor and had sustained a hip injury in the incident and was lucky it wasn’t a collarbone injury. Powell was excluded for the rerun of the race and also saw Joe Lawlor taking a reserve ride for the injured Belle Vue man who was then withdrawn from the match. Lawlor who took the race win in the rerun of it, saw him blasting out of the gates and had David Holt protecting his team mate from Luke Harris for almost the whole race and looked a nailed on 5-1 for the Colts, but an error on the last bend allowed the Eagles man to swoop by for a 4-2 instead.

Heat 9 and 10 produced two of the most spectacular races and both involved Eastbourne rider Jake Knight in the thick of the action too. Firstly him and Rob Shuttleworth was involved in another candidate for race of the night after they both seemed to pass each other on almost every lap; that was until Shuttleworth nipping just ahead of him to take the race win and the points. In the next heat it saw Knight battling with Matt Williamson and had the Belle Vue man looking to have to have lost the race as they came off the final bend, that was till Williamson found a lot of drive and propelled himself ahead of Knight and was raised a clench fist as he took the chequered flag to see a stunning race and have the Eagles man unlucky to lose out twice in the two best best races of the night.

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Both sides picked up a 4-2 heat advantage a piece in the following two races and saw the score moving onto 44-34 in favour of the Colts with heat 13 abound. Heat 13 saw ever rider having the lead in the race at some point during the four laps and was eventually won by Lee Payne as he maintained his maximum for the meeting. Tom Woolley and Joe Lawlor then team rode for a 5-1 for the home in Heat 14 and in doing so sealed the win for the hosts and made it two wins out of two on their new track; and three successive victories on the bounce for the Belle Vue Colts in the league. That wasn’t the end of the racing though, as Heat 15 saw another good race and had Lee Payne flying from the tapes to take victory and see a another battle between Rob Shuttleworth and Rob Branford. Shuttleworth made a good move coming out of turns 3 and 4 to move into third position and that saw the guest rider for the Eagles nearly returning the favour on the final lap, but the Belle Vue rider managed to hold on for third. Speaking of holding on, Jake Knight who scored 12 points with six successive second places almost threw away a point when he lifted coming out of the final bend of the race but just managed to correct himself and hold out.

Lee Payne completed his 15 point maximum with the heat win and made it two riders in a row for the Colts side to claim a sweep of the points on the score chart and was a thoroughly deserved one too for the man from Wigan. The Belle Vue Colts followed up their win on Friday night with a brilliant 52-38 victory against the Stoke Potters at Loomer Road on Saturday and sees them taking a 14 point lead back to the National Speedway Stadium next Wednesday night for the second leg of the National League Knock-out Cup. Guest rider for the Colts in Luke Bowen saw him scoring a paid maximum of 10+2 for the Manchester side and was well supported by Rob Shuttleworth with 12+1 and former Stoke Potter Lee Payne who scored 12 points in his return to his old digs. New sensation for the Belle Vue side in 21 year old Daniel Bewley, saw him making 15+1 in his six rides to see another successful evening for the Belle Vue youngsters.

Belle Vue Colts : 53
1. Matt Williamson — 3, 3, 3, 0 = 9
2. David Holt — 1, 0, 1, 0 = 2
3. Rob Shuttleworth — 2′, 3, 3, 2, 1 = 11+1
4. Tom Woolley — 3, 1, 1, 3 = 8
5. Lee Payne — 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 = 15 Maximum
6. Joe Lawlor — 1, 0, 3, 1, 0, 2′ = 7+1
7. Andy Mellish — 0, 1 WITHDRAWN = 1

Eastbourne Eagles : 37
1. Robert Branford (G) — 2, 2, 2, 1′, 0 = 7+1
2. Ryan Macdonald (G) — F, R, 0 = 0
3. Jack Parkinson-Blackburn (G) — 1, 2, 1′, 3 = 7+1
4. Georgie Wood — R/R (RM-R, CP-1′, JK-2, LH-1) = 4+1
5. Jake Knight — 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 = 12
6. Luke Harris — 2′, 1′, 2, 0, 1, 1 = 7+2
7. Charley Powell — 3, Fx, 1′, Fx, F, 0 = 4+1

