Speedway: Rampant Aces Make Return Trip To Grand Final

Speedway

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Belle Vue Aces   63  – 28   Lakeside Hammers 

(Agg: Belle Vue win 112-69)  

Belle Vue on Wednesday night booked their place back in the Elite League Grand Final with a demolition job on the Lakeside Hammers at the National Speedway Stadium with a magnificent team performance throughout and winning 63-28. 

The Aces came into the second leg holding an 8 point advantage from their win down in Purfleet last week and from the first race it was all Mark Lemon’s side hammering home (no pun intended) the final nail into their opponents coffin. Both teams had a guest rider due to Belle Vue’s Max Fricke & Lakeside’s Andreas Jonsson involvement with Rospiggarna in the Swedish playoff final, and won, it saw the Swedish meeting taking precedence over the two semi-finals that was on-going. With Lakeside drafting in King’s Lynn rider Robert Lambert as their replacement for Jonsson, it saw Lemon bringing in former Ace and Leicester Lions man Patrick Hougaard back wearing the ‘Ace of Clubs’ logo.

The Aces started as they meant to go on with a maximum 5-1 in Heat 1 through Steve Worrall and Matej Zagar, as both riders flown passed Rob Lambert in the opening race to see them increasing their aggregate score. Heat 2 saw a similar result for the hosts when a back in form Richie Worrall made a rocket start out of the gate and was joined by Joe Jacobs who faced a stiff test from Robert Branford of the Hammers but kept second. Belle Vue then shown their pass capabilities too, when the Aces reserved a 4-2 scenario into a 4-2 advantage for themselves with Craig Cook and Patrick Hougaard getting the better of Eddie Kennett and Kim Nilsson of the visitors.

Captain of the Aces in Scott Nicholls then joined in on the action in Heat 4, when he and Joe Jacobs passed Rob Branford on the third and fourth bends of lap one to see another 5-1 for the home side and move 14-points ahead on the night and stretch their overall lead to 22 points. Despite the scoreline being heavily in the Aces favour the racing was anything but and was arguably the best racing seen at this new circuit all year, with some exceptional passing and team riding to boot.  The race of the night came saw an British- battle between Lewis Bridger and the two Worrall brothers in Steve and Richie in Heat 5 as the Worrall’s made the initial gate and had Bridger flying passed Steve on the final bend of the opening lap before chasing down Richie with the two passing and re-passing for the rest of the race.

Lakeside boss Jon Cook saw him picking the wrong rider to use his tactical points on, as Kim Nilsson was given that honour in Heat 6 but his team mate in Rob Lambert took the chequered flag ahead of Nicholls for the Hammers and saw Nilsson just managing to beat Hougaard who struggled in his first two outing for the Aces. The result was the Hammers first and only race advantage on the night as they scored a 5-2 with Nilsson doubling his point to two for beating an opposing rider. Belle Vue struck back in the following race with a Zagar and Cook 5-1 and with Nicholls and Jacob collecting a 4-2 themselves in the following race it saw the Aces grinding their playoff opponents into the dirt and saw the Hammers having no answers for an team keen to make amends for last year.

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Victorious Aces side   Pic taken from ManchesterEveningNews

Heat 9 saw Lakeside’s third race winner of the night in Richard Lawson take the win ahead of the Worrall brothers and saw the Scottish rider hanging on for the win with Steve Worrall edging closer and closer to the Hammers man who just had enough to hold him off in a stunning race. Belle Vue then banged in a couple of successive 5-1’s before the interval to see the meeting over at 46-21 and leave the overall tie well and truly over after the opening four races of the night.

New Zealander Robert Branford then got a well deserved victory in Heat 12, after the Kiwi-born rider raced Joe Jacobs hard to the turns and see his hard efforts pay off for a race win. Heat 13 saw Craig Cook flying away from the tapes for an easy win while his partner in crime in Matej Zagar made a ruthless move on Kim Nilsson to see the Slovenian forcing his way into third place and securing a 4-2 advantage for the home side. The Manchester club warmed up for the grand final with two more maximum race advantages to see the Aces hitting the 60 points barrier and see the home side roaring into the final against a familiar title foe in Wolverhampton over two legs next week, starting at Monmore Green next Monday with the return on Wednesday night.

For Wolverhampton it will be a case of revenge for the men from the West Midlands and a chance to erase that famous night back in October of 93’, when a last heat decider saw Bobby Ott securing the league title for the Manchester club on Wolves home turf. So they will want to extract revenge for sure and with World Champion Tai Woffinden in their ranks it is going to be an extremely difficult final for the Aces. One interesting side note to the Grand Final is that Peter Karlsson who will be riding for the Wolves was actually one of the riders in that final heat that saw Belle Vue taking the trophy home up the M6. 

For Belle Vue the final will be a way to banish the memories of last season’s disappointment against Poole and also Coventry back in 2005, with the Aces just always finding it difficult to crossing the finishing line. They will be hoping to finally lift that league title that has eluded the most decorated Speedway club in Britain for 23 years, after their last league success came back in 1993 when they ironically beat Wolverhampton for it.

Could there be a repeat performance of 1993 perhaps ?

Belle Vue Aces = 63 (112)

1. Matej Zagar – 2*, 3, 3, 1 = 9+1
2. Steve Worrall – 3, 1*, 2, 2* = 8+2
3. Patrick Hougaard (G) – 1, 0, 2*, 3 = 6+1
4. Scott Nicholls – 3, 2, 3, 2*,2* = 12+2
5. Craig Cook – 3, 2*, 3, 3, 3 = 14+1
6. Richie Worrall – 3, 2, 1*, 1* = 7+2
7. Joe Jacobs – 2*, 2*, 1, 2 = 7+2

Lakeside Hammers = 28 (69)

1. Robert Lambert (G) – 1, 3, 1, 2, 1 = 8
2. Lewis Bridger – 0, 3, 2, 0 = 5
3. Edward Kennett – 0, 1, 0, 1 = 2
4. Richard Lawson – 1, 0, 3, 0 = 4
5. Kim Nilsson – 2, 2, 1, 0, 0 =5
6. Ben Morley – 0, 0, 0, 0 = 0
7. Robert Branford – 1, 0, 0, 3 = 4

 

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Women Football: City claim maiden WSL title with win over Champions

Women's Football

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Manchester City Women  2-0 Chelsea Ladies

Manchester City Women became ‘Queens of England’ this past Sunday afternoon in a title decider against reigning league champions Chelsea Ladies with a stunning 2-0 win at the Academy Stadium. City claimed their maiden FA Women’s Super League title thanks to a Katie Chapman own goal in the firs half and then a penalty early in the second half by Toni Duggan to secure victory.

3000Pic taken: Guardian Website 

Prior to kick off it saw the home side needing just one point to clinch the club first league title success in their history and that any other result would give their rival in Chelsea a chance of pip them should they win all their remaining games. Early stages in the game saw the visitors taking the play to the home side as expected, with the City defence needing to be alert to their attacks right from the off and saw the hosts more than equipped to deal with the Chelsea forwards.

