Yorkshire defeated Greater Manchester 93-86 in a War of the Roses battle at Firth Park in memory of former Heckmondwike Cycle Speedway Club president Jeff Layden, who died last December.

Jeff was the instigator for the Roses matches in the early eighties, and this clash was a fitting tribute to him.

His son David and grandson Chris were present to hand out the trophies to the riders, plus the cup to winning captain Andy Angell.

Both teams selected a mixture of youth and experience, with the Yorkshire side looking the stronger as it featured Sheffield Elite League riders Andy Angell, Pawel Idziorek and Bobby McMillan.

The opening race saw the Hull pairing of Angell and Sam Schofield secure a 6-4 advantage over Chris Parrish and Reece Pollitt.

A drawn heat followed before Greater Manchester went into the lead with a 7-3 from Ben Higham and Ben Scrannage over Darren Kent and Jason Burke, both of whom rode in the original fixtures.

Yorkshire hit straight back with their own 7-3, with McMillan joining Richard Hudson for a maximum  over Parrish and Joe Pickford.

Adam Stephenson won Heat Five, with Pollitt preventing a maximum by gaining a good second place over Schofield.

Then Yorkshire moved into a 33-27 lead with a further 6-4 in Heat Six from McMillan and Kent over Terry Norman and Jack Lush.

The next five races finished all-square, highlights being a good ride from Danny Taylor in Heat Eight, Pollitt keeping Kent at bay in Heat Ten and a tremendous ride from Adam Watson in Heat 11 as he came from last to pass both Scrannage and Higham (with McMillan going the other way).

Heats 12 and 13 were both 6-4 wins for Yorkshire, who now led by 70-60, and they were on for a match-winning 7-3 in Heat 15 until Higham made a good pass on Stephenson and the race was drawn, with the white rose still leading by ten.

Schofield then showed why he had been selected, a terrific race 16 win over Norman and Parrish putting Yorkshire on 85 points with two races to go.

The only exclusion of the day was in Heat 17 and it was a very unfortunate one for Adam Watson for slowing the race.

Match referee Rob Mawhood was maybe a little too quick to invoke the disqualification as there ended up being no change to the race order.

The 6-3 advantage didn’t make a difference to the match result, with Yorkshire leading by seven with one race remaining.

The  pairing for the last race were Heckmondwike’s Idziorek and Kent, the Pole sealing a white-rose win with an electrifying pass on Scrannage at the second attempt.

The match was a good advert for today's racing and, to the riders' credit, it didn’t contain the often fierce and brutal nature of racing in the 1980s, when the likes of Serbert, Rothwell, Dyson, Blair, Gamble and Clarke featured for Yorkshire, while Lancashire called on Garnett, Watchman, Ogden, Eaton, Bowden, Greenhalgh and Whiting.

The main winner on the night, however, was the memory of Jeff Layden, and he would have been  proud with the efforts of Watson, Hudson, Schofield, Taylor, Pickford and Pollitt as the youngsters rubbed shoulders with their illustrious elders.

The aim for next season is to have the fixture over two legs, with hopefully aqn under-16s' match running alongside as well.

Scorers - Yorkshire: Pawel Idziorek 16(4), Andy Angell 13+1(4), Adam Stephenson 13(4), Bobby McMillan 12+1 (4), Richard Hudson 11(4), Sam Schofield 10(3), Jason Burke 6+1 (4),Darren Kent 6(4), Adam Watson 6(4).

Greater Manchester – Ben Scrannage 15+2(5), Jack Lush 13(5), Chris Parrish 12+2(5), Terry Norman 11+1 (4), Reece Pollitt 10+1(5), Ben Higham 9+2(4), Joe Pickford 8+1(4), Danny Taylor 8(4).

Heckmondwike travel to Astley and Tyldesley in Manchester on Sunday for the latest round of the Northern Fours and Junior League, with training continuing at Firth Park (WF16 0HH) on Wednesdays from 7.30pm-9pm.

Bikes, helmets and gloves are provided free of charge. For further information, contact Justin Naylor (07799-367370) or feel free to come and have a go on Wednesday nights.


pic info Yorkshire white tops/ Manchester red tops .