Sledge Hockey: Phoenix Melt The Steelkings

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SHEFFIELD STEELKINGS   0 – 8   MANCHESTER PHOENIX 

 

 

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Manchester Phoenix bounced back from their 7-1 defeat to the Peterborough Phantoms last weekend in their league opener with a 8-0 win in South Yorkshire, as the Manchester side gave a ‘Royal beating’ so to speak to the Sheffield Steelkings at Ice Sheffield on Sunday afternoon. Phoenix duo Anthony Booth and Rob Allen both bagged hat trick’s in the game as Manchester got their season back on track with a big victory in the War of the Roses on the Sledge.

Play was almost predominantly played inside the Sheffield zone throughout the contest as Phoenix were only denied by the home side’s stubborn defending that nearly saw them recording a scoreless period. Rob Allen came close to opening scoring when his tip-in on goal from a Graham Wilson shot was stopped by the goalie at the Steelkings goal and that set out how the game would go. Karl Nicholson struck the crossbar minutes later for the visitors, as the puck beat Bryan Hackworth in the Sheffield goals all ends up but didn’t find the twine. Manchester went even more closer after Nicholson again found space to shoot from, but Hackworth made a stunning glove save above his head and was truly one for the cameras robbing his GB team-mate. Sheffield were frustrating the Phoenix side as they had almost all the possession in the first but it looked like the hosts would hold out for the period. Sadly for them they were unable to do so and Karl Nicholson weaved his way through the Steelkings back line before playing a little pass across goal for Anthony Booth on the far side as the Phoenix man ghosted in to fire past the despairing efforts of Bryan Hackworth for a deserved 1-0 lead.

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As the horn sounded to bring a close on the first period, it looked like the floodgates may well open for the visitors for the remainder of the game, and in truth it did, but it was from far and away from a walkover as the Steelkings were resolute in their defensive side. Manchester doubled their lead 35 seconds into the middle stanza, when Rob Allen saw his shot just squirmed underneath Bryan Hackworth for the insurance marker at 15:35 and was a unlucky on the goalie as he looked to have done everything right. The visitors though kept up the pressure on the home side and was keeping the puck deep inside the Sheffield zone as much as they could do, but Sheffield still holding firm and were unfortunately struggling to create anything in the way of a possible attack in the entire game. Karl Nicholson scored to make it 3-0 for the Phoenix at 19:30 as assists went to Dominic Cosgrove and Anthony Booth, as the Great Britain International put home from close range after capitalising on a defensive error and that looked to put the game out of sight for the hosts.

Despite being up by three goals, one thing you couldn’t say is that Sheffield were rolling over for their opponents as that would be extremely harsh to say. Sheffield are still a team in learning their way around the BSHL (British Sledge Hockey League) and so these are tough times for the Steelkings but also learning experiences for them going forward and in very harsh lessons to boot. One thing that has improved this season is their defending compared to last year, after Sheffield leaked an alarming amount in their debut season but this year they have come on leaps and bounds and have become a tougher side to break down. As mentioned their defensive side was at the fore again and important blocks were made from the Steelkings players as Rachel Paget made a good block from Phoenix man at the front of the net to stop a certain goal for the Phoenix, then Jake Oakley made a last gasp stop on the goal line and despite the Sheffield man knowing little off it, the netminder had the presence of mind to covering up for the whistle.

Rob Allen made it 4-0 with an unassisted effort at 22:43, and the chances were now being taken by the Phoenix but Bryan Hackworth made a great stop from Allen minutes later when the Manchester forward looked like he was on course to score his third goal, but the goalie made himself big to deny him. With 4:11 left to go in the second period it saw two goals going in for the visitors, with Booth netting his second of the game at 25:14 and then 26 seconds later through Karl Nicholson who made it 6-0 with less than nineteen seconds left in the period. Sheffield will feel they could have done better in the period at the back, but with a tough opponent and a lot of the team not being able to train for the past six weeks, it did really hamper the home side and it evident on passages of play.

