Browns Finally Win an NFL game!

Well, it’s official. Hell has officially frozen over. For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns could finally call themselves ‘Winners’, if only for a week. Last Thursday evening witnessed one of the stories of this early NFL season, with the luckless Browns – who had gone 19 games straight without a win to their name, finally picking up a ‘W’ in their own backyard with a 21-14 victory over the New York Jets.

Now, some of you reading this will be thinking, “what is the big deal about this win for the team, as all teams suffer spells of no wins and losses at some time or another”. However, you have to understand the whole picture to get it. It would be fair to say that the Cleveland Browns in the NFL are not one of the big-hitters in the league or deemed as one of the glamour sides in the league either.

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Cleveland fan Photo: Boston Herald

Cleveland has always been in some quarters, a kind of ‘cult’ team within the National Football League and one of the sides that fans of other sides and pundits dismiss instantly. They are the American Football equivalent of the Chicago Cubs pre-World Series champions in 2016, to which the Cubs were dubbed ‘The Loveable Losers’. For the Browns last winning season you would have to go back to the 2007 NFL Season for when they posted a (.500 season) and record of 10-6, but was denied a playoff spot by their divisional rivals in the Pittsburgh Steelers in a tiebreaker and also saw the Steelers miss out by thE same token against Tennessee.

Since then, the Browns have flirted with the bottom place in the league for many years and saw them last year not just finish bottom of the pile, but managed to become the first team since the 2008 Detriot Lions to register an ‘Imperfect’ season record of 0-16. In comparison to the Lions sides of ’08, the Browns can take a slight victory that they didn’t concede as many points as Detroit did in their winless year, with the Browns conceding 107 points less than with 410 against as opposed to the Lions 517.

Meanwhile, the Browns haven’t made the postseason playoffs since 2002 and saw them losing narrowly to the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-33 in a Wild Card game in Pittsburgh. Barring, of course, the 2007 season, the Browns have only ever won more than five games once in a year, and that came back in 2014 with a 7-9 season record. However, it’s been a slippery slide for Cleveland and saw them posting their best year in 2015 with a 3-15 record and in previous years posted 1-15 and of course the infamous 0-16 of last year.’

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Browns fans wearing infamous paper bags  Pic: USA TODAY

The Forest City’ as Cleveland is sometimes referred to by people, has seen the team lost in the wilderness of sporting sides there in the City – as with the Cavaliers battling for an NBA title with star player LeBron James and finally landing success in 2016, it has also seen a sleeping giant in the Cleveland Indians baseball team reaching a World Series the same year, and lost perhaps the greatest game seven in MLB history to the Chicago Cubs.

In the past few years, Cleveland fans have used social media to show their frustration and wanting their team to ‘tank’, meaning they want them to lose on purpose just so that they can get a good shot in the draft at a new quarterback. In 2014, the Browns selected Johnny Manziel as 22nd pick overall and the man dubbed ‘Johnny Football’ had an eventful spell in Cleveland, but ended with him getting injured in 2015 and would never wear the Browns uniform again.

With all the losing records and defeats piling up one after another against the Browns, it saw a couple of fans looking to inject a bit of dark humour to things and put forward a ‘Cleveland 0-16 parade’ following a winless year.

The idea was put in motion and saw long-suffering fans of the franchise going through with their parade and was met originally with some of the Cleveland players expressing displeasure and offence to the parade happening. The three who expressed their anger towards the staging of the parade was Defensive-End Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive-Tackle Danny Shelton who has since been traded to New England and Linebacker Christian Kirkey.

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Browns fans at Xmas time  Pic: DenverPost

The man responsible for the parade was Browns fan Chris McNeil and was interviewed by ESPN over the whole parade. In an interview he gave to the website, he mentioned that the parade was a ‘shot across the bow to ownership and front office’ as fans were fed up with watching a poor team. On social media, it saw McNeil fending off calls that this parade was an embarrassing event for the City of Cleveland, while his reply back was “The Brown have one win in two years, that is embarrassing to me as a fan”.

So on January 6th, 2018, on a snow-covered day in the Rock and Roll city, the ‘Cleveland 0-16’ parade took place and saw many humorous sights being captured on camera on local news and national news too. At one point it saw fans carrying ‘tombstones’ of past Browns quarterbacks since their last postseason success, but all in all, it was lighthearted and something to allow Browns fans to vent and be creative with and not be rioting.

All money raised in the build-up to the parade was to pay for security, public restrooms and things needed for a parade. For all the comings and goings of it, it was reported that $50,000 was raised and donated to the City’s Food Bank and so it saw a positive outcome overall.

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Cleveland hero Baker Mayfield takes applause from Browns fans   Pic: SLATE.COM

So following their horror year last season, it saw all change with the Front Office and Coaching changes all happening in the offseason. At this year’s 2018 NFL Draft in Dallas, Texas it saw Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield being drafted as the first overall pick, having just come off a heartbreaking double-overtime loss against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl Semi Final.

Following a preseason to which the Browns won 3 of 4 games, their opening season saw them facing their divisional rivals in Pittsburgh Steelers at home and from being 21-7 points down with seven minutes to play, it saw two scores to bring them all square at 21-21 and go to overtime. With nine seconds left to go in the sudden death, it saw kicker Zane Gonzales having a chance to kick a winning 43-yard field goal but saw it blocked by T.J Watt and put a halt to their defeats with a tie. 

