Speedway: Colts Complete Stoke Double

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Belle  Vue Colts  53  –  37  Stoke Potters


Belle Vue Colts made it a double over the Stoke Potters this weekend with a big win at the National Speedway Stadium on Friday night thanks to a more than familiar friend completing a maximum on his home track, while Saturday a tighter affair and has the Colts moving up the Conference League table.

Friday evening saw a struggling Stoke side returning to the NSS for the second time after the previous meeting between the two in the Knockout cup saw the Manchester rain causing an early end to proceedings, as the elements saw the Loomer Road side inflicting the only home defeat on the Belle Vue side to date.

Belle Vue were without the services of Lee Payne and Daniel Bewley for the meeting, as they were both riding for their primary clubs in Redcar and Edinburgh in the Premier League. In came a former Colts Alumni in Jon Armstrong from Mildenhall and also Belle Vue Aces reserve and now riding for the Wightlink Warriors as a doubling up rider in one Joe Jacobs, so the Colts had a trump card in the form of the Ipswich native.

The opening race started with 5-1 to the home side as Joe Jacobs led from start to finish as he took the win but behind him Stoke’s Ben Hopwood came under a lot of pressure from Tom Woolley but saw the Colts man sneak it on the line for maximum points. Heat 3 saw another 5-1 for the hosts as Matt Williamson streaked ahead of the others and saw Danny Phillips making a pass on the outside down the back straight on Rob Shuttleworth to move into second, that was until the Belle Vue man returned the favour later on to take second.

Ben Wilson became the first Stoke man to take the chequered flag in the meeting for the visitors, as the former Sheffield Tigers man roared around the big circuit to which he was accustomed to at Owlerton. In heat 5 a 4-2 advantage went the way of the Colts after Rob Shuttleworth made a complete mess at the start and saw his all action racing make for an exciting race, as he was forced to battle his way from back after firstly overtaking Shaun Tedman and then ran out of time to close the gap on Ben Hopwood with Williamson taking the win.

Jacobs made it two wins from two in heat 6 as he came up the inside of Wilson off the second bend to take the lead and his partner in Tom Woolley saw him slamming the door shut firmly on David Morgan from the Potters to keep third. With the Colts firmly in control after six races gones with a 12 points lead at 24-12, it then saw Danny Phillips and Tony Atkins combining for the Staffordshire side to see them recording a 5-1 and their only race advantage in the match.

Tom Woolley and David Holt both looked set for a 5-1 for the Colts, that was until Paul Burnett flew around the outside of Holt and slipped into second place and saw a 4-2 heat win instead. Matt Williamson saw him staying undefeated in the meeting in heat 9, after he found enough room to squeeze himself between Ben Wilson and the fence on the back straight as his guts saw him moving into the lead with Shuttleworth easily in third, as Morgan was nowhere near to pressure him.

The Stoke duo of Tony Atkins and Danny Phillips saw them once again making the gate in heat 10, but Joe Jacobs wasn’t in any mood to give up on his unbeaten streak and saw him making a move on Atkins on the first bend then cutting up the inside of Phillips to claim his third win of the night as the Colts led 36-24. Jon Armstrong picked up his first race win in the follow heat as the home side extended their lead with a 4-2.

Both Williamson and Jacobs won the next two races and in heat 14 Shuttleworth made a brilliant swooping pass on the outside of Phillips to take the lead and with the Stoke man gaining on him by every lap, it saw on the final bed Phillips getting extra drive and came so very close to running into Shuttleworth but had to back off and saw the Colts man taking the win with Joe Lawlor keeping Paul Burnett now for a 4-2.

In the final race of the night it saw Ben Wilson making the gate with Joe Jacobs flying by Danny Phillips and then chased down Wilson on the third bend to get first and completing a full maximum for himself, while his teammate Matt Williamson was too far behind to get involved in the points and missed out on a paid maximum.