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In the final period of play Manchester took their foot of the gas a bit but they still had far too much for their opponents as they out-shot their opponents on the other side of the Pennines 43-0. Bryan Hackworth was frequency called upon again in the period and the Steelkings tried to deal with Nicholson and saw his shot stopped by the goalie as the hosts began to really tire. Rob Allen then completed his hat trick in the game for a seventh Phoenix goal at 39:17, as the visitors went in search of more goals as they looked toward getting a healthy goal difference on the table. Dominic Cosgrove who put in a good performance for the Phoenix side saw him trying his heart out to claim a goal, but he just always seemed in the wrong place at the wrong time. Manchester once again brought a save out of Hackworth and saw the netminder clearly shattered by this point facing so much rubber in the game and tried to drag the mini breaks out to recover. As we came towards the end of the contest it saw the away side striking the crossbar once again, that before Anthony Booth completing his own hat trick with Allen assisting and making it 8-0 at 44:54 to round off a road win for the visitors and keep their unbeaten run against Sheffield going.

 With the hosts struggling for offensive plays and some members lacking practice, the Steelkings have shown glimpses that they are getting there and even if it is a bit of a slow burner for them they are coming along and it the future is bright.  For Manchester a dominating performance by the whole side with included the return of Steve Bradley to the line up saw the Phoenix having the luxury of a spare player to their tiny squad and that helped them out on the bigger ice pad too. Phoenix now hope to build on this win as they make the long journey down South to Peterborough and face the league champions and hope to avoid a repeat 7-1 defeat against the Phantoms next weekend. 

Man of the Match:

Sheffield Steelkings : Caroline Bonner  ,   Manchester Phoenix :  Karl Nicholson

Speedway: Robins Crash Aces Home Opener

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                 Belle Vue Aces     40  –  50     Swindon Robins

 

Belle Vue Speedway finally opened up their league programme at the National Speedway Stadium this past Wednesday night after nearly three months since their Grand Opening meeting that was farcically cancelled back in March, but it saw the Swindon Robins taking the points on opening night with a deserved 50-40 victory thanks mainly to reserve Rohan Tungate as the Australian scored a stunning 15+2.

With four matches ridden so far this season all away from their new home, this was their big home opener against the side that they beat in the Playoff semi finals last year and also included two riders for the Swindon Robins from the Belle Vue side that helped them agonisingly close to a league title last year in Josh Grajczonek and Stefan Nielsen. Things started off brilliantly though for the home side in the first race, as Craig Cook and Matej Zagar roared around the circuit to claim an opening 5-1 for the Aces and also had Cook setting a new track record with the Cumbrian clocking a time of 62.0 seconds. Swindon’s reserves then hit right back with a 5-1 of their own in the next race with Stefan Nielsen following the impressive Rohan Tungate home for the win and left the Belle Vue pair high and dry.  

Craig Cook was back at it again in Heat 3, as he broke the track record for the second time in the meeting on his way to a 4-2 heat win with Scott Nicholls with a time of 61.3 and helped moved the home side to a 10-8 lead.  The Worrall brothers of Steve and Richie collected another 4-2 for the home side and saw them increasing their lead in the match by two points. Sadly for the home fans it all went pear shaped from that point onwards, as Tungate and Charles Wright picked up a 5-1 to wipe out the lead and level the match at 15-15 all as Chris Harris produced the first pass of the meeting in Heat 6 when he got by Scott Nicholls to see a shared heat. The Robins took the lead in the contest for the first time in Heat 7 after the Aussie duo of Gracjzonek and Justin Sedgeman saw them both easing to a 5-1 over the big hitters of Cook and Zagar and that seemed to almost inspire the rest of the Swindon side from then on and also saw Gracjzonek equalling the track record too of 61.3.