City then created a great chance to open the scoring when Toni Duggan crossed in a ball for Jane Ross to get her head on, with the Scottish International bringing out a great save from the Chelsea keeper to deny the striker from breaking the deadlock. The home side were using the flanks to good effect, as England duo Toni Duggan and Demi Stokes were both creating chances down the wings and had the away side finding it difficult to deal with them. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, as the visitors came back at their opponents and seemed to adopt a more counter attacking style to their game as saw Izzy Christiansen stopping a one threatening attack as the City midfielder upended Gemma Davison on the halfway line to pick up the first yellow card of the game.

Both teams to gain the an important upper hand in the game and saw the two sides enjoying good spells of pressure and showing why they were both up at the top end of the league table and chasing the title. In the 34th minute the deadlock was broken in this big game, after a corner by Toni Duggan was headed on by Jill Scott and saw the ball bounce in off the shoulder of Chelsea captain Katie Chapman for an own goal, to give City a 1-0 lead and see the away side now needing to score three goals to stop the hosts from taking the title away from them.

That goal really seemed to take the wind out of Emma Hayes side and had the hosts on top for the remainder of the first half. When the second half resumed, it was expected that Chelsea would come out and take the game to the hosts as they looked to rescue their title, but instead it was the home side that took the game to their West London opposition and pressured them right from the off in the second half.

a78q2614 Pic Taken from: Official Man City Website 

That pressure told when the hosts was awarded a penalty minutes into the second half when Jane Ross played a nice ball ahead for Lucy Bronze to chase in the area, but saw Gilly Flaherty taking her legs from her and gave Toni Duggan the chance to double the lead for the home side. The striker placed the spot kick by the keeper for a 2-0 lead and all but looked to give the Citizens the title early in the half. With that second goal going in against Chelsea, it seemed to see the heads drop on the away side and had the confidence quickly fading away, while City grown in confidence and looked in search of more goals to their two already.

Nikita Parris then went close with an effort for the hosts, but Spencer in the Chelsea goals made a good stop with her outstretched left foot to deny the striker from making it three. The visitors then created their best scoring chance in the second half through a lovely Karen Carney through ball that split the City defense and allowed Bethany England in, but despite holding off Steph Houghton in the area her she shot was straight into the body of Karen Bardsley in the City goal and that was their best chance of the game.

Substitute Kosovare Asllani then had the last effort in the game, when the Swedish star collected a ball inside the penalty area from Jill Scott and then tried to bend her effort in at the far post and instead missed the target completely in the dying embers of the game. When the full time whistle came it saw the City bench spill onto the pitch to celebrate their achievement with their teammates and remained undefeated with one game left to play. The Blues will have to wait till a bit longer to get their hands on that Women’s Super League title, as they will be presented with it in their final home game against the side they meet next weekend in the Continental Cup Final in Birmingham City Ladies on October 30th.

Ice Hockey: Storm 'weathered' by Scottish foes

Ice Hockey

photo            Manchester Storm   3   –   5   Braehead Clan               Braehead_Clan

Three unanswered goals in the first period and a hat-trick to boot for Canadian Matt Beca was enough for the struggling Braehead Clan to finally claim their first win of the season and take two Elite League points off a fellow Gardiner Conference opponent in the Manchester Storm, with a deserved 5-3 road victory at the Altrincham Ice Rink. 

It saw the home side blasting out of the traps early in the contest with the Storm well on top of a struggling Clan side who hadn’t won a competitive game so far this season and was read the riot act by their Coach Ryan Finnerty and the Owners prior to this weekend after their poor start to the season. It took just 98 seconds for the Storm to take the lead in the game after a low shot by Eric Neilson from a face-off win by Jack Prince, seeing Neilson’s effort fly passed the Braehead goalie into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead for the home team. It seemed that their poor start to the season may continue for the away side after going behind so early, but Ryan Finnerty’s clawing their way back and almost seemed to wake up the Clan team.

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Picture taken from : Manchester Storm.com

The visitors then drew level with a lovely solo goal by Matt Beca who toe-dragged the puck around Storm coach Omar Pacha before flipping it passed Mike Clemente in the Manchester net for a 1-1 game after 6.07 and had the travelling ‘Purple Army’ on their feet. Braehead then upped their game and physical play on the home side to which the Storm couldn’t find an answer for, and saw the Clan forwards having a lot of joy in the Manchester end. Play had really swung in the favour of the visitors and minutes after tying the game, it saw Braehead finding the net again for a 2-1 lead courtesy of Scott Pitt putting home after a long cross ice pass by Cody Carlson to Matt Beca saw him playing a weighted pass across the face of goal and Pitt flicked it home and had the visitors quickly turning this game around.

Matt Beca made it 3-1 for the Clan at 18.38 after he tipped in a shot at the side of the net from a Lee Baldwin effort at the blue line and the Storm were left dumbstruck, with the home side were all over the place and being out played by their Scottish opponents. Things got worse for the home side when Matt Bisonnette’s night was done after picking up an injury and forced him to miss the rest of the game and Sunday’s game up at Edinburgh. Moving to the Second period and the home side were finding it difficult to make simple passes to each other and was constantly getting in each other’s way when trying to launch attack on their opponents. That mainly was credit to the way the Braehead side set up, as they weren’t allowing the home side time on the puck and was closing them down in the neutral zone.

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Cody Cartier celebrates his goal: Picture taken from Manchester Storm.com

In the Second period it saw the away side having the better of the early play and had Manchester trying to respond after being hit with three straight goals in the first. It saw a response coming through a Cody Cartier goal after Mark Heatley poked the puck off a Braehead players stick and led to Cartier and Patrik Valcak breaking away up ice on a 2-on-1, with the Czech forward playing the puck back to Cartier who delayed his shot and then fired the puck by the goalie for a 2-3 score and got the hosts back in the game. A rare error by Paul Swindlehurst soon after almost let in the Clan, when the Manchester defenseman was unable to control the puck and saw Matt Haywood braking away from the Storm man and was tripped up by Paul Phillips on the play as Clemente made the save and had the American sitting a two minute call.

Manchester were looking far from the side that had beaten Sheffield, Coventry and Cardiff in recent weeks, as the visitors were just always that bit quicker to everything and was capitalising on mistakes that the Storm were making. So it came as no surprise when Braehead made it 2-4 at 43.12 and equally not surprising when Matt Beca completed his hat-trick with a quick turn and shot to beat the Manchester goalie to put the defending Gardiner Conference champions two goals to the good. Beca was then involved in a nasty incident involving Manchester’s Darian Dziurzynski, in which the Braehead forward looked to have got his elbow up high into the face of the Storm man as the two men skated for the loose puck and saw Dziurzynski hitting the ice hard and taking the referee down as well. Despite the protest from Beca he was given a 2+10 checking to the head call and as he made his way to the box the clearly angry Manchester player made a bee-line for Beca and needed the Braehead players to stop him from getting to their team mate, as Jay Rosehill was the last line of defence and saw order being to be restored. 

