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THAT SINKING FEELING

Sankey struggle after drop

Three-times league champions Sankey spent 12 consecutive years in division one before their relegation last season. Life in the second tier however hasn’t brought about the expected turnaround in form for the Sharks, with a run of four meetings without a win leaving them in the relegation zone as we head towards the one-third mark of the campaign. A second consecutive home defeat the result of Buxton’s visit to the Woodlands, Stuart Greenwood and Sven Roth’s (13+1) last heat 5-1 at the venue not only securing the Braves the meeting win, 43-47, but also seeing them snatch an unlikely bonus point, they having lost the reverse fixture 44-46 at home in the opening month of the season. Second string Greenwood took season best figures of 11+1 following his victory over Simon Driffield (12) and Peter Manni (11) in the decider, the 29 year old had beating the third of the hosts heat leaders—Patrick Chapman (6)—earlier on in the night, that success came alongside Diererik Gronlund (7+1) and brought about the first of the visitors brace of 5-1’s. As Sankey slip back into the bottom three for the first time since the opening week of SL24, Buxton—who went into the meeting rock bottom of the standings—end the current round clear in sixth spot, albeit just points difference above eighth placed Hertford. The Peak District side had slipped to the foot of the table following a home defeat to the team that started the week there, Tottenham. The Braves going down 41-49 as the visitors dominated the heat win stats, claiming ten to the hosts five, four of those races won by Jermu Ramo (13+1), whose 5-1 alongside Douglas Fread (13+1) sealed the points as early as heat 13 of the fixture. That maximum was one of four scored by the Turnpikes, two of which were earned in the opening two races, a start Buxton just failed to recover from. Overall this weeks second tier results meant a lot of chopping and changing at the bottom, and it’s Wednesfield that found themselves without a chair when the music stopped, a home defeat at Altrincham leaving them a point adrift in tenth spot. The Panthers first away win since their relegation last season and was returned courtesy of a last heat 4-2 from Thomas Davis (13) and Robi Kollar (12+1), that the first time that the visitors had been in front in the contest, they having trailed the hosts—by at eight at one stage—right until heat 14 where a 5-1 from second string Freddy Gomez (6) and reserve Craig Willoughby (7+1) tied the match scores up.

 

TODAY: Shorts

Another away point helped maintain Manor’s position at the top of division one. It’s just one defeat in 15 now in all competitions in SL24 for Andy Barton’s side, who claimed a draw in a tight meeting at Gateshead with a last heat Dale Bailey (14)/Waclaw Kozlowski (11) 4-2. Neither side led by more than two points during the clash which was dominated by their respective heat leaders, for the hosts Chris Corry (4+3) scored a point in everyone of his first four races on debut, the 40 year old doing a job of sorts as he began life with his 16th different club. A one time world number 5, Corry began his career back in SL1 when he featured in 27 league meetings as a 17 year old for Southampton, helping them earn promotion from division three.

 

A negative points difference seems is no barrier for Birmingham sitting top of division three. The Lyons moved a point clear at the summit with a 43-47 victory at Dumpton, who went into the fixture at the head of the standings, but finish it down in fifth spot! The Devils struggled post their big money sales, despite new additions heat leader Jacek Wozniak (12) and reserve Zachary Anderson (7+1) both making something of an impact, racing to four wins between them. Wozniak however was beaten twice late on by visiting number one Wlod Szczepanski (12), whose victory in heat 13 was swiftly followed by a match clinching 4-2 from second string Lewis Finch (9+1) and 17 year old reserve Oesia Kowalczyk (6+2) in the penultimate race. California and Whiteley lie second and third, those two shared the spoils when they met at the latter at the start of the week, the pair trading 5-1’s from heat 11 onwards in that one. A first home dropped point for the Heathens in SL23, but they bounced back to win at Lye, 41-48, reserve Callum Nash (13) securing their second away win of the campaign with his third race victory of the meeting in heat 14. Elsewhere Plymouth’s home meeting with Newquay ended all square after a Florian Kogler (14+1) and Joe Clark (16+1) heat 15 5-1.

 

A second career World Championship meeting win for California’s Shane Towler (12) who topped the standings in the Denaby qualifier after a race-off victory over Fedrico Castellini. Towler was one of four Brits to reach round two this week, Wade Dunn (10) and Andy Rose (8) having finished in the top eight at Denaby, while Shane Goodwin (10) took fifth spot in the Plock tie won by home rider, Rubert Hanka (12).

 

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