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Cook & Zagar lead in Heat 1

With the starting gates of 1 and 3 proving to be massively advantageous in the match to whoever started from there, that it saw a shock heat maximum for the home side with Richie Worrall and Joe Jacobs who had struggled badly on the road for the Aces so far, picking up a surprising 5-1 to get the home side back in the match at 27-27 all and had the Aces fans in the grandstand rising to their feet to salute the Belle Vue pair on their lap of honour. However the home side having only one heat winner in the final six races was compounded with their lack of gating from the tapes and inability to pass on such a ultra slick track, that it made their task even more harder and saw the Robins using their big track experience to the full. Chris Harris who was guesting for the injured Jason Doyle saw him finishing behind Tungate who collected his fourth race win of the night and was the proverbial trump card for Alun Rossiter’s men.  

Heat 11 saw Nick Morris joining party for the away side, as he surprised everyone in taking the race win ahead of the other three riders on show as he was scoreless coming to tapes. Zagar who made the initial gate somehow went from first to last in no time and despite the Slovenian passing Gracjzonek on the third lap, it saw him leading the race but his efforts all came in a losing cause as the Robins man cut back under him on the final bend to just the race win on the line for a 4-2. Rohan Tungate saw his winning streak finally broken in Heat 12, as he was off the worst gate of the night on gate 4 as no one had picked up a win from it all meeting. Steve Worrall made the gate and defended the lead from former team mate from last year in Stefan Nielsen, as it saw a shared heat and moved the scores on to 39-33 in favour of the Robins. 

Morris made it two successive wins in a row in the Heat 13 after he got out ahead of the Belle Vue riders and did remarkably well to hold off the advancing Zagar who hunted him down for the whole race and just couldn’t find any way by with the track not helping him in his search for grip. Justin Sedgeman sealed victory for the away side as he lead from start to finish in the penultimate race of the match, to give Swindon a deserved victory on the night and saw the sixth winner from gate one as Nicholls and Richie Worrall had no answers to him. It was only fitting that the Robins had the best gates for the final race and also saw the star of the the meeting in Rohan Tungate passing Matej Zagar and joining his team mate Nick Morris at the front for a fifth 5-1 for the visitors and have them as the first side to inflict the hosts first home loss on them too. 

Belle Vue Team Manager Mark Lemon was quick to praise the Swindon side and especially their top reserve, but also bemoan the Elite Draft system  at the same time.

Lemon spoke to the Official Aces website after the meeting saying:

“To lose at home is never good but we knew that was potentially on the cards. We’ve not had a home meeting before tonight and the Swindon Robins have been travelling very well. “Credit where credit’s due. The track was a leveller and they adapted to the conditions better than us but you’d need to put the result down to one man, Rohan Tungate, who they had at reserve.

“I’ve been questioning the Elite Draft system for sometime and I think tonight just showed how flawed it is. They capitalised on that and Rohan was dynamite tonight. He was the difference.”

Lemon though was not too downhearted by his side as he added:

“It’s disappointing but we’re going to bounce back. We’ve lost meetings at home in previous seasons which isn’t ideal but we had a great crowd supporting us in this fantastic new stadium.

“It is a tough league the Elite League. You’ve got to have the speed and the set-up to be able to succeed which is vital at any race track, but with this circuit there’s no hiding for anyone. Tonight we had some fantastic racing and I think we learned that it’ll take a while for us to settle in to establish a home track advantage. We were just unfortunately on the wrong end of the score.

“Our boys battled hard though and you can’t question their efforts. If someone had been sulking in their bay then maybe, but that just wasn’t the case with any of them. They all really wanted to win. That’s speedway though. It’s a tough game. When you’re on fire you’re on fire and when you’re not it’s difficult to kick on. But as I said, the boys rallied well. It’s just unfortunate we missed out.”