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Storm’s Mike Clemente & Connor Varley keeping eye on Clan’s Corey Cowick:  Pic taken from Manchester Storm

The home side seemed to feed off the hit and saw them scoring on the man advantage through a Mario-Valery Trabucco goal on the power play, after Connor Varley threw the puck on goal and got a slight tip by Jack Prince that had the puck bounce off the pads of Michal Zajkowski right into the path of ‘Super Mario’ as the Storm fans have dubbed him, and make it 3-4 game with over ten to play in the third. That incident from Beca seemed to spur the home side to life for the rest of the game and had the home side throwing everything at the Clan goal and needed some good saves by the goalie as Manchester pressed for a tying goal. With Manchester trying to gain possession of the puck and get it down in the Braehead zone in order to pull the keeper with less than a minute to go, instead it saw some fantastic work by the visiting forwards to cut out any passes that may have reached the Clan zone and saw time running out for the hosts. Eventually they managed to pull the goalie for the extra skater, but an over hit pass by Trevor Johnson bounced off Mario Trubucco and fell nicely for Kyle Wharton to back hand to Alex Leavitt and he shot it into an empty net for a 5-3 win for the Scottish side and lifted the gloom on the Glasgow-based side.

Omar Pacha after the game told Storm TV that “It was a tough one to swallow. I think tonight, we didn’t have our best game by any means, and we didn’t execute. 

“We started off really strong in the first five minutes as we were all over them, then i unfortunately i got beat one on one and then they got a goal and that just gave them that momentum. A few break downs defensively and it was 3-1 and we weren’t doing the simply things in that first period that has made us successful. So in the long run if you look back at that first period that’s what probably cost us the game.”

When asked about the good start and then how well Braehead came back and played, Pacha replied “They made it really tough on us the whole night, I think we were giving them opportunities and chances by not doing the simply detaield things that we had worked on throughout the week.

“Maybe that was a bit of over-confidence that first period when we started out really strong and then we had chances, Neiler (Neilson) got a good goal, that line i thought was probably our best line the whole night. They were working hard following the system and i just think we had a few breakdowns which was uncharacteristic of this team”.

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Edinburgh Capitals  3-2  Manchester Storm  

(After Penalties)

The night after Storm travelled up to Murrayfield Ice Rink to face a much changed and in-form Edinburgh Capitals side that has undergone a huge change during the summer, with the huge acquisition of former Carolina Hurricanes player Jared Staal to their ranks. The game saw goalie Travis Fullerton who had a successful spell at Braehead last year as Chris Holt’s stand in having a stunning game in between the pipes for the home side, as the Storm tried to bounce back after Saturday nights disappointment.  

Staal broke the deadlock in the game during the second period to put the Capitals a goal up, that was cancelled out early in the third by a Trevor Johnson goal to make it 1-1 and then Cody Cartier put Manchester 2-1 ahead midway through the third before Jared Staal grabbed his second goal of the game to send it to overtime. With 3-on-3 overtime unable to determine a winner, it went to the lottery of the penalty shoot-outs and saw Pavel Vorobyev and Mario-Valery Trabucco scoring in the best-of-three for both teams. With both teams missing their respective shots in the first round of sudden death it had Edinburgh getting a huge slice of luck, after Mike Clemente slipped when skating back to his crease after trying to narrow the angle and despite him throwing his stick to stop the puck from going in, Vorobyev made it count and needed Trabucco to score to keep it going and sadly for the Storm he couldn’t and saw the Capitals claiming the extra point. 

Colts sees off playoff bound Heathens

Speedway

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Belle Vue Colts 50-40 Cradley Heathens

This past Friday night saw a makeshift Belle Vue Colts side picking up a battling 50-40 points victory over the playoff bound Cradley Heathens at the National Speedway Stadium, thanks to the brilliant performances of trio Matt Williamson, Lee Payne and guest Jack Smith.

Belle Vue opened the meeting with a 4-2 heat advantage with Matt Williamson getting passed Cradley’s Ashley Morris around the outside on the opening lap to lead and saw his team mate Tom Woolley keeping third while under pressure. Bradley Andrews of the Heathens then blasted his way around David Holt to lead and saw Holt then being chased down by Ben Basford, only for the visiting rider to fall off on the second bend of the third lap and gave the home side a shared heat.

Heat 3 saw Nathan Greaves enjoying another good pay day at the NSS, as he took the race win ahead of Matt Williamson after stopping the run of the Colts number 1 around the outside and held the home rider back in second place for another shared race. Tom Perry and Lee Payne then had a great little tussle out front in Heat 4, as Perry needed to be alert with Payne breathing down his neck for the whole four laps.

Cradley then collected their first race advantage of the evening, after Ashley Morris swooped around the outside of Tom Woolley to take the lead and then saw his partner Richard Andrews passing Woolley on the second lap to give the Heathens a 4-2 heat win and level the match up at 15-15 at piece. Heat 6 saw two races in one as the Belle Vue pairing of Williamson and Woolley got out on a 5-1, only for the duo to be split up by Perry and saw him chase down Williamson for the entire race and was unable to find a way at all.

Meanwhile, Tom Woolley faced a stern test from Ben Basford who was swarming all over the Colts man in the race and saw Woolley needing track knowledge just help him securing third place for the home side once more, and put the Colts back in front at 19-17.

A superb ride a couple races later by Tom Woolley saw him coming around Richard Andrews to take the lead coming out of turns three and four on lap 2, as saw the Colts rider then riding a defensive line to keep the Cradley rider at bay. Belle Vue then collected a very fortunate 5-1 in Heat 9, after Tom Perry looked set for a race win until he suffered a puncture just prior to the final lap and that allowed Lee Payne and Jack Smith son of former Aces Legend Andy Smith, to pick up maximum points and see the home side leading by six.

Matt Williamson collected his second race win of the night in Heat 10 after he got the better of Nathan Greaves and saw the Colts man flying from the gate, while Joe Lawlor who struggled all night with his set up, then had his best ride of the evening to pick up a point as he rounded the Heathens rider on the final bend on the penultimate lap to see a 3-3.

Jack Smith then channelled the riding of his dad in Heat 12, when the youngster split the Cradley duo up down the back straight and that saw Smith pulling away from the other riders in the race to take the race win. Heat 13 saw drama during and after the race, as firstly the Colts duo of Williamson and Payne got out on a 5-1 and that was until Ashley Morris got by both on the opening bends of the final lap, but Matt Williamson who unbeknown to him had his throttle jammed on the bike and saw him keeping the speed on to round Morris for a stunning win.