Belle Vue = 53

1. Joe Jacobs (G) 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 = 15
2. Tom Woolley 2′, 1, 3, 0 = 6+1
3. Matt Williamson 3, 3, 3, 3, 0 = 12
4. Rob Shuttleworth 2′, 1, 1, 3 = 7+1
5. Jon Armstrong (G) 2, 1, 3, 0 = 6
6. Joe Lawlor 3, 0, 1, 1 = 5
7. David Holt 0, 1′, 1, 0 = 2+1

Stoke = 37

1. Ben Hopwood 1, 2, 2, 2 = 7
2. Shaun Tedham 0, 0, 0 = 0
3. Tony Atkin 0, 2′, 1′, 2 = 5+2
4. Danny Phillips 1, 3, 2, 2, 2 = 10
5. Ben Wilson 3, 2, 2, 1′, 1′ = 9+2
6. David Morgan 2, 0, R, 1′ = 3+1
7. Paul Burnett 1′, 0, 2, 0, 0 = 3+1



Saturday night saw a very tight affair in the return fixture down in Staffordshire, with the Manchester side coming from 30-24 points down to overcome the deficit and defeat the Potters on their home track in a tight 46-44 win. Former Stoke man Lee Payne returned to the Colts line up and top scored with 12 points while Dan Bewley saw him scoring 11+1.

STOKE 44:  Ben Wilson 11, Tony Atkin 9+1, Paul Burnett 7+3, Danny Phillips 7+1, Shaun Tedham 5+1, Ben Hopwood 13, David Morgan 2+1.

BELLE VUE 46:  Lee Payne 12, Dan Bewley 11+1, Danyon Hume 9, Rob Shuttleworth 8+1, Tom Woolley 5+1, David Holt 1, Joe Lawlor 0.



King Crowned British Champion


British Final, Belle Vue National Speedway Stadium, Manchester 13.June.2016
Photo: Ian Charles            British Final Top 3: (l-r) Craig Cook (2nd), Danny King (1st), Robert Lambert (3rd) British Final, Belle Vue National Speedway Stadium, Manchester 13.June.2016

Danny King blasted his way to a first British Championship title at the National Speedway Stadium this past Monday evening with the Coventry Bees and Ipswich Witches star proving to be a deserved winner after a stunning  pass on Craig Cook to beat the his rival on his home track to secure the title.

With the monsoon like weather that Manchester had experienced over the past few days, it was always going to be the case of how the track would hold up and it held up magnificently, even if it  was a bit tricky to ride too for the field of quality riders in the line up.

That said, the opening race of the meeting saw Aces Steve Worrall clocking not only a fast time, but also equalling the track record too with a time of 59.8 to show the track was very raceable. Heat 3 saw a bit of an upset as Leicester Lions Paul Starke got the better of King’s Lynn’s Robert Lambert and Belle Vue Captain Scott Nicholls to which the Aces were well represented with four riders in the field.

Jason Garrity continued on from his previous visit to the National Speedway Stadium a couple of weeks ago with Coventry, as the local lad from Droylsden flew away from the tapes to secure a win in his first outing. Scott Nicholls then made the first real pass of the meeting when the Seven times winner of this event blasted his way  around the outside of Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris and held on for the win in heat 5.

The following two races were won by a couple of Belle Vue riders as the home crowd cheered victories of Richie Worrall who beat his brother Steve and then Craig Cook faced tough opposition against the battling Jason Garrity, as both were locked wheel to wheel down the back straight until Cookie just had the speed on him.

Heat 10 then saw the most action packed race of the night, after Robert Lambert had left his opponents in this wake it saw all the fun and games behind him. Steve Worrall and Josh Auty duelled on the opening lap before the Leicester Lions rider passed the Belle Vue rider on the first bend of the second lap, then after clashing with Garrity and effectively ended his hopes of a getting in the points, it saw Worrall coming right back at Auty and saw him unable to stop the threat of Auty as the Yorkshireman claimed second.

Just prior to Heat 11 it saw some light rain falling overhead and with all the bad weather over the past few days it seemed like the last thing the meeting wanted was more bad weather. Home interests were stirring with 3 of the four  Belle Vue riders on show facing one another, as Scott Nicholls, Richie Worrall and Craig Cook all started the race with Richard Lawson being the meat in the Aces sandwich so to speak.

However the spoiler in the pack of Aces was that of the Glasgow Tigers man and held onto second place behind Craig Cook, with the Belle Vue and Peterborough Panthers rider making the gate and never looked back. Danny King then made a stunning pass on his Coventry team mate Chris Harris in the next heat, after King built up speed and fired his way right around the outside of Harris after getting some unbelievable grip off the second bend to slingshot him into first and led the field with 8 points after 3 races.

