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Loss of Jake Wood is critical to Heckmondwike's hopes
Sheffield were without heat leaders Radek Handke, Damian Zareba and Kyle Holland for their midweek home Northern Cycle Speedway League match against Heckmondwike.
However, the visitors would miss Jake Wood more than the Rockets would rue the loss of their trio in what was expected to be a close match after Heckmondwike had pushed Edinburgh and Manchester's Astley and Tyldesley at their Firth Park home.
Sheffield promoted Matt Parrott and Luke and Niall Morton to the team, and the match began with Bobby McMillan winning from grid two, with Darren Kent holding out Niall Morton.
The hosts were on for a 7-3 in race two from Jason Burke and Aiden Owen, and it needed a brilliant last-bend pass from Adam Watson on Owen to split the Sheffield pair for another home 6-4.
Pawel Idziorek took an easy win in Heat Three to keep the gap at four points but Burke sped from the tapes in Heat Four, with Niall Morton getting the better of Richard Wells on the first lap to join his partner for a second Rockets 7-3.
Richard Hudson, from gate two, and Owen, from gate four, took successive 7-3s over Kent and Adam Watson, with Owen repelling Watson’s attempts at a pass, and McMillan defeated Idziorek ina thrilling Heat Six, with the young Pole trying everything in his attempt to pass.
Watson won the next heat, but the respite was short-lived as Burke and Owen slammed home another 7-3 to make the interval scores 49-31 in Sheffield’s favour.
Three drawn heats follow. Idziorek winning heats ten and 12, while Kent assisted Wells in relegating Luke Morton to last place in Heat 11.
Burke completed a four-race maximum in Heat 14 which just left a tasty third meeting between McMillan and Idziorek in the grand finale.
The Heckmondwike rider Idziorek led from the start, with McMillan throwing the kitchen sink into every corner only for the Pole to notch a good win to finish on 19 points.
One McMillan broadside almost brought down the chasing Kent, but the veteran kept his bike upright for third place and a Heckmondwike heat advantage - their only one of the night in an 88-62 defeat.
Heckmondwike scores: Pawel Idziorek 19 (from five rides), Adam Watson 13 (5), Darren Kent 10+1(5), Richard Wells 8 (5), Justin Naylor 6 (5), Laura Watson 6 (5), Tom Whitwam did not ride, Will Naylor did not ride.
In the under-13 contest, Heckmondwike fielded three riders, with Will Naylor taking three smart wins after finishing third in his first race.
Tom Whitwam showed what a talent he his with two excellent races against home star James Bunting, catching him napping in Heat Four to spring a response from the Sheffield rider, who had to pull out his best efforts to stay in front.
They met again in Heat 12 and another very close race followed, Bunting again getting the verdict after being pushed to the limit.
Harvey Wells had his own battles with Joe Brownell and Logan Perkins, while Sheffield's riders were also having their own personal duels, with Sam Haines, Niamh Morton and Jack Brownell all having their moments in a 79-33 victory for Sheffield.
Heckmondwike scores: Will Naylor 14, Tom Whitwam 14, Harvey Wells 5.
Training nights at Firth Park, Heckmondwike (WF16 0HH) are on Wednesdays (7.30-9.00), and for more information contact Justin Naylor on 07799-367370.