Report from Neil Magee, pictures Linda Mulvey.
Sunday 22nd June
NORTHUMBRIA VIKINGS v SHEFFIELD ROCKETS
@ Cramlington Coliseum
Mancunian Viking Mark Mulvey soared to the top of the scorecharts for the first time for his new home northern League club, the rest of the Northumbria top 4 all on form, but they carried too long a tail in a match which saw lots of tactical gating. Sheffield it was who had the greater strength in depth to edge it, the home side probably needing at least a slice of luck to have triumphed here today despite the visitors missing both their Polish heat leaders. Aiden Owen was impressive as he took 4 wins for the Rockets, Richard Hudson also quietly going about his business in building up a meaningful score, while there was always great interest each time Aussie test star Bobby McMillan appeared on track, he battling Vikings No.1 Gavin Parr three times, the home skipper on top in that particular private duel.
NORTHUMBRIA: Mark Mulvey 17+1, Gavin Parr 17+1, Michael Parr 14+1, Jason Keith 14+1, Daniel Wharrier 8, Dan Redshaw 7, John Wilson 4, Terry Kirkup 4
SHEFFIELD: Aiden Owen 17, Richard Hudson 16+1, Bobby McMillan 13+2, Niall Morton 13, Matt Parrott 8+2, Zach Smurthwaite 8, Luke Morton 8
Once again this match was always going to go the way of the more consistent and stronger visitors, despite an excellent effort from a fast starting Dan Redshaw to top score in the meeting for the Vikings. Sheffield concentrated throughout on quality team riding, a policy which as well as paying dividends here to win the match, will also help bring through young talents like James Bunting and Sam Haines who were well encouraged by their more experienced team mates, Niall Morton leading the way to top score. The day was almost spoiled by a horrible crash for GB Womens international Vicky Brown, she catapulted high into the air as her bike locked up with her opponents machine as they raced hard down the home straight, in the end it however being a great relief that Vicky was more worried that her spectacular and no doubt very painful prang, had been captured properly on video, rather than any serious injuries.
NORTHUMBRIA: Dan Redshaw 17, John Wilson 12+1, Daniel Wharrier 8+1, Keith Oldham 8, Jim Graham 7, Neil Magee 6, Terry Kirkup 4, Norman Carson 3
SHEFFIELD: Niall Morton 16+3, Ed Morton 13+1, Matt Parrott 11+1, Rob Mawhood 11+1, James Bunting 11, Luke Morton 10+2, Sam Haines 8+2, Vicky Brown 4
James Bunting rode through the card to a max, Sam Haines and Dan Rushton also tall scorers in the U-13 fixture for Sheffield. Northumbria can still only rely on two youngsters at this level, Lee Redshaw leading the way for the home club with an impressive score, most enjoyable also were the battles between Lewis Petre and Joe Brownell, honours even between the two youngest riders on track. An extra rider of the day event saw Jack Brownell narrowly hold off Sam Haines to take the win, the last bonus race of the day being one of the best.
NORTHUMBRIA: Lee Redshaw 11, Lewis Petre 6
SHEFFIELD: James Bunting 16, Sam Haines 12, Dan Rushton 11, Jack Brownell 9, Niamh Morton 9, Joe Brownell 6
Tha absence of a pair of Polish riders didn't interfere too much with the power of these Rockets today but with the usual spirited opposition from Gav, Jay, Mick and a simply resurgent Mark made for a great contest. Vikings returnee John Wilson also showed glimpses of good form after both he and Mark rode brilliantly at Sheffield the day before in the Orchid Euro Vets round. Sheffield seem to have no trouble filling gaps in their lineup efficiently while we will continue to struggle until we can blood some late teens into both our squads.
Still a very entertaining match in perfect weather and in front of our wonderful surprise guests, Edmund Hall and Archie Cooper, a pair of Cycle Speedway Founders from the 1940s and 1950s! Ed rode for Wallsend side Holy Cross Demons at their track in Wallsend Burn while rival Archie rode for Byker Meteors just betond Brough Park in Newcastle's East End. They both had a fantastic time watching the Vikings and Rockets clash and left us with fond memories. A real personal thrill for me to meet them both, absolutely breathtaking, so Well Done to our old South Shields pal and teammate Les Gustafson for hunting them down and making this possible.
The spectacular crash suffered by Viking Dan Wharrier and Rocket Vicky Brown in the Division Two encounter somewhat blighted another entertaining encounter, Unfortunately the tactical experience of one and the rawness of the other made for an unexpected impact which looked extremely bad from the pits. Luckily both were able to walk back off the track eventually but this just highlights my concern that we really should have experienced (professional?) First Aid assistance at our home meetings.
Just to finish, Norman Carson showed a few flashes of his flambouyant style although the oppositions' legs were a few decades too young to catch and Keith Oldham mixed it nicely when his own extremities allowed, although yesterday's big accident at Sheffield seemed to take its toll on Jim Graham in this one.