With over half the meeting gone it saw the leaderboard beginning to take shape and saw the two Leicester boys in Josh Auty and Paul Starke surprising  many and tied on 6 points along with Craig Cook. Nicholls then picked up a vital win in heat 16 as he had to fend off the advances of a speedy Danny King in a re-run, with his victory moving him into the top five of the top point scorers.

The final round of races in the qualifying heats saw Charles Wright claiming a point in heat 17 after the Swindon and Somerset man came in to replace the injured Jason Garrity who suffered a heavy tumble in the previous race and so was forced to pull out. Steve Worrall then stormed to victory to keep his hopes alive of a semi final berth in heat 18 after he got the better of his teammate in Scott Nicholls.

However the shock of the night was the early exit of former three times British Champion Chris Harris in the meeting, as ‘Bomber’ finished on 5 points from his five programmed rides and just didn’t seem to have the speed all night and struggled all evening. Craig Cook and Robert Lambert went to head to head into their final race knowing that whoever finished ahead of their opponent in the race was guaranteed a bye straight to grand final.

So when the tapes went up it was no surprise to see both of them locked for the lead and were shoulder to shoulder before the Aces man just had enough to force him wide and keep the door closed firmly on the talented King’s Lynn rider for the rest of the race. King knew he was guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals already but he a collected another win and was forced to do things the hard way, as the GB star had to come from the back of the field to qualify straight through for the grand final as he topped the leaderboard with 13 points.

For the semi-finals it saw Robert Lambert joined by Richard Lawson, Steve Worrall and Scott Nicholls with Paul Starke missing out on the countback system in what was a tough way to go out after such a great evening for the Lions rider. A great start initially by Lawson in the semi final saw him being moved out wide by Lambert and that allowed Worrall to move up into second place after he passed Nicholls on the back straight and then held the inside line entering the second lap, to book his place in the final as he held on..

Despite the continued drizzle halfway through the meeting getting heavier, the track held up very well and all the riders spoke highly of how the track performed during the meeting.

The climax to the event saw the two highest point scorers in Danny King and Craig Cook having the first two gate picks and that was followed by Robert Lambert and Steve Worrall having the remaining gates. Cook jumped at the start as nerves kicked in in the build up to the final as you could understand, but in the re-run the Cumbrian rider looked to have be making it third time lucky and on his home track, but King had other ideas.

King once again used the extra dirt out by the fence to generate speed and made a great move coming round the third and fourth bend with speed and was a great pass to be out in the lead. Despite Cook pushing his rival hard for the rest of the race it saw the Belle Vue man having to settle once again for a third straight second placed finish in the British championship and couldn’t deny the Coventry and Ipswich man claiming his first British Final crown.

King said afterwards on his victory  It hasn’t sunk in to be honest, I just can’t believe it! I can’t actually remember any of the racing apart from the fact that it was raining and that I had a lot of rain on my goggles!

“I’ve tried for so many years to win this meeting. I was sort of in the mix but I never really had the edge. Tonight was probably the first time in a long time that I genuinely felt I could win it.

“I spoke with my boys about the initial gate choices and we thought even though Gate 1 might be the favourite we went with two, which was a bit of a gamble, but I knew it’d give me more options.

“The track suited me. We didn’t change much all night, only made minor tweaks to suit conditions. We knew we had the speed in front but we also knew how important it was to get in front.

“In the final I knew I had to go for it. My plan was either going to work or it wasn’t, and in the end thank goodness it did. I was scared to look behind me because i could feel the others right there.

“To be British Champion is a dream come true. As a kid it was a meeting I always wanted to win and while the wildcard is an amazing opportunity, I wanted this trophy more than anything else.

“I’ve been reserve a couple of times in Cardiff but I’ve never had the chance to do the full meeting. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to succeed in the GP. I just want to enjoy my night.