After their tie with Pittsburgh, they then headed to the Superdome in New Orleans, and for most of the game had led the way and with 2.40 left to play, they found themselves throwing away the game as a touchdown and 2-pt conversion saw the home side Saint going 18-12 up. However, on a 4th & 5 play for Cleveland, the ball was thrown upfield by Tyrod Taylor and saw Antonio Callaway making the catch for a touchdown and had Zane Gonzalez needing only to add the extra for what seemed like a victory.

Having missed his previous two kicks, Gonzalez missed another and after the Saints converted a field goal late on, they led 21-18 before Gonzalez missed another saw him missing four in a row and saw the Saints win and you could say his kicking cost the Browns victory in the opening two weeks of the season and saw the streak continue on.

With two successive games of snatching ‘defeats from the jaws of victory’ against both Pittsburgh and New Orleans, the Browns returned home against a New York Jets side that had a similar 0-2 record to Cleveland. New York opened up a 14-0 lead in the 2nd quarter and then later on in the half, saw the Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffering an injury and was gone for the rest of the game.

Cleveland’s new kicker Greg Joseph, who was given a great ovation by the home fans in the warm-up, saw him literally kick-starting the Browns into action. With two Field Goals either side of the half and with Taylor gone for the game, it saw rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield coming into the fray and throwing some nice passes and led to Carlos Hyde scoring a touchdown to bring it within two points and then tied it up with a version of a ‘Philly Special’ or ‘Cleveland Cleveland’, with Baker Mayfield catching his first NFL touchdown on debut to level the game at 14-14.

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Cleveland celebrates with fans after victory Pic: Browns wire- USA TODAY

New York then led again, but the Browns had a new hero in Mayfield and he then led the Browns to victory with a drive that saw Carlos Hyde running for his second touchdown and with Terrance Mitchell making an Interception at the end of the game, it brought the Browns closer to a win. With Cleveland taking a knee, it saw the home fans going wild in the stands and throughout the City, as they were no longer ‘losers’ and could finally claim to be ‘Winners’.

Plus for the first time since beating the San Diego Chargers (now L.A Chargers) on December 24th, 2016, the Cleveland Browns could finally celebrate a regular season victory.

 

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Aces Win the Battle But Not the War

BELLE VUE ACES 50-40 SOMERSET REBELS

(Somerset win 92-88 on aggregate)

Belle Vue came agonisingly close to overturning a 14-point deficit against the Somerset Rebels, as the Aces won 50-40 on the night at the National Speedway Stadium, but despite the victory, the Rebels took the tie by four points to advance through to their first Premiership Knockout Cup Final.

Following their disappointing loss down at the Oak Tree Arena last week in the first leg, their grip on their knockout cup was loose and hanging by a thread. The Aces opened the meeting up with a 4-2 advantage from Steve Worrall and Max Fricke to which Worrall recorded the second race win in back to back meetings against the Rebels and on both occasions beat the World Champion in Jason Doyle.

Somerset then answered right back a 5-1 from Jake Allen and Aaron Summers, as the reserves opened up a 16-point lead for the Westcountry side in the tie. Stevie Worrall made it two wins in a row when powered to victory alongside Rohan Tungate to register a 5-1 advantage and make it a 12-point lead, before Aaron Summers did well to block the run of Grand Prix rider Craig Cook in Heat four, as Cook was unable to find a way past the Aussie rider in the race.

The visitors then took two advantages in a row, as Jason Doyle and Nico Covatti rode to a 5-1 before Jack Holder and Jake Allen took a 4-2 to extend their lead in the overall tie by 18-points and move the Aces behind the 8-ball, as the Rebels led on the night 28-26.

Heat 10 saw Max Fricke and Dmitri Berge riding to a 5-1 to up the Aces up 31-29 on the night and trail by 12 overall, with slim hopes still of staying alive in the cup. Another heat victory for the home side saw Cook and Berge reducing the deficit to ten points before the interval came around, as they recorded a 4-2 advantage.

Following the interval, it saw a great race between Berge and Bradley Wilson-Dean in Heat 12 that saw both riders passing each other and see the Aces man looking to have done enough to take the race victory, but instead, it saw Wilson-Dean sneaking around on the final bend to pip him on the line for a 4-2 to the visitors.

A couple of weeks ago when the sides met on television – it saw it going viral online and have had many saying it was the race of the season, but this race may have surpassed it, with no less than ten passes in the race and saw Fricke getting past Doyle on the final bend to take the race win and also have Cook following behind with a last-gasp move up the inside to snatch second place for Belle Vue and pick up a huge 5-1.

With maximum points being picked up in Heat 13, it meant that the home side needed two five-ones to win the tie. Unfortunately, despite a battling effort from the home side with Tungate and Berge holding 5-1 for a couple of laps, it saw Berge unable to hold off a fast Richard Lawson and had the Scottish rider splitting the Aces riders and sealing a finals berth for Somerset in the KO Cup Final.