After the race, it saw Williamson riding the bike like a ‘bucking bronco’ down the back straight and as after he pulling the cut out on the bike to stop it dead, the bike refused to die and after his mechanics came out to try and solve the problem, it saw his bike then go up in flames with the Belle Vue man still on it before jumping off and having it sprayed by the nearby fire extinguishers.

Heat 14 saw another 4-2 going the way of the home side, with Jack Smith beginning to get to grips with the track and saw him flying around the boards and led everyone for the entire race and had Bradley Andrews suffering a second puncture for the Heathens side on what was a frustrating night for the Midlands side. Lee Payne rounded the night off with the race win in Heat 15 and saw the home side thinking what could have been if injuries and problems with the stadium at the start of the season hadn’t delayed their season.

Belle Vue Colts = 50

1. Matt Williamson – 3, 2, 3, 3, 3 = 14
2. Tom Woolley – 1, 0, 1, 3, 0 = 5
3. R/R for Dan Bewley – (MW – 2, TW – 0, LP – 2′, JS – 3 = 7+1)
4. Jack Smith (Guest) – 1′, 2, 3, 3, 3, 0 = 12+1
5. Lee Payne – 2, 2, 2′, 2, 1, 3 = 12+1
6. David Holt – 2, 1′, 1′, 1 = 5+2
7. Andy Mellish – 1′, 1′, 0, 0 = 2+1

Cradley Heathens = 40

1. Ashley Morris – 2, 3, 3, 2, 2 = 12
2. Richard Andrews – 0, 1, 1′, 0, 2 = 4+1
3. Nathan Greaves (Guest) – 3, 3, 2, 2, 1′ = 11+1
4. R/R for James Purchase – (JL – 0, JL – 0, JL – 1′, RA – 2 = 3+1)
5. Tom Perry (Guest) – 3, 2, R, R = 5
6. Ben Basford – F, 0, 1, (BA – 1′) = 1+1
7. Bradley Andrews – 3, 0, 2, 1′, R = 6+1
8. Joe Lawlor – 0, 0, 1′ = 1+1

 

Ice Hockey: Superb Storm see off Blaze & Clan

Ice Hockey

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Manchester Storm   3 – 1    Coventry Blaze 

Manchester Storm put in a sterling performance this weekend with wins over the Coventry Blaze and Braehead Clan, as the Storm moved to second in the Challenge Cup standings with their win on Sunday and also recorded an opening win in the Elite League with victory in Scotland.

The Blaze was making their second trip to the the Altrincham Ice Rink in less than month, after the sides played a couple of preseason games before the season got under way and saw the Blaze taking the honours in Storm’s first game back on the ice with a 7-6 overtime win, in what by all accounts a thrilling game to watch. Things this time around different, and that was evident from the opening face-off as the Storm buoyed by their win up in Glasgow the night before, saw the home side in firm control and dominated their opponents in their first period. Coventry who had lost the night before at home to the Sheffield Steelers, saw the Blaze looking disjointed with misplaced passes all over the ice and leaving huge gaps at the back for the home side to exploit.

Manchester struck early in the First period through a Cody Cartier strike, after the Canadian forward saw his first effort stopped by Brian Stewart in the Blaze goals and then followed up on his own rebound to slip the puck between the legs of the goalie at 3:21 and see the Storm a goal up with assists credited to Mark Heatley and Trevor Johnson. Storm dominated their opponents in the opening period of play, as the visitors seemingly not left the locker room the way they were playing. For a majority of the opening twenty minutes of play it saw the home side on top and almost saw Mark Heatley doubling the lead for the Manchester, when he skated in on goal and looked like for all the world it was going in, but a stunning save by Stewart kept it out.

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JACK PRINCE celebrates his First Professional goal.   Pic courtesy of Mark Ferriss- All Sport Photography

The Storm were soon celebrating a second goal coming their way, as the lead up to the goal started from behind their net and with some quick passing which was easy on the eye, it saw the line of Darian Dziurzynski and Matt Bissonnette both linking up well, before setting up Mario-Valery Trabucco to then hammer home the puck by the goalie and left him with no chance of stopping it. Manchester was in clear control and had the sense almost that the hosts were starting to get again from the Blaze so early in the contest. Both teams had a player sent to the box at in the final strains of the opening period when Connor Varley and Brett Robinson tangled out in front of Mike Clemente’s goal and saw the Blaze trying to be more physical and get under the skin of the Storm players as they looked to find a way back in the game.

When the teams restarted the second frame, it saw the home side carrying on from where they left off and created a few early chanced for themselves but Stewart yet again came up big when Coventry needed him too. Jack Prince made it 3-0 for Manchester, after the puck was knocked loose from a Paul Swindlehurst drive at the front of the net and Prince was first to it to tap home for his first professional goal in his career. Coventry’s Ross Venus was given a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind and it seemed like things were all going the way of the Storm. The continuous attempts of trying to draw Manchester players into penalty trouble was as frustrating for the Blaze as it was for them trying to score passed Clemente in the Manchester goals, However Patrik Valcak lost his rag with Josh Godfrey from the Blaze and that gave the visitors a rare powerplay.

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Storm netminder MIKE CLEMENTE makes another stop  Pic courtesy of : Mark Ferriss – All Sports Photography

With Coventry disrupting the flow of the home side with their frustrating play, it causing the home side to lose their way a bit and in doing so handed the visitors a way back into the game through a Bjorn Bombis goal to make it a 3-1 game. With the third period seeing the homes side holding a two-goal advantage in the game, it felt almost like the game was played in a slightly cautious manner by both sides with the next goal being a pivotal one in the scheme of things in the game.

Coventry pushed hard a second goal but the Storm weren’t in the mood to allow that happen, especially Clemente in the Manchester goal’s as he was proving to be a brick wall for the home side with a stunning game again. Both sides battled hard for the puck and with not too much in the way of chances at either end in truth, it saw the only incident of note being Manchester’s Jack Prince getting called for a checking from behind on Liam Stewart, with mini scuffle involving the players on the ice tangling. Prince left the game with less than ten minutes to play and saw the Storm holding out for the win and moving into 2nd position in the Challenge Cup group, with Manchester just two points off the leaders Sheffield.


 

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Braehead Clan 1 – 2  Manchester Storm 

As previously mentioned, the Manchester Storm travelled up North of the Border to Scotland and in Glasgow in particular on the Saturday night, as they opened up their Elite League programme with a clash against the Braehead Clan. The Scottish side took the lead in the First period through a Matt Keith goal, before Darian Dziurzynski jumped out of the penalty box and put it past the Clan netminder to tie the game. Dziurzyski was back at it in the Third period as he grabbed his second goal in the contest and helped seal a come from behind victory for the Storm on the road.