1. Josh Bates 1, 0, 1, 0, 0 = 2
2. Steve Worrall 3, 1, 1, 2, 3 = 10 + 2 + 0
3. Craig Cook 0, 3, 3, 3, 3 = 12 + 2
4. Danny King 2, 3, 3, 2, 3 = 13 + 3
5. Josh Auty 3, 1, 2, 1, 1 = 8
6. Simon Stead 2, 0, 3, 1, 0 = 6
7. Ben Barker R, 1, 0, 1, 0 = 2
8. Richard Lawson 1, 1, 2, 3, 3 = 10 + 1
9. Scott Nicholls 1, 3, 1, 3, 2 = 10 + 0
10. Paul Starke 3, 2, 1, 2, 2 = 10
11. Richard Hall 0, 0, 0, 1, 2 = 3
12. Robert Lambert 2, 2, 3, 3, 2 = 12 + 3 + 1
13. Chris Harris 0, 2, 2, 0, 1 = 5
14. Richie Worrall 2, 3, 0, 2, 0 = 7
15. Jason Garrity 3, 2, 0, FX = 5 (withdrawn)
16. Kyle Howarth 1, 0, 2, 0, 1 = 4

17. Charles Wright 1 = 1
18. Lewis Kerr DNR

Speedway: Cook & Worrall Help Lift The Aces To Victory




Belle Vue made it two home wins inside a week at the National Speedway Stadium on Saturday with the Aces winning 50-40 over the League leaders the Lakeside Hammers, thanks especially to British duo Craig Cook and Steve Worrall who both scored double figures to help them get over the finishing line.
Prior to the meeting it saw both teams missing key personnel and having to use rider replacement for the match, as Lakeside were without Edward Kennett who was riding for his parent club Rye House Rockets in the Premier League and the Aces were missing Team Manager Mark Lemon and youngster Max Fricke who were both in Denmark with the Australian side for the Under 21 World Cup Semi-Final in Holsted. Luckily for Belle Vue they had Steve Worrall who made a storming start to the meeting, as the St Helens- born rider won the opening two races of the match after firstly beating Swedish star Andreas Jonsson in Heat 1 and then followed that up with in victory in the reserves race. Belle Vue then suffered a surprising heat loss in Heat 3, when Aces skipper Scott Nicholls and Craig Cook were out gated by their opponents in Richard Lawson and Kim Nilsson and the Hammers duo put the visitors 10-8 up and had the home side in a spot of bother early on.

In a match where it looked like on paper that certain races favoured one side than the other, this was definitely not one of those times as there was a few surprising races throughout. Heat 4 saw Joe Jacobs winning his first race in Aces colours, with the young Australian making a great gate and was able to hold off the Lakeside pairing of Lewis Kerr and Robert Mear to take the race win and also had his team mate Richie Worrall getting by Lewis Kerr to move into third for a 4-2 advantage and level the match up at 12-12.

Scott Nicholls repelling the challenge of Kim Nilsson   pic: Historic Ellesmere Speedway

Craig Cook then kick started his meeting off after a disappointing opening ride and to which he would go on and remain unbeaten for the rest of the night. After Cook got the better of Richard Lawson on the first bend to lead the race, it then saw Steve Worrall forcing his through the Hammers riders to go from last to second and follow Cook for a big 5-1 to the Aces and lead 17-13. On a very slick track it saw gating be a massive advantage to whoever got out first and in Heat 6 Scott Nicholls made a perfect gate and trapped Andreas Jonsson to the inside, and sadly for the Aces a late pass by Kim Nilsson on Richie Worrall saw a shared heat. Cook then made it back to back to wins in Heat 7, but it could have been so much better for the home side after Matej Zagar made the gate alongside his team-mate however the Slovenian’s bike packed up much like the opening race too and had yet to complete two laps of the track in the match and was costing the Aces in the meeting.
Lakeside then showed why they are the current league leaders and saw some good team riding between Robert Mear and Lewis Bridger to give them a 5-1 as they shut the door on Steve Worrall. Worrall then found himself having to start off 15 metres back once again at home as the Aces man went through the tapes and so was forced to do things the hard way as once again. The re-run saw Joe Jacobs making a good start initially, but Kerr and Mear both got out and looked liked they had set the visitors on their way to a 5-1 after the first couple of laps.What they didn’t bank on were the Aces riders having other ideas and so when Steve Worrall much like he did against Coventry five days before saw him flying round the outside and took the lead, it saw Jacobs getting in on the act too as he came up the inside of Mear to claim a 4-2 for the hosts and bring the house down. After the race Lewis Kerr and Joe Jacobs exchanged words and left Kerr very unhappy about something with Jacobs and had them having to be separated as they dismounted off their bikes at the pits gate.