Belle Vue finished the meeting with a 4-2 race advantage, as Cook and Holder had a good tussle out in front with the Aces man just having enough to beat his opponent. With Belle Vue missing out on defending their cup, they now turn their attention to the first leg of their Playoff Semi Final at home to King’s Lynn on Monday night, with the Aces hope to take a lead down to Norfolk the following week

VIDEO: Ht13 ACES – REBELS  –  Credit: CLEAN CUT SPORTS

Belle Vue Aces = 50 (88)
1. Max Fricke — 1, 2, 3, 3, 1 = 10
2. Dan Bewley — R/R (SW – 3 , JBA – R, RT – 3, DiB – 2′ = 8+1)
3. Steve Worrall — 3, 3, 0, 1′, 0 = 7+1
4. Rohan Tungate — 2′, 1, 3, 2, 3 = 11+1
5. Craig Cook — 2, 3, 3, 2′, 3 = 13+1
6. Dimitri Berge — 1, 1′, 0, 2′, 1, 2, 2′ = 9+3
7. Jonas B Andersen (G) — 0, T/(DiB – 1′), R, 0, (DiB – 2) = 0

Somerset Rebels = 40 (92)
1. Jason Doyle — 2, 3, 2, 1 = 8
2. Nico Covatti — 0, 2′, 0, (AS – 0) = 2+1
3. Bradley Wilson-Dean — 1, 1′, 0, 3 = 5+1
4. Richard Lawson — 0, 2, 1, 2, 0 = 5
5. Jack Holder — 0, 3, 3, 0, 2 = 8
6. Jake Allen — 3, 1, 0, 1 = 4
7. Aaron Summers — 2′, 3, 2, 0, 0 = 7+1

Battling Colts Can’t stop Powerful Fen Tigers

BELLE VUE COLTS  43 – 47 MILDENHALL FEN TIGERS

(Mildenhall win on Aggregate 68-111)

The curtain came down on the 2018 season for the Belle Vue Colts on Friday night, as they finished on a low note being edged out 47-43 in the second leg of their National League Knockout Cup tie to the runaway leaders in the National League in the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, as for the second time this season the Suffolk side left Manchester with another win this year.

With the Colts facing insurmountable 39-point deficit to make up from the first leg down in West Row, it saw the Fen Tigers opening up the second leg in much of the same way they did in the first leg with a 5-1 through Drew Kemp and Danny Phillips as Ben Woodhull pushed them to the end but couldn’t get by.

Paul Bowen pulled off a brilliant pass in the reserves race to beat Matt Marson as the man dubbed the ‘Pieman’ at the N.S.S, saw the Belle Vue man refusing to come off the outside line and on lap 3 saw him generating the speed and flew by Marson down the back straight to take the win, while Kean Dicken held third from Sam Bebee for a 4-2 to the Colts.

Drew Kemp and Colts Jack Smith raced each other four times in the meeting and saw Kemp taking the first of their four duels in the meeting. In Heat 6 it saw both Mildenhall reserves suffering from bike problems, as firstly, Marson had his bike ceasing up as soon as the bike got out on the track and was excluded under the two minutes rule. Bebee then came in to replace his fellow reserve and saw his bike packing up on the gate just as tapes flew up and luckily for the visitors they had Kemp riding to an easy win.

In Heat 7, it saw the Colts picking up a 5-1 with Smith and Bowen combining to take maximum points. Bowen, then came out in the following race and saw him leading the race until Danny Phillips passed him on turn two of lap 2 and then saw the Colts man trying to blast his way around the outside of Phillips but saw him hitting the deck and gift a 4-2 to the Fen Tigers.

Kemp and Smith battled out front again in Heat 9, as the Mildenhall man made it four wins in a row and the second over Smith in the match. As a result of a drawn heat, it meant that the visitors booked their place in the KO Cup final with nine races gone and saw the most anti-climactic announcement of the meeting, while the scores were level at 27-27 all on the night.

Fen Tigers Jordan Jenkins picked up two race wins in a row after a tough opening lap against Jon Armstrong and Ben Woodhull saw him overcoming both take the victory and in Heat 11, saw a very mature ride to keep Jack Smith behind him with a brilliant ride.

Belle Vue’s number four Joe Lawlor suffered an unfortunate blow in his ride in Heat 12, as a great battle with him and Matt Marson saw Lawlor getting a puncture towards the final lap and saw Marson coming under him to make the pass for victory and see Tom Woolley picking up his only point of the night as the visitors took a 4-2 advantage.

Jon Armstrong who was guesting from Coventry, saw him making a great gate in Heat 13 until Kemp again got the bike hooked up and passed Armstrong to lead. Jack Smith then passed Phillips and Armstrong in one more and saw the Colts captain looking to chase down the Tigers man for the third time and was forced to settle for second place again for three races in a row.

In Heat 14, it saw a great race involving all four riders, as the Tigers duo of Marson and Jenkins both gate ahead of Lawlor before he then split the pair on the first bend and with a 4-2 looking likely, it then saw Paul Bowen coming from nowhere to pass Marson on the opening bend of the final lap to see a shared heat.

In the final race of the night, it saw Jack Smith finally managing to beat the impressive Drew Kemp and avoid a clean sweep of race wins against him. Smith had made the gate initially before the Mildenhall man took the lead on the first bend of lap 2 and then saw Smith forcing him wide on the last bend of the same lap and then had the Belle Vue man holding firm for a win and have Joe Lawlor trying his best to catch Jenkins, but sadly couldn’t generate the speed.

Mildenhall managed to hold on for a victory and see them recording a second 47-43 victory over the Colts this season at the National Speedway Stadium and followed their win earlier at the start of August.

