Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Pairs heartbreak for Pelicans
Timperley missed out on claiming only their second domestic trophy in their history after Tord Finstad (8) crashed late on in the SL29 Club Pairs final. The double European Cup champions were on course for a title winning 5-1 in heat 19 of the silverware decider in Bury, that was until the Norwegian picked up some unexpected drive coming out of the second bend of the final lap, despite a valiant attempt he failed to regain control of his bike and ended up and the deck as Warley pairing Vladilen Bunin and Ivan Khalitov went through to claim the minor places behind Bradley Allsopp. So despite opening up the final with 5-1’s against both third placed finishers Houston (20) and eventual winners Beverley (23), Timperley would finish as runners-up, the Hellcats picking up the silverware for the second successive season thanks to a heat 20 4-2 over Boston. Henrik Kojefors won that to finish as top scorer in the meeting with 15 points, he having also raced to wins in the Hellcats 5-1 scores over York, Houston and Warley, Joshua Sky (8) selected as his wing-man, replacing Mikael Linden who was preferred by team boss Steve Baker at the semi final stage. A brave decision that paid off for Baker who has seen his club take the title for a fifth time and become the most successful team in the competition’s history, they matching Stafford’s five wins but do so having finished as runners-up six times to the Angels two. The win also means Beverley have now won five of the last six domestic competitions, a run which began with Kojefors and Richard Coward’s success in the Pairs at the start of the SL28 campaign.
Warleyreach the first GSA change of the new season unbeaten in the league but they did drop their first home point of the campaign with the visit of Beverley to Shale Green Park. The Warriors had led the meeting from heat one onwards, however Vladilen Bunin’s win over Henrik Kojefors (10) in the opener was the Russian’s only heat success of the meeting, he trailed in last in the heat 15 decider as Pairs winners Joshua Sky (17) and Kojefors picked up a 4-2 to level the scores, a race earlier both Sky and Mikael Linden (10+2) had come in as tactical substitutes to score a crucial 5-1. Still Warley end the week two points clear of York at the top of the standings—Beverley are third a further point adrift—with Warley having picked up a second away win of the campaign on their earlier trip to Stafford. 43-47 that ended in favour of the Warriors, remarkably so given they travelled to the Riso without Janne Turpeinen, who was left out by boss Adrian Heathcote to preserve his start of season 7.95 GSA. James Bell tallied just two points after being promoted to second string, with his replacement at reserve—Joe Read—failing to score anything, still with both Ivan Khalitov (16) and the unbeaten Bunin (11+1) picking up a hat-trick of wins apiece Warley had enough to maintain their unbeaten start, the hosts struggling to cope with the Warriors performances at heat leader, which also featured a season best 14+2 from Robert Pappas.
Competition debutants Houston have given themselves a chance of reaching the semi finals of the Division One Cup after coming from behind to win at Doncaster in their latest qualifier. A welcome three points for the Mustangs who’d lost their group opener at home to Coventry, they secured with a heat 14 5-1 from teenager Harry Sloan (6+1) and reserve Lukas Vitek (8+3). Houston sit second in Group B to Coventry, Group A is led by St Ives, who have all but secured progression to the last four for the second successive season after making it three wins out of three in the qualifiers against Stafford, 56-34.
Tibthorpe continue to take division two by storm, they yet to be beaten in the league since their relegation from the top flight. A 39-51 win at St Barts was their most impressive success yet, five different heat winners for them in a great team effort, six if you count the paid victory achieved by John Palmer (6+1) when he and Rasmus Wilhelmesen (5) sealed the points with the second of three straight 5-1’s earned by the Ravens at the close of the meeting. Kathryn Baker’s decision to track an unchanged team at the start of the campaign does though mean that her preferred septet has sailed over the 47 point team limit, meaning at least one will have to be dropped when they look to extend their unbeaten start to SL29 beyond nine meetings against Belham Road. Fellow relegated side Timperley are up to second in the table following a first away win of SL28 for them, that returned at East Kent, 42-48, thanks to a last heat Tord Finstad (16+1) 4-2.
A last heat 5-1 from Janosch Gileqicz (13) and second string Peter Suchy (10+1) earned Fenny Stratford a 44-46 victory at Witham in a meeting in which they hadn’t led in until that stage. Suchy’s GSA goes up from 6.53 to 8.32, the Stags up from fifth to second in the third tier standings.