Reports from Neil Magee, pictuures Linda Mulvey.
NORTHUMBRIA VIKINGS v HULL
Against an understrength Hull side missing key riders Andy Angell and Ben Swanborough, Northumbria quickly raced into an early lead, a 6-4 followed by two 7-3's for the home side in the opening exchanges. With Adam Stephenson riding as a tactical reserve for the visitors, they were able to pull back a little, taking a 7-3 of their own in heat 8 as the two teams went into the interval with still a comfortable twelve point lead for the Vikings. A heat 10 which saw David Cooper and Craig Boddice take a 7-3 pulled the scores closer and with Stephenson again unleashed in heat 14 for another max to Hull, the scores were suddenly tightened up to just a four point gap with just the closing four heats remaining. There was no crumbling from Northumbria however, Jason Keith and Terry Kirkup flying ahead in the next race, followed by two more 7-3's from Mark Mulvey and Gavin Parr, then Michael Parr and Daniel Wharrier, to seal the match for the Vikings.
NORTHUMBRIA: Gavin Parr 18+2, Michael Parr 17+1, Jason Keith 16+1, Mark Mulvey 15+1, Dan Redshaw 11, Daniel Wharrier 10+2, Terry Kirkup 9+2, Keith Oldham 2
HULL: Adam Stephenson 17+3, Sam Schofield 16, Craig Boddice 12, Lewis Aylmer 11, David Cooper 9, Nathan Everett 8+1, Chris Cooke 6+1, Josh Belis 1
It was Northumbria's turn to be a little understrength for the Division Two clash, junior riders Lewis Petre and Lee Redshaw making enthusiastic debuts, with several home riders unavailable. Hull showed little mercy, Craig Boddice riding to a max, with David Cooper also doing very well to ride through the card unbeaten. Dan Redshaw top scored for the Vikings, narrowly missing out several times to the Hull heat leaders, while Daniel Wharrier as in the Div 1 match carried absolutely no luck at all with several falls and mishaps as he battled throughout.
NORTHUMBRIA: Dan Redshaw 16, Daniel Wharrier 10, Keith Oldham 8, Norman Carson 7+1, Lee Redshaw 7, Andy Knowles 6+3, Lewis Petre 4, Terry Kirkup 3
HULL: Craig Boddice 20, David Cooper 17+3, Nathan Everett 14+1, Josh Belis 11+1, Chris Cooke 11, Sam Schofield 8, Katie Greaves 7
Only two riders turned out at Div 3 level, Lee Redshaw riding unbeaten to score 16, while Lewis Petre took a steady 12 points, both lads going faster and faster and all the better for the experience in Div 2 a little earlier.
NORTHUMBRIA: Lee Redshaw 16, Lewis Petre 12
I was sure we were in for a hiding in this one, but Hull had just been shattered by recent training accident injuries to two of their young starlets and twice British Champion Andy Angell was missing due to other commitments, so there was a bit of levelling introduced which we managed to take advantage of.
Poor Keith Oldham was chucked in at the deep end as the Vikings were also down on numbers today but, philosophical as ever, he played his part and kept smiling against very stern opposition. The Skipper was again supreme, and Michael looked great as he kept it smooth and steady to haul in another big score, and Jason also made up for recent disappointments with some great gating and even a couple of demonstrations of efficient teamriding! Our Nomadic Norseman Mark once again trekked up to Crammy from his Manchester home to be rewarded with a fine score and with our Big Four all piling up the points there was less pressure on the others, with the Dans, who ideally would be 2015 first teamers and not this year, again trying their hearts out.
It isn't often you get the chance to lead a British Championship rostrum man but Dan Redshaw presented me with that very opportunity for a few laps when brilliantly pushing Adam Stephenson wide off the inside line while Linda grabbed the moment for me with her customary super lens work, one to treasure on Our Stories page!