Belle Vue’s Joe Jacobs leads Robert Mear    Pic: Historic Ellesmere Port Speedway  


That heat advantage for the Aces seemed to settle the home side down a bit and that was followed up with a 4-2 from Cook and Nicholls with the ‘Cookie Monster’ blasting his way up the inside of Jonsson entering the third bend and giving them another heat advantage to put them up by 4 points as we headed to the Interval. Heat 11 then saw Belle Vue notching up their second 5-1 of the match and came at just the right time for the hosts, as they not only picked up maximum points but also Matej Zagar chipped in for the home side as he finally came to the party and helped Steve Worrall out, as the GP man defended the lead very well and see the score move on to 37-29. Stevie Worrall who was having a busy night for the home side saw out again for the next race and was excluded for delaying the start. This was despite him being at tapes and so once again he was forced to go off 15 metres back. Unfortunately for the home fans he wasn’t able to repeat his heroics from Heat 9 as Bridger and Mear both did well to keep the Aces man out and get a 5-1 back for Lakeside.


Craig Cook Blast round Richard Lawson         pic: Historic Ellesmere Speedway

That was merely a blip though in later stages for the hosts, as Cook and Zagar collected a 4-2 with Zagar trying every line of the new track to get by Andreas Jonsson and it needed a ruthless move on the Swede on the penultimate lap to see the Aces number 1 getting by and picking up the one point. Belle Vue then confirmed victory in Heat 14 as Lewis Bridger ran a bit wider than he wanted to and that allowed Scott Nicholls and Richie Worrall to come up under him and score a 5-1 with a 10 point lead heading in to the final race. Craig Cook rounded the evening off with his fourth consecutive race win of the night, as he got the better of Jonsson and Nilsson with the latter getting passed Scott Nicholls to see a shared heat and deny the leaders a point on their first trip to the National Speedway Stadium and sees Belle Vue up to 5th place in the table, but with a fair few meetings in hand on their opponents.


Belle Vue Aces = 50

1. Matej Zagar – R,R,2,1 = 3+1
2. Max Fricke R/R – (SW-3,CC-3,JJ-1,SW-3 = 10)
3. Scott Nicholls – 1,3,1,3,R = 8
4. Richie Worrall – 1,0,0,2
= 3+1
5. Craig Cook – R,3,3,3,3,3 = 15
6. Steve Worrall – 3,3,2*,1,3,3,1 = 16+1
7. Joe Jacobs – 1,3,(SW-1),1,0 = 5

Lakeside Hammers = 40

1. Andreas Jonsson – 2,2,2,0,2 = 8
2. Edward Kennett R/R – (LB-1,RL-1,RM-3,LK-0 = 5+1)
3. Richard Lawson – 3,1,2,0,0 =6
4. Lewis Kerr – 0,1
,2,0,(LB-1) = 3+1
5. Kim Nilsson – 2,1,1,2,1* = 7+3
6. Lewis Bridger – 1,2,0,2,3,1 = 9+2
7. Robert Mear – 0,2,3,0,2* = 7+1



Sledge Hockey: Phoenix and Kestrels In Thrilling Draw

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Sunday Afternoon saw the Kingston Kestrels and the Manchester Phoenix playing out an entertaining game at the Hull Ice Arena after the Phoenix were forced to move their home game to Hull, due to some Ice time problems with the North Wales venue. Manchester much like they have done all season found them travelling further afield to play their home game as this time around it was to be played at the home of their opponents, and in fairness didn’t make that much of a different to the result.

Manchester were still missing long term absentees in their team like Dean Lahan and Pat Bailey, while first choice goalie Steve Midghall was still sidelined with an injury and so that handed a second start in net for Dougy Hankinson. With the Phoenix being down on numbers this season, it means having bodies is important for them in the league and having a spare man again in Steve Bradley helping out was a godsend. Prior to the game facing off, there was a small ceremony held to congratulate the brilliant work of Kingston Kestrels man Simon Berry, after he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to disabled sports and was given a warm applause for his fantastic efforts in the area too.