Speedway: ACES trump the Pirates & Robins to cement top spot

Speedway

officialMerchBadge                       1ad75-poole

Belle Vue Aces   48-45  Poole Pirates 

 

Belle Vue sealed top spot in the battle of the big boys on Monday night, with a victory over the Poole Pirates at the National Speedway Stadium and possibly strike an early psychological blow to their rival as the Aces claimed a 48-45 win to cement their place at the top of the Elite League regular season.

In a week that would determine whether or not the Aces finished top of the pile for the league season, it saw the Poole Pirates rolling into town first for a shootout with the home side to see who would finish higher and get the decision on who they want to face in the upcoming play-offs. The home side got off to a flyer when Matej Zagar and Steve Worrall opened up the meeting with a 4-2 for the Aces, and that was followed up on in the reserves race, with a stunning rode by Joe Jacobs that seen him swooping around the outside of the Pirates duo for a share of the points.

Belle Vue then recorded a couple of 4-2 heat advantages in their favour, before the Worrall brothers of Steve and Richie then nailed home a maximum 5-1 for the home side to lead by ten points after five races with the score 20-10. Poole team manager Neil Middleditch then nominated their Australian GP star for double points in the next heat, as Chris Holder got up the inside of Patrick Hougaard who was guesting for the Aces in place of Max Fricke who had away with his Swedish side in their playoffs. Those three points clawed back through Holder’s six points looked like it be a recovery job for the Pirates as they were back in the match.

The Manchester side then seemed set for a 5-1, when Craig Cook and Matej Zagar got out ahead of the Poole riders entering the final lap, but Zagar somehow managed to clip the fence and saw the Slovenian losing his dirt deflector in the process and ultimately handing Rohan Tungate a way through into second position and see a 4-2 instead of full point and was a missed opportunity for the Aces.

Two shared races saw Poole finally having two riders picking up race wins, with Bjarne Pedersen and Brady Kurtz getting three points each in their respective rider totals. Heat 10 then saw a great race develop between Cook and Pedersen as they passed and re-passed each other for three laps, before Cook managed to the get the better of the Dane and then saw Hougaard passing his countryman for third place. Neither side were giving an inch and when Steve Worrall had unenviable task of trying to defend from Tungate and Krzysztof Buczkowski, both of who had the speed and needed the St Helens rider to race a and half to to eventually claim victory, while Zagar was nowhere to be seen.

Heat 12 saw Jacobs at his stunning best once more with the Ipswich-born rider getting the drive coming around the Pirates yet again and see the Aces reserve picking up another three points. Poole looked set for a 5-1 in Heat 14 when Aussie pair Rohan Tungate and Brady Kurtz got out ahead of the Aces, that was until  Kurtz bike packed up on the opening lap and saw a shared heat which meant that the Belle Vue couldn’t lose and therefore confirmed them as topping the table.

The visiting side had the last word on the match, as they rounded the evening off with a 5-1 advantage from Holder and Tungate, to see the scoreline flattering the Dorset side in a way and lost by just three points when the home side just seemed to lose their way at times in the meeting, but it would be no surprise if the sides meet up again in a repeat of last year’s final.

Belle Vue Aces = 48

1. Matej Zagar 3, 1, 0, R = 4
2. Steve Worrall 1, 3, 1*, 3, 0 = 8+1
3. Patrick Hougaard (G) 1, 2, 1*, 2 = 6+1
4. Scott Nicholls 3, 1*, 2, 1* = 7+1
5. Craig Cook 3, 3, 2, 2, 1 = 11
6. Richie Worrall 0, 1, 2*, 2, 0 = 5+1
7. Joe Jacobs 3, T, 1*, 3 = 7+1

Poole Pirates = 45

1. Chris Holder 2, 6^, 3, 3, 2* = 16+1
2. Adam Ellis 0, 0, 0 = 0
3. Rohan Tungate (G) 2, 2, 2, 3, 3 = 12
4. Brady Kurtz 2, 0, 3, R = 5
5. Krzysztof Buczkowski T, 0, 1*, 1 = 2+1
6. Bjarne Pedersen 1*, 1, 3, 0, 2 = 7+1
7. Kyle Newman 2, 0, 0, 0, 1* = 3+1

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

officialMerchBadge           swindon2012

Belle Vue Aces  52 – 40 Swindon Robins

 

After confirming top spot in the standings with victory over Poole on Monday night, it saw the season coming full circle with the Aces welcoming the Robins back to the National Speedway Stadium for the final league game of the season, and a chance to get some revenge for their opening home defeat back in May to the Robins.

Swindon needed a single point from their remaining two matches to see them qualifying for the end of season play-offs, and they made a great start through Jason Doyle and Justin Sedgman, as the Aussies made the gate and raced out to a comfortable maximum for the Robins in Heat 1. Belle Vue then struck right back in Heat 2 with a 5-1 of their own, as Joe Jacobs and Richie Worrall made the gate this time and saw both Aces riders fly away for an easy heat advantage.

Rohan Tungate was has been a thorn in the side to the Aces on so many occasions this year, saw him once again proving to be a nuisance as the Swindon man made a quick gate along with Nick Morris, but Craig Cook was able to split the pairing and had Max Fricke passing Morris on the lap after for 3-3. Scott Nicholls then turned back the clock with an amazing outside pass on Josh Grajczonek to see him powering his way to the front and join up with  Joe Jacobs, to see he Aces on a 5-1 and move 14-10 ahead.

Justin Sedgman then separated the Worrall brothers in Heat 5, after the Australian rider got by Richie to see a 4-2 advantage and that was returned in kind by Tungate and Grajczonek a couple races later. Heat 9 saw a stunning race by the Worrall brothers again as this time they both blasted their way passed Josh Grajczonek on either side of the ex Belle Vue man to see the brother link up for a big 5-1 for the Aces to lead 31-23.

Cook and Fricke then recorded a second successive 5-1 in a row for the Aces in the Heat 10, but it was far from an easy win for the hosts with Jason Doyle and Justin Sedgman up against them. After Fricke got out in front it saw former Edinburgh Monarchs team-mates in Cook and Sedgman getting too close for comfort and saw Sedgman pushing Cook out so far towards the fence, that it meant that Doyle’s run around the outside was stopped or he would have crashed into the back of the Belle Vue man. Cook just edging second place ahead of his rival in the race, as the GB international came under severe pressure from Doyle right up to the line and had the Cumbria rider securing second place.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter then saw him putting the double points helmet on Rohan Tungate in Heat 11, and needed a special ride by Matej Zagar to see the Slovenian swoop around Tungate and have the Aces number one being stalked for the entire race, with Nick Morris blocking out Steve Worrall for only the visitors third heat advantage of the meeting. Stefan Nielsen recorded a surprising race win in Heat 12, after a tremendous opening lap that saw him swapping places back and forth with Joe Jacobs, before finally doing enough to keep the lead and take the race win. Belle Vue’s Zagar and Cook both pulled off stunning rides in Heat 13, in which both men passed Nick Morris simultaneously either side of him on the opening lap to see the Aces ending all but the Robins hopes of getting that elusive point they needed with a maximum 5-1.

