Unbelievably this was almost like a veterans-only contest thanks to renowned bad travellers (up here at least) Astley & Tyldesley who fielded three to Northumbria’s five, plus another two in Division Two to square things up. And therein lays our own current problem, one which has now escalated to our withdrawal from further Northern League competition from next year.
Once again it was left mainly to Jason Keith to do any scoring but even he had “one of those days” currently suffering from knee problems caused by his working environment and also looking a bit tired lately. No surprise I suppose after all the travelling he’s done so far this season. The only bright spots were the form shown by Lee Redshaw in most of his rides, proving just how good he could be if given the opportunity to progress, and the battling attitude of Dan Wharrier, unlucky but impressive all the same. To sum up though, another humiliating thrashing from what was in reality a very weak visiting side. I apologise for my part in this performance, it was dismal, matching my mood just now with no appetite for this, made worse by the insane race formula in 2017, maybe fine for strong and full YOUNG sides but useless for the rest.
Fortunately those dark, vociferous and downright nasty outbursts which were commonplace when these sides met in the past have been replaced by a very congenial atmosphere no doubt aided by the inclusion of our good friends Mick Knowles and Kyle Holland which made this devastating defeat almost bearable but inevitably pounded the final nail into our NL coffin. Well done Team Green.
The Division Two encounter just further enhanced our resolve to pull out of the Northern League with two very small and very young Team Greeners, Emily Burgess and Matt Snell, demonstrating to the Vikings’ oldies how to race. Sickening to watch from the home side of the fence but superb from the visiting fans point of view. Not a true contest though, and it never should be. That’s one of the reasons I refuse to race Division Two – OAPs v tots or teens is just completely wrong.
Astley & Tyldesley always bring some youngsters up to the AstroDrome and today was no exception, so there was a Division Three match staged. Luckily for Northumbria Richie Smith had his son Oliver and daughter Emily with him today and they both agreed to take part after a long absence from racing, and they acquitted themselves very well considering. However the star of the show had to be tiddler Aiden Green who at just FIVE YEARS OLD flew around the track to impress everyone watching, simply stunning for his age and size!
If you ignore the scores this was indeed a good day's racing in lovely sunshine and in a pleasing atmosphere throughout.