 

Belle Vue Colts = 43 (68)

1. Jon Armstrong (G) – 0, 2, 1′, 1′ = 4+2
2. Ben Woodhull – 1, 1′, 1′, 2, 2 = 7+2
3. Tom Perry R/R
4. Joe Lawlor – 2, 2, 1′, 2, 2, 0 = 9+1
5. Jack Smith – 2, 3, 2, 2, 2, 3 = 14
6. Paul Bowen – 3, 1′, 2′, 0, 0, 1′ = 7+3
7. Kean Dicken – 1, 1′, X, 0 = 2+1

Mildenhall Fen Tigers = 47 (111)

1. Danny Ayres R/R
2. Danny Philips (G) – 2′, 3, 3, 1, 0 = 9+1
3. Tom Woolley (G) – 0, 0, 0, 0, 1 = 1
4. Jordan Jenkins – 3, 1, 3, 3, 3, 1′ = 14+1
5. Drew Kemp – 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 = 17
6. Matt Marson – 2, X, 0, 3, 0 = 5
7. Sam Bebee – 0, 0, EF, 1, RS = 1

 

Colts keep their slim Playoffs hopes alive

BELLE VUE COLTS  58 – 32  ISLE OF WIGHT WARRIORS

Friday night saw the defending National League champions in the Belle Vue Colts keeping their hopes alive of making the playoffs after recording a 58-32 win over the Isle of Wight Warriors in their final home meeting of the regular season at the National Speedway Stadium.

The meeting started with a race win for guest rider Danny Ayers, as the Mildenhall man replaced Alfie Bowtell for the Warriors and beat Colts guest rider in Ben Wilson from Buxton and faced a surprising challenge from Ben Woodhull to take the victory.

A 4-2 from Belle Vue reserves Paul Bowen and Kean Dicken saw the host edging ahead in the meeting, and was followed up in the followed race with a 5-1 from Joe Lawlor and Tom Perry, as both Colts found a way passed Scott Campos for maximum points.

It then saw two race advantages for the home side which was sandwiched between a second race win for Danny Ayers, as the hosts led 19-11 with five heats gone.

Belle Vue then extended their lead with back to back 5-1’s in Heats 6 and 7 before the Warriors hit back with their only race advantage of the night in Heat 8.

Firstly, Ben Woodhull pulled a wheelie from tapes and saw him out of the race with Kean Dicken forced to repel the Warriors duo of Danno Verge and Shaun Tedham. Dicken seemed to have everything in order until a gap appeared and allowed Verge to dive up the inside on the final bend of lap 3 and see a 4-2.

Belle Vue then banged in a couple of 4-2 race advantages with Ben Wilson flying around the outside of Scott Campos in Heat 10, while Ayers made it three straight wins as he lowered the colours of Colts captain Jack Smith in Heat 11. In Heat 12 it saw Tom Perry going from third to first, as he blasted his way around the fence to pass teammate Kean Dicken and Scott Campos for a 4-2, to give the home side a twenty-point lead at 46-26.

Heat 13 then saw the two guest riders in Ben Wilson and Danny Ayres swapping places on the opening bends, before Jack Smith came on the outside and clipped Ayres back wheel down the back straight and moved to the front, with the Colts captain having a tiger on his tail in Ayres chasing him down, but saw Smith able to hold him off.

After the race, it saw Ayres making his feelings known to Smith and turning his bike into Smith, with more handbags heading to the pits. Back to the racing, and Joe Lawlor and Paul Bowen made it 55-29 thanks to a fourth 5-1 for the home side in Heat 14 and the night was rounded off with 3-3 after Ayres claimed his fourth race win of the night to finish on 14-points for his troubles.

It sees the victory keeping the champions in the top four for now, with Birmingham, Eastbourne and Coventry all with matches in hand on Belle Vue. The Colts round off their league campaign away this Monday night at Kent Kings and where victory may still not be enough to help them qualify to the end of season playoffs.

Next Friday sees the Colts final home fixture of the 2018 season, for now at least, as they take on the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the second leg of their Knockout Cup, with the Colts facing a 39-points deficit from their hammering down at West Row last month.

Belle Vue Colts : 58 
1. Ben Wilson (G) — 1′, 3, 3, 1 = 8+1
2. Ben Woodhull — 2, 2′, F = 4+1
3. Tom Perry — 2′, 1′, 3, 3, 1′ = 10+3
4. Joe Lawlor — 3, 2, 1, 3 = 9
5. Jack Smith — 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 = 13
6. Paul Bowen — 3, 2′, 1′, 2′ = 8+3
7. Kean Dicken — 1, 1, 2, 1, 1 = 6

Isle Of Wight Warriors : 32 
1. Danny Ayres (G) — 3, 3, 3, 2, 3 = 14
2. Danno Verge — 0, 0, 3, 0 = 3
3. Scott Campos — 1, 1, 2, 2, 0 = 6
4. Chris Widman — 0, 0, 0, 1 = 1
5. Jason Edwards (G) — 2, 1, 2, 0 = 5
6. Dale Lamb (G) — 2, 0, 0, 0 = 2
7. Shaun Tedham — 0, 0, 1, 0 = 1

Captain Fricke leads Aces into Playoffs

BELLE VUE ACES  48 – 42 SOMERSET REBELS

The Belle Vue Aces made it four successive seasons in a row that the Manchester side has reached the end of season playoffs, thanks to a 48-42 points win over fellow qualifiers in the Somerset Rebels at the National Speedway Stadium on Wednesday night.

Aces team manager Mark Lemon spoke prior to the meeting about wanting his side to secure victory at home and not have to try and get the points they needed down at Swindon the following evening.

It saw the home side getting off a good start, following a 4-2 race advantage, courtesy of Stevie Worrall holding off the World Champion in Jason Doyle and his teammate Max Fricke taking third.