Belle Vue next ride a week on Monday when they travel down to Dorset in a rematch of the Grand Final from last year as they meet the Poole Pirates and will be a tough fixture for the Aces as it always is down there.

 

Belle Vue = 40

1. Matej Zagar – 2*, 0, 2, 2, 1
2. Max Fricke R/R
3. Scott Nicholls – 1, 2, 1, 2, 0
4. Richie Worrall – 1, 1*, 2, 3, 1
5. Craig Cook – 3, 3, 1, 0, 1
6. Steve Worrall – 0, 3, 0, 1*, 0, 3
7. Joe Jacobs – 1, 1, 2*, 0

Swindon = 50

1. Chris Harris (G) – 1, 3, 2*, 0
2. Charles Wright – 0, 2*, 0
3. Josh Grajczonek – 2, 3, 1, 0
4. Justin Sedgmen – 0, 2*, 1, 3
5. Nick Morris – 0, 0, 3, 3, 3
6. Rohan Tungate – 3, 3, 3, 3, 1, 2*
7. Stefan Nielsen – 2*, 2, 0, 2

Speedway: Colts Christen The New Stadium with Victory

 

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BELLE VUE COLTS   51    MILDENHALL FEN TIGERS  39

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Tapes fly up for the first time in the new Stadium

After a painful 50 days of no Speedway for fans in Manchester since the ill-fated Opening night back in March for the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy, it finally saw bikes skidding around the shale in the form of the National League as the Belle Vue Colts opened their league programme against the Mildenhall Fen Tigers.  It saw some stunning racing in the first competitive match at the brand new National Speedway Stadium and also included three track records being broken and possibly a star of the future in 21- year old Daniel Bewley as he recorded a stunning 18 point maximum for the Colts in a 51-39 victory.

There were a few alterations to both sides before the tapes went up, as the Colts were their number 1 Matt Williamson who was riding for his Premier League club the Workington Comets at Somerset and so they drafted in Nathan Greaves from the Sheffield Tigers and also fellow National League side King’s Lynn Young Stars. Mildenhall had a huge headache heading into this meeting, with both their reserve pairing injured in their match against King’s Lynn on the Wednesday and so brought in Sam Wooley and Joe Lawlor to ride in the place and also included Darryl Ritchings from the Birmingham Brummies at number 1. As the riders made their way to tapes, it finally saw racing taking place belatedly there and it saw Nathan Greaves going down in history as the first rider to take the chequered flag at the new track.  Greaves though didn’t get the best of starts from the gate as Alfie Bowtell made the initial quick start from the tapes, but the guest rider for Belle Vue saw him making inroads quickly to pass him around the outside on the second bend before holding back the challenge of the two Fen Tigers with Ritchings chasing his back wheel for the last of couple of laps.

Dan Bewley who only took up the sport at the start of the year, saw him breaking the track record in heat two after he shown a clean pair of heels so to speak to the other three riders and won by almost half a lap in a time of 63.5 ahead of team mate Andy Mellish who finished in second for a 5-1 maximum for the Colts.  Mildenhall struck back in the next race with a 5-1 of their own, that was after Belle Vue’s Rob Shuttleworth engine packed up and he can consider himself very unlucky in the race too.  It saw Connor Mountain who impressed in the meeting for the away side throughout, having a good battle out front with the Colts rider for a couple of laps and that was before Shuttleworth finally got by him but then slowed up quickly and gifted the two Connor’s in Mountain and Coles a heat advantage for the visitors from Suffolk.

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Jon Armstrong blasts his way round Nathan Greaves in Ht 13

Belle Vue then restored their four point lead in the next race, as Bewley broke his own track record from two heats previous to see him and Lee Payne both blasting away from the gate and left Joe Lawlor and former Colt Jon Armstrong trailing in their wake for maximum points to move 14-10 up after four races. Heat 5 saw Shuttleworth riding up the inside of Bowtell to see him taking the lead and after Darryl Ritchings got by Tom Woolley, it saw him taking up the challenge of tracking down Shuttleworth but was to no avail and saw a share of the points.  Heat 6 saw Nathan Greaves and Jon Armstrong tussling at the front after Greaves had moved Armstrong out towards the fence, and eventually saw him doing everything to preserve the lead with his Colts team mate David Holts securing third for a 4-2.

