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FINN-ISHED

Southampton make Pori exit

A club record 59-31 defeat has sent Southampton crashing out of the European Cup against SL12 winners Pori. Bidding to reach their first final in the competition the Saints briefly gave their visiting support hope in this weeks second leg, however 5-1’s in heats five and six from Goran Seslar (11+2) and Sergey Guerk (13+1)—who in turn were in as tactical substitutes—were not a sign of things to come, Pori smashing in six maximums of their own in the next eight races before Ciro Gautieri (12) completed a 32 point aggregate win with success over Guerk and Seslar in the last. Gautieri—a double 4TT winner with Timperley back in SL20 and 21—would have scored his third successive maximum against British League opposition but for a retirement in heat six, a broken chain for the SL14 World Under 21 Champion aiding one of only two heat advantages for the Saints in the meeting. Experienced home reserves David Latka (9+2) and Herbert Cop (7+4)—both former British League riders—dropped just a point apiece in the meeting, in contrast Southampton’s four lowest average riders failed to beat an opponent in the meeting, while heat leader Lee Andersen scored just three! Having now beaten Lyme Bay and Southampton in this years competition, Pori will now take on Eastbourne for the trophy, with the Hyenas completing the double over Wimbledon in the second semi final. Comfortable it was not though for the Hyenas, they reaching their first ever final in the competition by six only after a last heat 5-1 from Eddie Myhill (14) and Tom Coutness (15+1) in their home second leg.

TODAY: Shorts

Just two race wins from five heats was good enough to see Cradley and Denmark’s Thomas Klemmensen win the first Grand Prix of the season in Southampton. In addition to his race successes the SL16 and 20 World Champion—appearing in a GP series for the first time in four years—picked up three seconds to finish a point clear of Victor Bitkin (2nd), Eddie Myhill (3rd) and Magomed Saitov (4th), who fought out a race-off for the minor podium places. Steve Burton (6)—the only British rider in the field—finished down in 11th despite matching Klemmensen’s two race win tally on the night!

 

Birkenhead have put themselves in a strong position to reach the KO Cup semi finals in what is only their second season in the league. The Bombers limited their top flight hosts to just a 46-44 win in the first leg of their third round tie, Glyn Hughes side unlucky not to go into their home meeting all-square having been on for a 3-3 in heat 15 until Ales Kucera (12+1) sneaked under David Cooney (15+1) coming out of the final corner and won the dash to the line. Winning a second successive promotion is Hughes’s main goal this season, they suffered a small setback in that aim earlier in the week when dropping a first home point of the season with the visit of Rugby, that draw—only secured with a last heat 5-1 from Cooney (14) and the unbeaten Lubomir Gerich (14+4)—and later defeat at second placed Auckland seeing them slip to a season low third in the standings.

 

Two 5-1’s in the space of two heats helped third placed Halesowen maintain their 100% home record in SL25 as they played host to leaders Eastbourne this week. The Heathens remain third in the standings just a point off the Hyenas following the 46-44 victory in which second string Rudolf Hvalica (8) picked up a brace of heat wins.

 

Purton are up to a season high fourth in division two after racing to home and away wins this week. The latter was returned at Wroughton who began the week in the position the Pirates now reside, Craig Dickson’s side leading from start to finish in beating the Meerkats 42-48. They did so despite picking up just six of the 15 heat wins, the half dozen successes though were turned into four heat advantages, including a heat eight 5-1 won by reserve Bruce Brooke (10+2), who was making his debut for the club following his £20,000 switch from Timperley. Elsewhere in the division the top two of Harringay and Auckland both picked up an away point apiece following draws at Lakeside and Sunderland respectively, the latter doing so after scoring a last heat 5-1.

 

Cradley won at Rochdale 44-46 to move five points clear of Swinton at the top of division three. A last heat 5-1 scored by Thomas Klemmensen (17) and Stephen Jennison (12+2) completed what was the Storm’s third away league win of the campaign, they had twice trailed their hosts by eight in the meeting, including going into heat 11, which would herald the start of a run of five straight heat wins for the league leaders. Loughborough meanwhile boosted their slim promotion hopes with a 42-48 win at Coleshill, in which Andrei Isakov scored his third maximum in his ten meetings for the club.

 

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