With all the matches between the Aces and the Rebels this season being highly competitive meetings, it came as no surprise that the sides negated each other early on, as three successive drawn heats saw the hosts lead 13-11.

Heat 5 saw the away side getting out on a 5-1 through Doyle and Bradley Wilson-Dean, but Belle Vue’s Rohan Tungate managed to split the pairing and see a 4-2 instead.

The Aces then responded with two straight 4-2 race victories in Heats 6 and 7, as they opened up a four-point lead. Heat 9 then saw a good race developing between Rohan Tungate and Jack Holder of the Rebels, as the two Aussie riders were tussling for second place and saw Worrall again taking the win. Sadly for the Aces, Tungate suffered a bike problem on lap 3 and brought an end to his race.

Max Fricke rode to his second race win in Heat 10, as the Belle Vue captain forced his way up the inside of Richard Lawson to take the lead and have his Aces teammate in reserve Dmitri Berge grabbing a point back in third for a 4-2.

In the next heat, it saw Berge making a great start from the gate and was joined by Craig Cook who ran wide to the fence and effectively stopped the momentum of his partner and that allowed Doyle and Wilson-Dean to come through into second and third for a 3-3.

Somerset then sent out Jason Doyle again in Heat 12 as a tactical substitute, to which the Australian took the race win thanks to his partner in Jake Allen holding up the Aces pairing of Worrall and Berge to slow the race down until the Rebels man swooped round to lead before Worrall took second and stopped a 5-1 for the away side.

As the riders came to tapes for Heat 13, it saw perhaps the race of the season by many, as Craig Cook battled with both Somerset riders in Jack Holder and Jason Doyle – for which was Doyle third race in a row – and saw the three of them passing and re-passing each for the whole race.

As the riders entered the final bend, it seemed for all the world that the Rebels had done enough to stop Cook and would score a maximum 5-1 for the visiting side, but that was until Belle Vue’s Max Fricke blasted his way around the outside of them all to steal the win by half a bike length and have a shared heat.

The Aces now needed just a 3-3 in the penultimate race to see them booking their place in the postseason playoffs. However, Belle Vue kept their fans in suspense and saw Richard Lawson taking his second win of the night for the Rebels, on way to finishing with ten points for the evening as part of a 4-2 to set up a tense finale at 43-41.

Surely the home side wouldn’t let this opportunity slip now, could they? For the last heat decider, it saw a repeat of all four riders from their classic race of just two races previous and have Swindon fans hoping that the Rebels could do them a favour and beat the Aces and see a shootout for determining the fourth spot the next night.

As the tapes went up, it saw Craig Cook making the gate ahead of Jason Doyle, but the world number one soon passed Cook for the lead and on the final bend of lap 3 saw the Somerset man getting some extra drive and riding into the air fence and falling off on his shoulder.

It was an unfortunate way to bring the meeting to a close, after what had been such a competitive and entertaining nights’ action served up from the N.S.S track once again.

Doyle was able to get up and walk back to the pits under his steam as the Aussie was excluded and saw the referee awarding a 5-1 to the Aces and see them qualifying for the Premiership play-offs.

Shortly after the final race was concluded, it saw the announcement that the Aces would take on the only side that they have failed to beat in the league, both home and away, in the King’s Lynn Stars. On paper, it seems straightforward for the Stars, as they are clear red-hot favourites to take the title.



Belle Vue Aces = 48 

1. Max Fricke – 1, 3, 3, 3, 2′ = 12+1
2. R/R for Dan Bewley – (SW – 3, MR – 1, RT – 3, DiB – 1 = 8)
3. Steve Worrall – 3, 1′, 0, 3, 2 = 9+1
4. Rohan Tungate – 2, 2, 3, 0, 2 = 9
5. Craig Cook – 1′, 3, 3, 0, 3 = 10+1
6. Dimitri Berge – 3, 2, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0 = 7
7. Mark Riss – 0, (DiB – 2), 1, 0, (DiB – 0) = 1

Somerset Rebels = 42 

1. Jason Doyle – 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, F/X = 12
2. Bradley Wilson-Dean – 0, 1, 2, 1′ = 4+1
3. Nico Covatti – 0, 0, 0, (JD – 3) = 0
4. Richard Lawson – 3, 2, 2, 3 = 10
5. Jack Holder – 3, 2, 2, 1′, 1 = 9+1
6. Jake Allen – 1′, 0, 1′, 1, 1 = 4+2
7. Aaron Summers – 2, 0, 1′, (JA – 1) = 3+1

 

Manchester Hockey teams agree ‘unique’ Partnership

The PLS Solicitors/ Victory Hockey sponsored Manchester Mayhem announced an ‘exciting’ partnership with their bigger brothers in the shape of British Ice Hockey’s Elite League side the Manchester Storm Ice Hockey Club this past Wednesday, as both sides play out of the Planet Ice Altrincham rink, so it makes sense to have both sides trying to work together and start a great partnership for all connected with Manchester Hockey.

Following their regular season programme coming to a close after their fiesty two-all game this past Saturday in Hull, it sees the Mayhem now currently occupying second place in the British Para Ice Hockey League table and can’t finish less than third in the standings.

The news of this announcement will come as a huge boost for the side ahead of their playoffs weekend next month in Widnes and will look to set the wheels in motion of big things for the club in the future. It is breaking new ground for hockey in Manchester and Britain too, that Para Hockey and Ice Hockey are seeking to work together and hopefully give this exciting sport some exposure from this unique partnership.