Another win by Bewley saw him making it 3 wins from 3 rides in Heat 8 as the Colts rode to another 5-1 advantage, after Holt found some extra drive to go round the Mildenhall riders and join his colleague for a 5-1. With the home side up by 8 points leading 34-26 after ten heats gone, it looked like that the lead would be cut down to just three points after the two Connor’s of Mountain and Coles both got a great start from the tapes, but Greaves rode a brilliant first bend to split the pairing up and gave chase on Mountain who defended the lead fantastically to see a 4-2 going the way of the Fen Tigers.  Heat 11 saw the best race of the night to that point in time, when there was two races in one involving Payne and Ritchings battling at the front and swapping places a couple of of times and then Bowtell and Mellish fought for the one point as Bowtell passed Mellish down the back straight on the final lap.

Bewley showed his class again in Heat 12 when the 21 Year old proved you can move a Mountain, as the youngster pushed Connor Mountain out wide towards the fence and saw gone into the distance for his fourth win of the night.  Jon Armstrong took race and move of the night in heat 13, after the Tigers man was out gated at first by Payne and Greaves but the wiley old veteran used his bags of experience to come up the inside of Payne on the second lap and then blasted round Greaves in a stunning ride on the third lap to take a deserved chequered flag for his troubles. With the meeting won by the Colts it saw Dan Bewley nominated in the final race of the night and a chance to make it a clean sweep in his rides.

The first running of the race was stopped after a horrible crash involving Lee Payne when Mountain from the Fen Tigers suffered a primary chain snapping on him on the fourth bend and that saw Payne with nowhere to go and went flying over his fallen opponent’s bike and looked an awful fall for the Colts man. Thankfully he was up and walking back to pits and as the Mildenhall rider came to check and see he was alright, Payne just gave a shrug and a smile to the Tigers man over the incident.  The re-run saw Bewley making the gate this time around as opposed to the first run and he put distance between himself and Armstrong, after the Fen Tigers man had passed Payne for second place and it saw a 4-2 for the home side. Overall a very good night for all concerned at Belle Vue, as a successful first meeting under their belts and good match too with a stubborn opponent and also a match to remember for Daniel Bewley, who broke the track record twice and helped himself to a 18 point maximum as well.

Belle Vue Colts = 51 

1. Nathan Greaves (Guest) – 3,3,2,2 = 10
2. David Holt – 0,1,2′,0 = 3+1
3. Rob Shuttleworth – EF,3,2,F/X = 5
4. Tom Woolley – 1,0,1′,1 = 3+1
5. Lee Payne – 2′,3,3,1′,1 = 10+2
6. Andy Mellish – 2′,0,0, (DB – 3) = 2+1
7. Dan Bewley – 3,3,3,3,3,3 = 18 MAXIMUM

Mildenhall Fen Tigers = 39

1. Darryl Ritchings (Guest) – 2,2,2,0 = 6
2. Alfie Bowtell – 1′,1′,1,1′ = 4+3
3. Connor Mountain – 3,2,3,2,F/X = 10
4. Connor Coles – 2′,1′,1,2 = 6+2
5. Jon Armstrong – 1,2,3,3,2 = 11
6. Sam Woolley (Guest) – 0,0,0,1′ = 1+1
7. Joe Lawlor (Guest) – 1,0,0,0 = 1

Sledge Hockey: Short-Benched Phoenix Dismantled by Champions

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   MANCHESTER   PHOENIX   1   –  7   PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS

 

This past Sunday afternoon saw the start of the 2016 British Sledge Hockey League starting up and saw the Manchester Phoenix welcoming the league champions of the past two seasons the Peterborough Phantoms to their new base for the forthcoming season, with the Phoenix playing out of the Deeside Ice Rink in North Wales. Phoenix were dealt a blow coming into the game as with such a short bench it was made worse during the week, when GB International Dean ‘The Magician’ Lahan sustained a dislocated shoulder in training and with Pat Bailey missing too it saw two key players out for Manchester and saw them having to ice just one fit line.