Swindon ended their night on a high with a 4-2 heat advantage thanks to Rohan Tungate and Justin Sedgeman, with Tungate finishing up on 15 points in the meeting and 27 points for the Australian in two meetings at the NSS this week. Belle Vue will await the outcome of Friday’s clash with the Robins down at Purfleet, as the winner of the Lakeside Hammers and Swindon match will almost certainly prove to be the Aces semi-final opponents in the Play-offs next week. 

 

Belle Vue Aces = 52

1. Matej Zagar – 1,2,3,3 = 9
2. Steve Worrall – 0,3,2,0 = 5+1
3. Max Fricke – 1
,2,3,3 = 9+1
4. Scott Nicholls – 2,1,3,0 = 6+2
5. Craig Cook – 2,0,2,2,2 = 8+2
6. Richie Worrall – 2,1,3,1,0 = 7+2
7. Joe Jacobs – 3,3,0,2 = 8

Swindon Robins = 40

1. Jason Doyle – 3,3,1,R = 7
2. Justin Sedgmen – 2,2,2,0,1 = 7+2
3. Rohan Tungate – 3,3,4^,2,3 = 15
4. Josh Grajczonek – 1,1,1,1* = 4+1
5. Nick Morris – 0,R,1,1 = 2+1
6. Charles Wright – 1,0,1
,0,0 = 2+1
7. Stefan Nielsen – 0,R,(CW-0),3 = 3

 

 

 

Ice Hockey: Storm leave it Late to beat Devils

Ice Hockey

photo  Cardiff_Devils_logo.svg

Manchester Storm    4   –   2   Cardiff Devils 

Manchester Storm left it to late to beat their opponents on Saturday night, as two goals by Darian Dziurzynski lifted the Storm as 4-2 winners over the Cardiff Devils, in what was a highly competitive contest between two sides in the Challenge Cup.

In the opening stages it saw both goalies getting their catching mitt’s warm with early saves for the Storm’s Mike Clemente and Cardiff’s Ben Bowns keeping the forwards out early doors. The first penalty of the game came against Manchester’s player-coach Omar Pacha, a the Storm coach made a mistake at the back and led to him bring down the Devils forward for a tripping call and gave the Welsh side a power play opportunity. With over a minute gone on the Cardiff power play, it saw Patrik Valcak playing a quick pass up ice for Darian Dziurzynski and the Canadian forward saw his effort trickled under the pads of Bowns and into the Devils goal to see the Storm scoring shorthanded at 4:53.

Mark Heatley had a chance to double the lead for the hosts, when the former Bietstein Steelers man skating into the Cardiff zone saw the Storm braking away on a odd man rush and saw the attack come to nothing, as the Devils defended well. Cardiff were always knocking on the door of Clemente, but the Manchester goalie was in fine form and made some great saves to stop the Devils from levelling up. The game saw Cardiff’s recent signing in former NHL enforcer Patrick Borderleau making his presence felt out on the ice, as he laid a huge hit on Conor Varley that saw the Storm man hitting the ice hard and had the travelling ‘Red Army’ cheering the hit. Seconds later he went to repeat the trick again on Varley, but this time the defenceman just got out of the way and saw the former Colorado Avalanche man finding nothing but plexi much to home fans amusement.

During the period it saw plenty of chatter between the benches, and as the sides headed off for the first break still yapping at each other, it showed the competitive side of the two teams. Cardiff in the second session saw them edging the period and found Clemente in the Manchester nets a tough nut to crack, with the Devils getting frustrated with their efforts not finding a way by. Storm went close after a turnover in the Cardiff zone saw Omar Pacha throwing the puck on goal and having the rebound come out towards Heatley who then tried to prod home, but Bowns and his defence collapsed at the front of their net to stop any chance of a goal from happening.  

Finally the Devils broke down the defences of the home side with a goal coming from Joey Haddad, as after Layne Ulmer saw his shot on goal padded down by Clemente, the rebound fell to the skates of the Cardiff forward who then turn in goalwards for a 1-1 game at 30:03 in the game. Storm restored their lead soon after on the power play through a Matt Bissonnette goal, after Mario Valery-Trabucco played a puck out at the front of the net for Darian Dziurzynski and when he played it slightly across Bowns, it saw Bissonnette on hand to help slam home for a 2-1 lead. Cardiff had been using their physical play to good effect and forced their way back into the contest, but felt like the Storm had used the Devils own emotions against them in the lead up the penalty with the visitors leaving gaps at the back with Cardiff being too aggressive on the penalty kill.

stocar13
 Taken from Manchester Storm.com

Both sides came out for the third period all guns blazing and saw Clemente still making stunning saves to help preserve the home side’s lead. It seemed almost certain that their pressure would tell and it did as the Devils tied the game up at 47:51 to make it a 2-2 scoreline. Cardiff’s tying goal all started through goalscorer Gleason Fournier chasing down a loose puck down in the Storm end and saw him playing a little pass out towards Joey Haddad, who saw his effort cleared only as far as Sean Bentivoglio who controlled the puck with his skate and when the Storm couldn’t clear their lines, Fournier then fired through traffic to make it all square. With the game on a knife edge with just over three minutes remaining on the period, it saw Darian Dziurynzski redirecting a Trevor Johnson shot on target passed Ben Bowns to put Manchester back in front at 3-2 and see the Altrincham Ice Rink rocking. 

With Cardiff pulling the goalie for the extra attacker as they went in search of a third tying goal in the game, it saw the home fans rallying behind their side for the final two minutes and had the Storm players feeding off that energy in the dying minutes. Mario Valery-Trabucco then cut out an attempted pass in the Manchester zone to see him playing in Darian Dziurzynski for an attempt to pick up a hat trick, but was denied, but after Cardiff’s Bentivoglio tried to clear the puck around the boards it stopped by Trabucco behind the empty net and he put it in the cage to seal the victory for a Storm at 59:55.

Manchester open up their League programme next weekend with a trip up at the Braehead Clan next Saturday night and then welcome the Coventry Blaze back to Altrincham in a Challenge Cup game on Sunday. 

 

Women's Football: Beattie sends City through to cup final

Women's Football

                    Manchester-City-Crest (3)   twitter_arsenalladies

Manchester City Women    1   –   0    Arsenal Ladies 

 

Title chasing Manchester City Women took a break away from the Women’s Super League to face Arsenal Ladies in the Continental Cup Semi-Final at the City Academy Stadium and saw a Jennifer Beattie goal ten minutes from time proving to be the difference against the cup holders, to end a tough week for the club on happy note.

This past week saw the tragic passing of former Manchester City Women’s EDS youngster Zoe Tynan, as the whole squad wore shirts with ‘Tynan 14’ on the back and a photo of her on the front during the warm-ups. Before kick-off there was a moments silence followed by an applause for the former Everton & City player and saw emotions needing to be put to one side once the action got underway. The first half was a very scrappy affair with neither side really taking charge and saw a stalemate between the two rivals.