As part of the partnership with the Storm, the Mayhem will be helping to sell 50/50 tickets during the Elite games and will see the Playoffs champions getting a slice of the profits too made too that night. With the announcement made of the link-up, it saw the respective parties giving their views on the news:

Storm’s sponsorship and marketing consultant, Liam Hesketh said the following on the clubs website;

“Manchester Storm are excited about this partnership with our rink-mates the Manchester Mayhem, strengthening the brand of top-level ice hockey in the North West. We look forward to welcoming Mayhem players and fans to our games, and Storm fans will enjoy being able to see high-level hockey played through the summer months during the Elite League off-season.”

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Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Club   Photo: 98 Yetiiis Photography

Head coach of the Mayhem side in Pete Hagan spoke on his feelings of the partnership, saying;

“This is a great opportunity to promote our sport to hockey fans in Manchester. So on that front, it’s exciting for the sport as I believe it’s undiscovered by many…hopefully, that will change.

Hoping this shows Storms commitment to the community and to help promote all forms of hockey. It’s promoting both teams and hopefully, utilising Storms team, we can help promote ourselves and help to raise funds for us to help grow the sport.

Hopefully, we can provide another route for Storm fans to enjoy the game and participate as well. For the future, we’ve had talks about some interesting ideas and some joint projects….but gotta leave a little mystery for now lol”

What the future holds for the North West’s only Sledge Hockey/Para Hockey side in anyone’s guess, but hopefully it results in more exposure and a bright future for the Mayhem to boot.

Mayhem & Kestrels play out a fiery draw

KINGSTON KESTRELS 2-2 MANCHESTER MAYHEM

Saturday afternoon saw a controversial and stormy game played out between the league and playoff champions at the Hull Arena, with both Great British Internationals Matt Clarkson and Karl Nicholson bagging a brace each for their respective sides in a 2-2 draw.

Kingston inflicted a huge 9-1 home loss on the Mayhem in the opening league fixture of the season, although, Manchester remain the only side in the league to have scored past the Kestrels this year in their previous six games.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for the visitors, as Matt Clarkson put the hosts ahead inside the opening minute of play, as thirty-four seconds had been played in the game. Manchester was forced to weather the storm of the home side, as the Kestrels went in search of a second and needed a couple of stops from their netminder Darren Pomfret.

The Mayhem were under the cosh for most of the first period and had their coach Pete Hagan not pleased with what he was seeing from his side. As the period grew, Manchester managed to regroup and hold firm at the back, while also creeping their way back into the contest.

In the second period, Manchester tied things up thanks to their captain Karl Nicholson, after a rare assist from their goaltender saw the puck heading up ice and saw the Mayhem forward outpacing Fitzgerald of the Kestrels to then put the puck by Ian Houliston for a 1-1 game.

Later in the period, it saw Nicholson getting sent crashing into the boards by a member of the home side and had the forward down on the ice in clear distress. The GB man managed to block out the pain carry on in the contest. Anthony Booth was then called for a holding penalty against him with minutes left in the second and saw the hosts restoring the lead once again, with Matt Clarkson added his second on the power play to make it 2-1.

As the game headed to the third, it began to see the game simmering and in danger or boiling over. Those predictions would come true, as Manchester wasn’t happy with the sledge of Matt Clarkson, as they deemed it to be broken and therefore illegal equipment. With the match officials discussing the problem and having neither side happy, it saw Clarkson begrudgingly forced off-the-ice until his sledge was fixed.

With tempers fraying on both sides, it saw the Mayhem scoring the equalising goal with a bit of a helping hand from their opponents. After the Kestrels won the faceoff deep in the Manchester zone, it saw the pass back overhit and put Anthony Booth through for a one on one with the Kingston goalie and saw Houliston making the save, however, the puck fell loose and saw a Kestrels man running into his goalie and taking him out of the play which then allowed Nicholson to put home for a 2-2 score.

The remaining ten minutes of play saw both teams having chances at either end, but neither could find a way past either goalie. Kingston hit the pipe late on and the best chance fell in the final ten seconds to Karl Nicholson, who found himself one on one with a chance to win the game for the Mayhem, but Houliston again denied the Mayhem from recording a famous victory and saw it end all square.

That wasn’t the end of the action though, as, on the sound of the horn, the Kestrels side weren’t happy with Graham Wilson and saw one of their players taking a shot at him from behind and saw a little scrum with both teams and marred what was a very entertaining and physical game of hockey.

Early Playoff chirping started between the teams and could see the sides renewing acquaintances once again in the final of the Playoffs that takes place in Widnes over the weekend of September 29th-30th.

Manchester POTM: 22. Peggy Assinck

Kingston POTM: 10. Simon Berry

Lawley and Parris net in Barca friendly win

MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN  2-0  FC BARCELONA FEMENI 

Two second-half goals from Melissa Lawley and a late penalty from Nikita Parris helped to seal a 2-0 friendly win for Manchester City Women against European opposition in FC Barcelona Femeni at the Etihad Campus on Sunday night.

Following their 3rd place finish in the International Champions Cup over in the United States a couple of weeks ago, the Blues welcomed the female Catalan side to Manchester for their first-ever meeting between the two sides and also coincided with the return of former City striker Toni Duggan, who made her first appearance against her old side.