In the first period Manchester were doing well and it wasn’t exactly telling that the home side was playing just One line against their more powerful opposition, but the Phoenix more than held their own in the period. Despite the hosts not creating anything in the way of chances, it saw them forcing the Phantoms to take shots from a long way out and had Manchester netminder Steve Midghall on top form to keep the game goalless. Both teams you could say were suffering with a touch of rust on them with this being the opening game of the season and in truth it showed on both teams with some of the Phantoms players not yet used to a couple of their new line-mates. 

Midghall in the Manchester goals kept producing a string of stunning saves to deny the Phantoms attackers and had him doing his best to help keep his side in the game, as without him the scoreline on a different day may have been far different. A goalless first period was brought to a close and and saw the Phoenix doing extremely well to keep it close as we headed into the start of the second. As the period went on you could start to see the home side tiring a bit with their short bench and that handed the inisitive to the Phantoms, with the visitors beginning to click and saw them starting to take over and move up a gear or two.

Peterborough’s Gary Farmer netted the opener for the visitors as he flipped the puck quickly by Midghall for a 1-0 lead and that was soon followed in the period by another GB International in Darren Brown and he doubled the lead for the Phantoms, as they started to take full control of the contest . Manchester were unable to repel the powerful Peterborough attacks for much longer and that left the hosts in a spot of bother and would only get worse through the game. Graham Wilson of the Phoenix collected a 2+2 penalty as he was called for Roughing and Hooking offences, but was lucky to stay on the ice. 

Manchester were under the cosh a lot in the second period and didn’t help matters with a man in the box either. Scotty Turner scored on the power play to open his account for the Phantoms as he extended their lead to a 3-0 lead. Phoenix tried to answer back at their opponents and were unfortunately being caught out on odd man rushes by the visitors as the Phantoms were running away with the game. The Signs were there as the tiredness hit them hard and that just helped the opposition out more so in the game. Turner then bagged his second of the game to make it 4-0 for the Cambridgeshire outfit and it threatened to become a cricket score. 

Thankfully for the Phoenix players the horn sounded and gave them a chance to have a breather and regroup before the final period of play. The home side didn’t have many clear cut chances falling their way in the match and so when they fell they had to make the most them. So early on in the period it saw Manchester’s Karl Nicholson putting one past Robin Gaze in the Phantoms net to see the shut out ended and give Phoenix a mere consolation goal in truth but credit to them as well, as they never stopped fighting in the game and didn’t roll over to the league champions as played with a lot of heart.

Peterborough was gifted their fifth goal in the game, after Turner put a fizzing pass across goal and was unfortunately turn into his own net by Rob Allen who made his return to the Phoenix line up after a terrible ankle injury that kept him sidelined for most of the season. His frustration came out for all to see on a lucky bounce for the away side and showed that they were still giving everything they had too. Matt Coleman fired a sixth goal in for the champions and was just very harsh on the Manchester side as it wasn’t as the scoreline suggested.

Manchester were still giving all to the cause but in a certain losing vain, but that didn’t stop them still trying to find another goal from somewhere and if anything just to give them a boost in the contest. Gary Farmer then rounded off the scoring towards the end of the game, when his shot beat Midghall who in fairness didn’t deserve to be the end of a five goal loss, but his efforts did earn him the man of the match award for the home side in what was a very tough outing against a very strong Peterborough side and no doubt the front runners to try and make it three league titles in a row. Farmer then picked up a late Teeing penalty in the game as the Phoenix had the rare occasion of having more men on the ice than that of their opponents. Dougy Hankinson then got given a couple of minutes in the Phoenix cage, but the Phantoms were worthy winners and sees them top the table with a big road victory and sees them meeting the Phoenix in their next game towards the end of the month.