 IMG_20160904_140203City had more of the attacking threat in the opening half hour of the game, with Toni Duggan nearly latching onto a through ball and needed Arsenal’s Alex Scott to just poke the ball away from the England International’s path. The game seemed to be riddled with nerves and play being mainly in the middle of the park, as Jennifer Beattie almost assisted Asisat Oshoala in opening the scoring as her under hit pass was collected and needed Marie Hourihan to quickly claim the ball as the City keeper came running off her line to dive at the feet of the Arsenal forward. It was a game of few chances and saw the better ones falling the way of the home side in the first half, with Toni Duggan having the best chance for the hosts after good build play by the home side saw Izzy Christiansen rolling the ball off to Duggan, who saw the striker shooting straight at the keeper and either of her and it was a goal.

Danielle Van De Donk had Arsenal’s best chance of the half, when a ball in the area came towards her and she could put her effort over the bar as she was being closed down by a City defender. Van De Donk was in the wars over the space of five minutes, when she crumpled in a heap with the ball and no one around her as she seemed to pull something and then the player jumped up for a header with Jennifer Beattie outside the City box and saw her coming worse in the challenge. That brought a change for the visitors, as Vicky Losada came on to replace the injured Arsenal midfielder who went off with a cut to her head. Arsenal pressed for a goal and saw Lucy Bronze tracking back to make a good tackle and dispossess Oshoala and saw her clear away from trouble.

Second half saw much more in the way of an open contest between the teams, with it almost feeling like neither side wanted it go to extra time. Arsenal had the first effort in the second half through Danielle Carter, as the scorer of the Gunners winning FA Cup goal back in May, saw the striker blaze her shot over after a good find from Dominique Janssen in the City penalty area and should have done better. Steph Houghton then saw her replicating a similar miss minutes later, when the City captain’s attempted volley saw her unable to keep it down and nearly went over the roof behind goal. The two Manchester City centre-back’s in Houghton and Beattie saw them put in a good shift for the home side, as they managed to work in tandem to block a Carter shot on goal and keep the game goalless, but you sensed a goal was on the horizon.

City fans and players were getting incensed that some of the pulling from the visiting side was going unpunished and some decisions seemed to be going the other way, so when Lucy Bronze had the speed on her former England International team mate Kelly Smith, the Arsenal player dragged her down to the ground and received the first yellow card of the game. Players were losing their footing on the wet surface in the second period, and so when Toni Duggan had managed to turn the Arsenal defender inside-out, her attempted shot went wide of the post as she slipped at the worst possible time. Some lack of communication and concentration at the back for the home side nearly allowed Asisat Osahola to net a opener for the North London side, but Marie Hourihan was on hand to make the a good save from her and saw the rebound come out to Carter was fired wide of the goal.

Arsenal then enjoyed their best spell in the game and put the home side in real trouble, so when Danielle Carter’s 25-yard effort struck the crossbar you began to think if the Gunners were going to steal a march on their hosts in the game. Nikita Parris then made a run on the outside of Casey Stoney and was hauled down just outside the area and saw the second yellow card being handed out and gave the home side a chance of go ahead. The host then broke the deadlock ten minutes from time, after a free kick was fizzed in by Toni Duggan and saw an attempted clearance by Arsenal ricocheting off another Gunners player and right into the path of Jennifer Beattie and the Scottish defender tucked home against her former club from close range and put City 1-0 ahead.

IMG_20160904_160008 Play was then predominantly in the City half for the remainder of the game and had all the blue shirted players back in their own half as they faced an onslaught of Arsenal attacks again and again, with Kelly Smith looking like she was level the match up until captain Steph Houghton managed to clear the ball away off the line and preserve the home side’s lead. Georgia Stanway then came on to replace Toni Duggan for the rest of the match as she went down with cramp towards the end of the ninety minutes, after running herself into the ground in the second half for the Blues. The home fans were left bemused when the board said six minutes added, as it seemed to just add to the drama of the contest.

Time and time again Arsenal came at the hosts and were left thwarted by a blue shirt blocking their efforts on goal and seeing the home side putting their bodies in the way to stop their opponents from levelling the game. With one last attack by the visitors coming to nothing, it had the referee blowing his whistle and sending City back to a Continental Cup Final and in doing so repeated their 2014 heroics over the team they won the title against in Arsenal and by the same score too. After the game emotions poured out of players with tiredness and some in tears as Jill Scott was needed to be consoled by a Steph Houghton and couple of others as this was an emotional win for the home and had the home fans singing ‘She’s one of our own, Zoe Tynan she’s one of our own.’

It will be a battle of the Blues in the Continental Cup Final, with Manchester City setting up a meeting with Birmingham City Women on their own turf on October 2nd with the final being played at the Academy stadium. Before that takes place however, Nick Cushing’s side will face a Arsenal Ladies side in the Women’s Super League next Sunday evening with revenge very much on their mind as the two renew battle at Boreham Wood.

Ice Hockey: Storm see off Steelers in

Ice Hockey

photo300px-Sheffield_Steelers.svg

Manchester Storm    5 – 2   Sheffield Steelers


Manchester Storm completed their pre-season schedule with a fantastic defensive display in a 5-2 win over their ‘Roses’ rivals the Sheffield Steelers at the Altrincham Ice Rink. After the disappointment of being edged out in a thriller against Coventry in midweek, it saw the Storm facing their foes from over the Pennines and looked to not only pick up a victory in the clash but also look to get their first win over the Steelers since forming last season.

Sheffield started the game on the front foot and with the Steelers having played in the Screenshot_20160904-192448 Champions Hockey League in early August, it saw the men from Yorkshire being more aggressive and having the hosts weathering an early storm if you pardon the pun. The visitors were missing a few players in their lineup and had the Steelers starting with Brad Day between the pipes, while Manchester iced their new forward Darian Dziurzynski and also gave Tom Ratcliffe and Jake Nurse another chance for the Storm after they played well in midweek.

Both sides had a defensive battle and saw Sheffield taking the lead with 2’14 gone in the game as Great Britain International Ben O’Connor fired in a shot that flew in the net with the netminder completely screened by a forward and his defenceman. Storm got back on level terms ninety-seconds later after Matt Bissonnette put a shot through the legs of Brad Day in the Steelers goal and saw it trickle in across the line.

Play was then mainly based inside the Manchester zone, with Sheffield setting up camp in it and having the home side having to soak up the pressure coming from the away side. Both sides enjoyed a bit of time on the power play, but both were successfully killed off by the respective sides. Storm netminder Mike Clemente was called upon to make some much needed saves for the home team, as Sheffield pushed for a second goal and were much the better side as the period went on. The visitors then got caught napping at the back as a long stretch pass by Paul Swindlehurst up the boards was collected by new boy Darian Dziurzyski on a breakaway, and the Canadian found the net as it pinged in off the crossbar to put the Storm 2-1 up against the run of the play at 16’48 in the period.