It was a game that didn’t see much in the way of too many goalscoring chances for either side, with Jill Scott coming the nearest to anything resembling a chance in the fourth minute of the game, as her shot from outside the box saw Pamela Tajonar in the Barca goal making the grab.

Barcelona was enjoying a lot of possession in the opening twenty minutes of play, but they weren’t able to create anything at all with it, as City’s midfield constantly hounded them throughout. One of City’s three new signings in the summer – namely Caroline Weir, saw the Scottish defender putting in a fizzing free-kick across the face of goal and saw Tjonar pushing it away.

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Old friends Steph Houghton coming up against Toni Duggan – Credit: Manchester City FC/Man City via Getty Images

Danish International Nadia Nadim cut a lonely figure in attack for the blues, as her first four touches all resulted in her being offside and with her recent demands of wanting to be transfer listed away from the club, her performance wasn’t exactly one that would have other sides wanting to buy her either.

The visitors had their first chance of the game falling just before the half-hour mark, after a Lieke Martens ball into the area was gathered by Mariona Caldentey and saw the Spanish midfielder blasting her effort wide of the goals.

For most of the first half, it saw the hosts attacking down the Spanish sides right flank and saw Mel Lawley flying up the touchline and causing her opponents problems for a majority of the first half.

Jill Scott picked up the games only booking in the first forty-five when an outstretched leg caught a Barcelona player in the head and saw the referee with no choice but to brandish the yellow card in her direction.

As the half drew to a close, it saw a goalless opening half that didn’t really catch fire in truth and had both sides still trying to feel the other one out as the whistle came around.

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     Mel Lawley opening the scoring –  Photo by Manchester City FC/Man City via Getty Images

Manchester City boss Nick Cushing, then made a couple of changes for the start of the second half, with Nadia Nadim and Jill Scott making way for Keira Walsh and Claire Emslie.

With the arrival of Emslie in the game, it saw her taking over from Mel Lawley in the first half as the player that was giving the Barca defenders nightmares and was having the away side in all sorts of trouble.

With the Catalan side seemingly trying to stop Emslie and the linkup play between Nikita Parris and another new signing in Tessa Wullaert, as City managed to break the deadlock thanks to a Kiera Walsh through ball that set Mel Lawley away and the midfielder beat put past Tajonar for a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute of play.

Toni Duggan had a very quiet return to Manchester as her former teammates all kept her out of the game. Barcelona seemed to lack any real attacking threat in the game, and other than their only chance that saw Karen Bardsley pushing the ball onto her bar they didn’t cause the City back line any problems at all.

The game was put to bed three minutes from time when the home side was awarded a late penalty following a foul on Nikita Parris inside the Barca penalty area. Parris herself took the spot kick and despite the keeper getting a hand to it, she couldn’t keep it from making it 2-0 in the 87th and have City registering a victory.

 

 

Mayhem make it three on the spin

MANCHESTER MAYHEM 5 – 1 PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS

Manchester Mayhem rounded off their home programme in the British Para Ice Hockey League for 2018 with a 5-1 victory over a short-benched Peterborough Phantoms side at Altrincham this past Saturday evening, as their victory made it three wins in a row and set a new club record in the process.

When the sides met earlier in the season down in Bretton it saw on that occasion a short-benched Mayhem side throwing away a 4-2 lead late-on and end up drawing 4-4. This time, however, saw the shoe on the other foot, with the Peterborough team tracking just one line for the whole game – exactly like Manchester did in the reverse fixture.

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Karl Nicholson looks for a pass Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

Both teams entered the clash with differing hopes, for the home side, it was a chance to put some space between themselves and their opponents, while also trying to catch Cardiff in second place.

In the case of Peterborough, it was more a case of trying to score some much-needed goals for themselves, as finding the back of the net has been problematic of late in recent games.

It saw the game being played in a hard and physical way, with Manchester clearly the aggressors and having their tails up after recent thrashings of Sheffield. Both goalies were called upon early on the contest, with Darren Pomfret of the Mayhem and David O’ Meara of the Phantoms making some routine stops.

Manchester nearly opened the scoring through their captain Karl Nicholson, when the Mayhem player had managed to spin away from Marty Quinn in the Phantoms back line, but he wasn’t able to beat O’Meara in goals who instead made a brilliant save to swat the rising puck away.

The home side continued to knock on the door of the Peterborough goals, but they always found the door firmly close by O’Meara. Eventually, they managed to find a way through, after a pass towards Anthony Booth from his captain saw the puck getting caught up under his sledge and saw Nicholson trailing behind to gather up and then find some room before netting the opener.

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Mayhem’s Karl Nicholson watches on as David O’Meara makes a save in Phantoms net Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

The opening period saw the Mayhem outshooting their opponents 12-6, with O’ Meara being made to face more rubber than he would have wanted to saw and had Pomfret having the easier time.

Towards the end of the period, it saw a nasty collision involving Peggy Assinck and Scotty Trigg-Turner, with the latter taking the full brunt off of a hit that saw the Mayhem player until to pull out of and ended up with her sledge nearly going over him and saw his neck snapping back a bit, but was purely accidental.

Manchester grabbed their second goal midway through the middle stanza when Rob Allen battled with two Peterborough players by the sideboards and saw the puck squirting out as far as Anthony Booth, who then played a nice little-backhanded pass towards the incoming Karl Nicholson and he slotted home to put a finish to a lovely move and put the Mayhem two up.

Peterborough was really struggling to generate much in the way of shooting chances in the game, and with the Mayhem defence being firmly on top, that meant that the Phantoms shots were being restricted to long-range efforts and not really troubling the netminder.

