Match Report by Neil Magee
Sunday 10th April
HECKMONDWIKE v NORTHUMBRIA
Northern League Division One
With the small Heckmondwike squad missing two heat leaders and left down to the bare bones, Northumbria were able to smash their way to a massive win. All the visiting top four were unbeaten such was their dominance, but there was still some good racing as the home team kept battling hard, Darren Kent team riding his son Thomas to a shared race in heat 1, while Mick Knowles later claimed bragging rights over younger brother Andy. Bradley Stansfield made his first team debut for Northumbria, the youngster able to score 7 from his four rides, showing up well in front of his watching local West Yorkshire family.
HECKMONDWIKE: Darren Kent 13, Thomas Kent 10+1, Mick Knowles 10, Justin Naylor 10, Tom Whitwam 7+1, Bella Naylor 5
NORTHUMBRIA: Jason Keith 20, Dan Redshaw 19+1, Michael Parr 13+3, Gavin Parr 13+3, Terry Kirkup 11+2, Bradley Stansfield 7, Neil Magee 3
Northern League Division 3
A fast starting and hard riding Tom Whitwam had the better of Bradley Stansfield throughout this match, meaning it was up to team partner Bella Naylor to secure the win for her team with three third places. Sam Stansfield was unlucky to end up chasing on the outside of Bella in most his races, but he did manage to get the better of her in his third ride.
HECKMONDWIKE: Tom Whitwam 16, Bella Naylor 7
NORTHUMBRIA: Bradley Stansfield 12, Sam Stansfield 5
It's a real shame that Heckmondwike are struggling for riders, we know that very feeling well enough up here from the past, and hope we don't suffer a similar fate again. It's so fortunate that Mick Knowles decided to return to Hecky again this year when he could have stayed at Sheffield after their loss of Elite League status. However, it could be argued that the similarly-positioned Glasgow club could perform just as well as this in Division One rather than remaining in D2, which may indicate where the Yorkshire side should have been concentrating their efforts at least for this season, maybe? It's hard enough to attract new riders without them suffering batterings like this all season long and it may bear repeating that BC, and hence our Sport's insurers, don't like anyone over 18, let alone 60-odd year olds, racing pre-teens. Well done to young Thomas Kent anyway, a great effort. Fortunately Darren and Mick kept us honest in their races.
For the Vikings we have to hope Dan Redshaw has at last seen the light and can confidently compete shoulder-to-shoulder if necessary, we'll see in the next proper test against Bury on 24th. And once again our Viking Voyager, Middlesbrough-based Andy Knowles, again went well out of his way to turn out for us, he really has been a magnificent servant since returning to the Sport.