As the puck was dropped to start the game, it was pretty much even between the two sides early on and even had some half chances falling the way for both teams with not much forthcoming in the attacking steaks. The ‘Visitors’ in Kingston nearly took the lead with 5 minutes gone, after Matt Woolias found himself 1-on-1 with Doug Hankinson in the Phoenix net and when you would put your money on the Kingston man to score, it was Hankinson who made a great stop to deny him. This fired up the Kestrels and saw them upping their attacking play for the next few minutes in the game, but Manchester defended very well to keep the Hull side out. Kingston then thought they had took lead minutes later, when a shot that just went over the blue line was fired back into the Manchester zone and saw the puck nestle in the corner of Hankinson’s cage, but the referee had immediately waved it off for an offside call. This felt like a little wake up call to the Phoenix team, and had them at from the restart having a great chance when Anthony Booth went 1 on 1 with their goalie, but much like Woolias earlier on in the period it saw the goalie coming out on top.

Kingston took the lead in the match soon after though, when play in their own end was cleared away and saw the puck bouncing of the netminder and into the path of the oncoming Matt Woolias, who was quick as a flash to tuck home the rebound and make it a 1-0 score for the Kestrels with just under 7 minutes to play in the period. Manchester will have felt a bit hard done by over the opener, but they didn’t let it affect them at all and they set about trying to get back on level terms. Anthony Booth once again came close for the Phoenix, as only a partial glove save was just enough to stop the GB man from tying the game up for the home side. The last of the action of the first period was played down in the Manchester end and saw a quick release on the blue line from a Kestrels man that brought out a great stop by Hankinson as he tried to make up for his early error.

Second period saw both teams creating chances and yet nothing really coming of them, as the Phoenix came out hard looking for a goal to get them back in the contest. Manchester’s sustained pressure saw them given a power play opportunity as Matt Clarkson made a hit on Booth without the puck, to see the Kestrels man serving a two minute call for Interference. Kingston did brilliantly to cut out any attempted efforts the Phoenix carved out for themselves and saw them successfully killing off the penalty of Clarkson. The Hull side buoyed by their penalty kill, then saw them exerting some pressure of their own on the adopted home side for the day and could only watch as Hankinson made a stick save to deny them adding their lead and keeping his side in the game. Manchester then got back on level terms through a Karl Nicholson goal, when the GB International collected a puck in the Kingston zone after some nice passing by his Phoenix team-mate and Nicholson saw his shot just sneaking in past the goalie for a 1-1 score. From the restart it saw the Kestrels roaring right back at their opponents and looking to get back in front, but Hankinson and his team mates were doing a sterling job in front of him to stop all efforts of retaking the lead and saw us going into the final period all level.

Kingston saw a great chance go begging early on in the third period, as the away team found themselves on a 2 on 0 and looked for all the world that it would result in a goal for the Kestrels, but somehow Doug Hankinson managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and make a double save to which his second save saw him tipping the puck over his own bar. However it seemed like the goalies were having their own little battle in the midst of the game, and was almost like Ian Houliston at the other end was thinking ‘anything you can do, I do better’ as he made a double save himself then off Booth from Manchester as he showed his talents between the pipes too. Matt Woolias then scored his second of the game to put the Kestrels back in front at 2-1, when the forward picked his spot to find the only area not covered by the goalie with 11 minutes left to play. Both teams were looking for goals, but both with different objectives as for Kingston they wanted to get a one goal cushion and have some breathing space, while the Phoenix wanted to get back level and try and get a point.

Manchester did indeed get back on level terms with their opponents and did have a touch of fortunate about it too. Karl Nicholson saw him skating around the Kestrels zone looking to make a pass for a team mate in space and when he tried to make a pass out front it saw the puck getting deflected in and finding the back of the net for a ‘Desmond’ 2-2 score line and make it all to play for with 8 minutes remaining on the clock. Both teams had chances late on to take the game, Booth saw him robbed by Houliston once again and also saw the Kestrels held back by the Phoenix defence and goal tending too late on. With 30 seconds left to go in the game, it saw Karl Nicholson taking a puck to the ribs and was clearly a sore one and had the Phoenix talisman in some distress. For the final stages though, it saw Manchester holding firm and thwarting any last gasp hopes that the Kingston side harboured and so when the horn sounded it brought an end to a thoroughly entertaining game and give Manchester a huge point against a very tough side in the Kestrels.