Despite a 7-1 loss there was lot of positives to take from their loss which seems a bit strange to say, but coach Pete Hagan will be please that his side didn’t give up and played hard for the entire game. Manchester’s next game is a nice trip over the Pennines to face the Sheffield Steelkings at Ice Sheffield next Sunday afternoon, as the Phoenix hope to kick start their season with victory against a side that they unbeaten against.

Women’s Football: City’s Six-y Football Sees Them Thrash Sorry Doncaster

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MANCHESTER  CITY  Women    6    –    0    DONCASTER BELLES 

Manchester City Women kept their unbeaten start to the season going on Bank Holiday Monday with a crushing 6-0 win over Doncaster Belles at the Academy Stadium. Another bumper crowd saw Nick Cushing’s team dominating the match from start to finish and hoped to build on their battling 2-0 win up in Sunderland the previous Friday night. 

The Blues needed just 7 minutes to net the opening goal of the game, after Nikita Parris played a little ball behind the left back for Lucy Bronze to run onto and fire in from inside the penalty area, giving Doncaster goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs no chance. City seemed to threaten on every they had when reaching the Donny penalty area, as the visitors looked powerless to even deal with the home sides attacking play and so led to Jill Scott doubling the lead just outside the penalty box to give the City Women a two goal lead and looked to end the contest early. Hobbs seemed to be a one-woman defence for her team, with no protecting from her team mates in front of her and that forced her into a string of good stops from Duggan, Parris, Ross,Scott and Houghton too. 

Goal

Parris thought she had made it 3-0 with a header, but it saw the ball cleared off the goal line. Swedish International Kosse Asllani who has failed to score for her new club since signing, saw her going extremely close to opening her account with an effort that was going in but a Doncaster player just got back in the nick of time to deny the Striker her first goal.  Jane Ross scored her 5th goal of the season, after Parris once again was in the thick of the action and saw her header coming back off the bar and the rebound was met by Ross was headed home on the line to make it three for the home side after 40 minutes gone. With the half time break approaching it saw the hosts still in a goal scoring mood, with two goals in the final five minutes of the half.  Firstly Jennifer Beattie headed home from a corner to make it 4-0 and then the final attack of the half saw Parris running onto a cross field ball and playing a dangerous ball across the face of goal for the oncoming Kosse Asllani to put home and finally net her first goal for the club.

Second half was the same in the opening 45 minutes, with it being all one way traffic for the home side and the visitors not given a sniff in the game. From the restart it saw Bronze coming very close to scoring a second goal, as her effort was cleared off the line. Parris who was a constant thorn in the side for the away side seen her striking the crossbar for the second time and the home side just seemed unable to find another goal from somewhere.  Credit to Doncaster though, despite being outplayed they were frustrating the home team with some last ditch tackles and some good goalkeeping to boot. However all the hard work paid off in the 74th minute, as the old Everton connection helped City score a sixth in the game through Toni Duggan. Once more it was Parris was the architect for the goal and her low cross to the far post was tapped home by the England International to see City increasing their goal difference.

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Demi Stokes almost made it a magnificent seven for the Blues, after her shot just missed the target and when Bronze went closer again hitting the crossbar it seemed it impossible that they would have to settle for six. As it was, the scoreline was reflective of how the game went and some may even suggest that it perhaps flattered Doncaster in some way, just due to the domination that the home side had throughout the match. Victory though sees City sitting pretty at the top of the WSL (Women’s Super League) Table with maximum points taken in their first five matches. Their next match in the league though will be a massive challenge as they face Chelsea and the only side to beat them season after their FA Cup Semi Final defeat a couple of weeks ago, and so this could prove crucial for the title this early on and will want to get some revenge for their loss in the cup too.