Screenshot_20160904-192425 There was still time for more action in the first period of play, as Conor Varley took aim at the Sheffield net and saw his low drive at the near post somehow managed to find a gap and see the puck end up in the back of the net for a 3-1 Manchester lead at 17’30. With thirty-two seconds remaining on the period, it saw Zack Fitzgerald picking up a kneeing penalty and put the hosts on a power play that saw them starting the second with the man advantage. At 21’07 a power play goal by Eric Neilson saw him opening up his account for the Storm and gave the home side a 4-1 lead. That three goal cushion was cut down to two thirteen-seconds later when Zack Fitzgerald cannoned in one for the Steelers to see the visitors back in the game.

Manchester then answered back again soon after through a Adam Harding effort that went in off a defenseman to make it a 5-2 game. Sheffield again exerted their pressure on the home side and had to contend with Mike Clemente making save after save to deny the visiting side another goal in the contest. Play in the third was played at a near testimonial tempo with the Steelers peppering the Storm net and had Clemente on top of the forwards, as he was having a stunning game in goals and the highlight was a double save. Both teams played out the period ahead of tomorrow night’s clash between the two in the Challenge Cup at the Sheffield Arena.

Ben O’Connor took home the Man of the match award for the Steelers, while netminder Mike Clemente took home the honours for the Storm with a great display of goaltending. In truth it was a magnificent effort by the whole Manchester side and will have pleased Storm coach Omar Pacha with the way his side played.

Storm v Steelers – GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Speedway: Aces sink the Pirates in Bank Holiday clash

Speedway

bellevuecc320-poole

Belle Vue Aces   49   –   41   Poole Pirates 

Belle Vue recorded a vital win over the Poole Pirates on Bank Holiday Monday, as in front of a bumper crowd at the National Speedway Stadium the Aces claimed a 49-41 victory over the Dorset side and helped boost their hopes of a top place finish in the regular season table with four meetings left for the Manchester side.

Max Fricke returned to the Aces lineup after the injury he sustained at the NSS during the World Cup race-off back in July and for once had the home side fielding a full strength side for the time in over a month. After the disappointment of losing to King’s Lynn at home the previous Wednesday evening, it had Mark Lemon commenting after that loss that the side would need to be on form to beat a tough team in Poole.

Slovenian rider and Belle Vue number One Matej Zagar took the opening win in Heat 1 after flying around Adam Ellis to take the lead and held on for the 3 points. The Aces reserve pairing of Joe Jacobs and Richie Worrall saw them recording a 5-1 for the home side as they beat the Pirates duo of Kyle Newman and Bjarne Pedersen. Heat 3 saw Max Fricke making a cut back pass on Poole’s Hans Andersen on the back straight of the opening lap as the Australian rider pulled away and saw Craig Cook all over the Danish rider and had to settle for third as the Aces secured a 4-2 and lead 12-6.

Kyle Newman then made a stunning pass on Joe Jacobs on the third lap of the race after the two British riders pushed each other hard for the final lap and saw the Poole rider just having the power to surge him ahead and take the race win ahead of the Belle Vue man. Heat 5 saw the visitors picking up their first and only heat advantage in the meeting through Adam Ellis and Bjarne Pedersen, after Steve Worrall dived up the inside of the Pirates duo to see them trailing 17-13.

Another good race the Pirates getting out of the gate on a 4-2 only for Scott Nicholls to separate the Poole pairing and had Max Fricke chasing down hard his fellow Aussie Countryman in Chris Holder and found some grip to blast round the Poole man for a third place and see a share of the points for a 3-3. Poole’s Krzysztof Buczkowski made a quick gate in Heat 7 for the away side and that was until the third bend on opening lap, when Cook went around the Polish rider and then Matej Zagar repeated the feat a lap later to see the Aces riders securing a 5-1 advantage..

Belle Vue Rentruck' Aces v Poole 'Readypower' Pirates, Elite League  29 August 2016

Taken from Belle Vue Speedway website Photo by Ian Charles: Matej Zagar (Red) inside Krzysztof Buczkowski (White), Steve Worrall (Blue) and Hans Andersen (Yellow/Black) 

Heat 8 was a carbon copy of earlier in the meeting, when Jacobs and Newman faced off again and saw the Pirates man proving to be quick for the Belle Vue man, as he once again edge him out in a yet another stunning race. Brady Kurtz who was scoreless in his opening two rides then popped out of the gate to take Heat 9.
Max Fricke then collected a last gasp point as he pipped Adam Ellis to third, while Chris Holder won his first race of the afternoon in Heat 10. Bjarne Pedersen and Joe Jacobs had a great race with other in Heat 12, with both riders racing hard and saw yet another shared heat with the Poole rider just getting the better of him.

Poole saw their hopes of trying to win the meeting go up in smoke as Hans Andersen suffered a bike failure on the opening lap and that effectively saw the Aces taking the match as Chris Holder made it two wins on the bounce as he made a lovely pass on Craig Cook on the last bend of the first lap to take the race win. Heat 14 saw a ‘Battle of Australia’ with Max Fricke and Brady Kurtz have a terrific race out front and needed the Belle Vue man to have eyes in the back of his head to spot the run of Kurtz for the second half of the race, as the Pirates man tried desperately to get by countryman but had to settle for second.

An incredible last heat saw Max Fricke and Chris Holder battling it out for the lead and was close going into the final bend with the former World Champion just holding off Fricke for the win. After a 8th successive 3-3 in row between the sides, it showed how evenly matched the two clubs are heading into the playoffs. Belle Vue travel down to Wimborne Road on Thursday evening for the return meeting, where Poole have former Ace and Pirates asset Krzysztof Kasprzak guesting for the home side after Hans Andersen was injured in a crash involving Max Fricke on Leicester, after the Aussie guested for them later in the evening.

Belle Vue Aces = 49

1. Matej Zagar – 3,2,3,1,1* = 10+3
2. Steve Worrall – 0,2,1,0 = 3+1
3. Max Fricke – 3,1,1,3,2 = 10+2
4. Scott Nicholls – 1,2,1,0 = 4+2
5. Craig Cook – 1,3,2,2 = 8
6. Richie Worrall – 2,0,2,2 = 6+1

7. Joe Jacobs – 3,2,2,1* = 8+1

Poole Pirates = 41

1. Chris Holder – 1,0,3,3,3 = 10
2. Adam Ellis – 2,3,0,0 = 5
3. Krzysztof Buczkowski – 0,1,2,1 =4+1

4. Brady Kurtz – 0,0,3,2 = 5
5. Hans Andersen – 2,3,1*,R,0 = 6+1
6. Bjarne Pedersen – 0,1,(KN-3),3 = 4
7. Kyle Newman – 1,3,3,0,0 = 7