Anthony Booth then turned from provider to goalscorer in the 28th minute of the game, as his lobbed shot was stopped by O’Meara at first, but then saw the puck ending up in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead and gave Mayhem a nice three-goal cushion.

With forty-one seconds left in the second period, it saw Karl Nicholson completing his third successive hat-trick in a row, after a Graham Wilson pass up the side boards saw Rob Allen holding the puck up on the red line and saw his little pass forward towards Nicholson being collected and ending up with a low shot past the goalie for 4-0 and have the home side in full control.

Peterborough to their credit though never gave up despite showing signs of tiredness by the time the third period came around, as the ‘Phantoms five’ battled to end as best as they could.

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Peggy Assinck gets tight to Scotty Triggy-Turner Credit: 98 Yetiiis Photography

The visitors then pulled a goal back at 35.52 through their talisman Matt Coleman, after the GB International had managed to avoid the attempted hit from Pat Bailey and then saw him throwing the puck on goal at the near post and saw Darren Pomfret trying to bat the puck away like a cricketer and mistiming his strokeplay and saw the puck squeezing its way in.

Soon after saw target practice for the Mayhem, when virtually everyone on their line had a shot on goal and saw the defence for Peterborough or O’Meara himself having to fling himself one way or another, just to avoid having the puck going in.

Manchester rounded off the scoring from their captain Karl Nicholson, as the forward grabbing his fourth of the game and Mayhem’s fifth, with the GB attacker winning a face-off that saw his pass up to Rob Allen being held up and then getting the return pass before taking aim and firing home for 5-1 and see the home side signing off with a win in their final home game of the season.

Next up for the Mayhem is a tricky trip in Hull, as they face the back to back league champions in the Kingston Kestrels at the end of the month and perhaps try to strike an early blow against the champions before the Mayhem look to defend their playoff crown next month.

Manchester shutout Steelkings again

 Manchester Mayhem  7-0  Sheffield Steelkings

Manchester Mayhem made it back to back wins over their ‘White Rose’ neighbours from over the Pennines – in the Sheffield Steelkings, as five goals from their captain and forward Karl Nicholson led the way to victory in Widnes last Sunday.

It was a game that saw the ‘home’ side dominating from start to finish, with the Mayhem getting off to a very strong start and should have been ahead very early too but if not for Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth, then it would have been game over indeed.

Manchester enjoyed the lion share of possession in the first period of play and just for the life of them couldn’t find a goal that they deserved. Try as they might though, the Mayhem came up against a stubborn defensive unit in the Steelkings – who after scoring their first goals of the season last week against Cardiff – saw the visitors holding on against their opponents.

Their resistance was finally broken down 6.26 when Karl Nicholson pounced on a padded rebound at the front of the Sheffield net following a shot from Anthony Booth that saw the goalie making the initial stop, but couldn’t avoid the Mayhem man to put in to break the deadlock.

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Rob Allen eyes up the puck        Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

After that goal, you then kind of expected the start of a goal fest from then on in the period, but credit to Sheffield, they held firm and looked to see out the opening stanza a goal down and managed to complete that objective. Manchester coach Pete Hagan will have been hugely disappointed to have his side scoring only once from 12 shots that they posted after the opening fifteen minutes.

If that floodgate was shut mostly in the first period, then the second period saw the Mayhem managing to kick down that gate with six goals in the period and killed the game off. Anthony Booth got the scoring underway in the second stanza after a puck was sent up ice from Peggy Assinck and was gathered by Booth at centre ice, as he weaved his way around two defensemen and saw his shot stopped by Hackworth but then trickled in for 2-0.

Booth then grabbed his second of the game just over two minutes later, as a poor clearance saw the Manchester forward gaining possession and then firing a low through traffic and found its way in the back of the Sheffield net for 3-0 at 19.02 and make it three for the Mayhem.

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Mayhem’s Peggy Assinck and Sheffield’s Rachel Paget battle        Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

Karl Nicholson made it 4-0 just forty-four seconds later after Nicholson charged down a puck just outside his zone and saw the GB man finding himself clean through, and fired high to beat Hackworth and helped to increase the lead.

Sheffield had managed to stem the flow of goals going in for a nine-minute spell in the game, that was until three strikes late in the period made it a rout for the home side. Nicholson made it five at 28.21 after Dominic Cosgrove couldn’t pull the trigger on a pass by his captain, but Nicholson carried on skating and smashed home his hat-trick.

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Karl Nicholson roofs the puck past Bryan Hackworth           Credit – 98 Yetiiis Photography

Straight from the restart, it saw Rob Allen winning the puck and then playing a pass out to Nicholson on the wing who chased the puck down and then went in on goal and fired home his fourth and Mayhem’s sixth.

Less than a minute later it was seven, as a well-worked goal saw Cosgrove getting onto the end of an Assinck pass up ice and a little turn by the Mayhem man allowed him to play in Karl Nicholson who finished it off for 7-0 with thirty seconds left on the second.

In the third, it saw Sheffield making a goalie change and saw Warren Hewitt making his way behind the pipes for the Steelkings and picked up a clean sheet in the third along with a contender for save of the season too off the shot of Cosgrove early on.

Manchester couldn’t find another goal in the game and so was forced to settle for what they had and give them a confidence booster ahead of their remaining two league games with Peterborough at home next week and then away at champions Kingston later in the month.

Mayhem v Steelkings – BPIHL