Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
LIFTING THE LID
Czech star takes Boston to first semi final
Last years league runners-up Boston have made it through to a semi final of a divisional cup competition for the first time in their history, the anomaly put right thanks to a 44-46 victory at St Ives in the club’s final group fixture of SL30. A Division One Cup last four tie against Beverley beckons following the narrow victory, with the Hellcats themselves reaching the knock out stage only after their own two point success in their remaining qualifier, their decisive victory return on home shale against St Barts. Predictably it was Vlastmili Lidvin (16+1) that took Boston to their crucial win at St Ives, he winning a heat 13 5-1 ahead of team mate Wolfgang Sara to bring the visitors back level in a tie they had trailed their hosts in by eight, the same pairing going on to score a 4-2 in the last which saw Boston grab the lead in the meeting for the first time. The resulting three points earned them top spot in the group, second going to the Pirates despite their loss as Houston missed out on the double digit victory they required to overhaul St Ives in the standings when they took on Timperley, a meeting which also finished 46-44. Meanwhile Joshua Sky (14) raced to four of Beverley’s nine heat wins as they overcame a determined St Barts side to take two out of a possible four group points from the clash, points which saw them finish a point clear of Tibthorpe in the standings. Coventry finished top of that section despite losing at York by 22 this week, the three times winners now take on St Ives as they bid for a place in the final for the first time in seven years, St Ives won the competition in SL29, beating York in the final.
A run of just two defeats in their previous ten league fixtures was hiding the fact that St Ives actually had won just one meeting by a double figure margin since the opening day of the campaign. Luck was against them this week, with back-to-back four point losses in their latest top flight meetings following recent narrow wins. The second of those defeats came at home against Tibthorpe, Linus Muscic—in for injured WU19 Champion Nalek Walczak—scoring just five, with the Pirates also hampered by the change in averages, which saw Pentele Kalman (1) promoted from reserve to heat leader and two three pointers, Stewart Corden (3) and Alex Mason (1), tracked at numbers six and seven. The Ravens took full advantage of the hosts in-balance in their line-up, with five different riders racing to heat wins for them, including reserve John Palmer who finished with a paid eight score, and Markus Innanen (14) who’s fourth win of the evening came in a decisive last heat 4-2. Having won just one of their first seven league meetings Tibthorpe’s top flight status is now looking more secure, they end the week in sixth, just three points adrift of York in second. Fellow start of season strugglers Beverley meanwhile secured their first away point of the campaign, it returned at St Barts despite a first maximum of SL30 for the home side’s Ben Snodin (15), Joshua Sky (14+1) winning Hellcat 5-1’s in heats 11 and 13 as they fought back from six down to take a share of the spoils.
Fort William’s bid for back-to-back promotions continued to gather pace as they made it four away league wins for the season on their trip to East Goscote. Each of the Wildcats top five scored at least a point in every race they appeared in, including debutant at second string Max Lampinen (4+1), the stand out partnership that of Richard Coward (14) and Daniel Bauer (7+2) who scored 5-1’s in both their opening two heats of the meeting. Fort William were eight up after their second maximum in heat five, with the victory secured when Coward beat Richard Karley (15) for the second time in the meeting in heat 13. Steve Baker’s side are now just a point off top spot in division two, currently occupied by Doncaster who they host in a televised encounter next week. Elsewhere bottom of the table Pitsea’s run of nine straight league defeats came to an end with successive draws, the first at Midland where loanee John Hjustad (12) scored a maximum on debut, the Brighton asset added ten against Sneyd Green, however as in their earlier meeting in the week they still required a last heat 5-1 from Ales Skaper (14+1) and Jacob Harvey (14+1) to take the league point.
Brighton returned to the top of the division three table with a 42-48 win at Fenny Stratford, nine wins from their heat leaders doing the damage against a side who’s top rider has a GSA of just 7.69. The Stags have now won just one of their 20 fixtures in SL30. Another of this years newcomers, Sawley, also boosted their promotion chances by making it five league wins on the road, their latest away success returned at Bury, 41-49. It was a victory that didn’t look like coming after they fell eight adrift in heat ten, however a run of three visiting 5-1’s and two 4-2’s saw the meeting turn on it’s head, Marian Pinkowski (15+1) claiming victory in two of the late Mercians heat advantages.