Yellowjackets target silverware
Cranford’sbiggest away league win in nearly a decade has given the club a boost in their bid to land a first major trophy. Despite being a founder member of the British League the Yellowjackets have struggled for success, promotion as second tier champions in SL10 saw them begin a fourth different spell in the top flight this season, and this time they are determined to be battling at the right end of the division. They took that fight to Alfreton having beaten Solihull on the road just days before in the first leg of their first round KO Cup tie, Cranford winning the all division one affair 41-49 after the visitors bottom three dominated their opposite numbers, scoring 17 between them to the hosts tally of just five, Ricky Dickinson alone paid for 11 in the victory. Cranford have many strings to their bow though and in contrast it was their top four that did the majority of the damage at Alfreton, the Yellowjackets winning the league clash by 11 despite conceding a 5-0 in heat five of the clash when Nyek Timko (12) and Shaun Herbert both failed to finish the race. There were no complaints from Cranford boss Dave Lewis though as Timko won his four other outings to the track, his third success in a 5-1 in heat 13 confirming the club’s first away league win of the campaign—but their third in all competitions—Jacob Watson (11+1) picked up a paid win to add to his heat four and nine victories. At 39-50 the defeat was Alfreton’s biggest in the club’s 113 competitive meetings at home, Archers fans already concerned that their first season in the top flight will end in disappointment, the loss leaving the club bottom and five points adrift of safety.
Three times winners Belfast went into their KO Cup first round tie with second division Long Eaton as underdogs according to their boss Paul Hunt, and maybe he was right to be concerned, as despite a Radim Rabas (15) maximum the Sinks could only eke out a 48-42 first leg win on home shale this week. Having won all six of their home meetings so far this season by a double figure margin the Rifles should be considered favourites to progress, a Long Eaton win would level up the record between the two clubs in the competition, Belfast having so far won two out of the three previous ties. Still a rare recent loss for Long Eaton, who this week extended their winning run in the league to seven, the sixth of those victories recorded at Caversham, 44-46, where a last heat Adam Lucas (12) victory—his fourth of the night—ended a run of four straight league wins for the Swans. Despite the loss to the leaders Caversham remain in the top three in division two, they getting their own promotion challenge back on track at Bradford, where Knute Vik (14) picked off Magnar Maciejewski (11) in the final race to secure an away draw for his side.
Totton led from start to finish in recording their first away win of their SL11 division one campaign at Brookwood. Last weeks £65,000 signing Antony Hollingsworth (5+2) scored points in all four heats he appeared in, the addition of the American providing a double boost for the Tigers as it allowed Joseph Howarth to drop to reserve, where he equalled his season best score of 6+2 as his side ran out 42-48 winners. For the hosts only Harry Nicholls (14) and Terence Slater (17) managed heat wins, while both Sean Byrd and Alex Sawyer failed to score a point between them and combined have now scored just a total of two points over the club’s last three meetings! Having began the week in the relegation zone Totton end it in a season high fourth. The top two meanwhile both picked up away draws, Sedgley’s returned at Belfast as Alex May rocketed to a paid 13 score at reserve, leaders Houston however will be somewhat disappointed with the outcome of their meeting at Solihull, it ending all square after a Cameron Adams (11) retirement in the last handed a 5-1 to the hosts who’d trailed throughout the meeting up until that stage.
37 year old Miksa Mathe (8) has qualified through the first round of the World Championship for a record equalling 11th consecutive season, scraping through by a point in this weeks meeting at Caversham. Home track rider Knute Vik won the qualifier with a 15 point maximum, the meeting victory was the Norwegian’s third in a row at this stage of the competition. World Number two Blake White (9) was amongst the other qualifiers for the second round, as was British duo Derek Stanley and Jason Wallis. Jokke Harvela (14) of Prague won the second of this weeks ties in Plock.
Stoke are up to fifth in division two after they benefited from a last heat fall from home rider Kieran Johnson (9) to win at Herne Bay, 44-46. Earlier in the week the Bombers were held to a home draw by second place Buxton, Jordan Simpson (12) landing a share of the points for Martin Harvey’s side with a win over the hosts’ Justin Pershing (11) in the last. In division three Shetland end the week top thanks to a 40-50 win a Harringay.