Crown Edition - ENHANCED
Tooting crash to record loss
Division Two Champions’ Tooting have a mountain to climb if they are to avoid an immediate relegation back to the second tier, with the first third of SL24 now over the Dons have just one league win to their name, at this rate they won’t even been their paltry 10 point total scored in their previous top flight campaign some 12 years ago. A positive result against the latest visitors to Fuzedown Park was always unlikely, league leaders Southampton had already picked up points in four of their five away league meetings, however the capitulation for the Dons was completely unacceptable, and unexpected given they’d ran Auckland (47-43) close on the road just days before. While the home heat leaders just about did their bit, the bottom four of the Dons side were way off the pace, Stacy Jones (2) the only rider of the quartet to beat any opponent in their 13 outings to the track, which in turn led to the concession of five 4-2’s in the first six races. Worse was to follow, Darren Vernon (8) and Jones both fell in heat nine to gift the Saints a 5-0, while three more maximum scores followed in the closing stages, including a heat 14 5-1 from second string Darryl Skingsley (9) and reserve Lars Krogh (9+3) and then one from Goran Seslar (12) and Sergey Guerk (14+1) in the last. The 33-56 loss was by far the worst ever in a home league meeting for the Dons, while the result was a new record on the road for Southampton, who have also extended their unbeaten run to a club best of nine league fixtures, as well as their lead at the top of the standings to three points.
Wolvertonalso found Tooting to be favourable opponents, hosting the Dons in the second leg of their KOC first round tie the Wolves quickly wiped out their opening meeting deficit, and more. Despite going six in front on aggregate by the end of heat seven—Markku Makela (12) and Chrster Brenne (9) both picking up a brace of wins in early 4-2’s—the tie was still in the balance heading into the final two races, the visitors pegging their third division hosts back with a 5-1 in heat 13. Wolverton though deservedly made their way through to the last 16 with a race to spare when Furzton asset Tommy Jorgensen (8) and reserve Kevin Arrowsmith (7+2) answered that with a maximum of their own. More top flight opposition in the form of Rugby await the Wolves in the second round, the Royals going through against Coleshill by ten on aggregate.
Minor places from Scott Zabica and the previously unbeaten Andrew Chambers (13+1) in the final heat of their first round KOC tie with Sunderland saw Furzton progress to the last 16 by two on aggregate, the Flyers have been paired with Eastbourne at that stage, who progressed from one of three all top-flight opening round ties. Auckland and Lyme Bay were the other sides to eliminate fellow division one sides, both on paper have easier opponents lined-up in round two, they paired with second tier sides Timperley and Lakeside respectively, the latter having completed a first ever tie win in the competition by beating Loughborough 44-46 on the road in going through by 18.
Paul Scott (13) surprised even the home fans by winning the British Championship on his own circuit this week, the 27 year old—whose been at Auckland since he was 16—topping the standings in the final by two points from seven-time national champion Steve Burton to claim by far his biggest success of his career to date. The top eight in the meeting will go on to next months Overseas Final where SL24 GP places are up for grabs, they will be joined in the Purton meeting by the qualifiers from the Pacific final, led by meeting winner, Prague and USA rider Adin Howard (12).
Wimbledon’s defence of their league title sprang to life with a 42-48 victory at Rugby, with heat 13 and 15 5-1’s from Ari Vento (12+1) and Roman Saenko (12+1) earning the Stars their first away win of the campaign and a top half position in the standings for the first time in SL24.
A club record eight league wins on the bounce—and 11 in all competitions—now for Lakeside, who top the division two table by four points following their 20 point home win over Stone Cross. Earlier all of the Aces top five raced to heat wins at Sunderland, where they recorded a 43-47 success. Elsewhere both Purton and Timperley closed to within points difference of the promotion places with the help of away wins, Bryan Higdon scoring paid ten at reserve for Purton as they beat Sawley 44-46, while the Titans second away win of the campaign was returned at Cradley, where reserve Michael Connolly (8+3) was involved in all three of the 5-1’s scored by the visiting side in their 43-47 success.