Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Warriors strike back in cup
Warleythis week completed one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the KO Cup competition, with their hosts Weymouth somehow losing a 14 point advantage on home shale in the final nine heats of the tie. Adrian Heathcote’s side were given little hope of progression after losing the first leg meeting 43-47 on their own track, those slim expectations had almost gone after they conceded two 5-1’s and two 4-2’s in the space of four heats early on in the return, the run of results taking the Hitmen 20-10 up on the night, the top flight Warriors heading for humiliation. Tactical substitute appearances from Alan Marney (12) and Wolfgang Sara (6+2) had come and gone before the visitors began their comeback in earnest, neither beat an opponent in their extra rides, however the next two changes made by Heathcote did bring rewards, Robert Pappas (16+1) and Radoslaw Zukowski (6) winning off the prolific gate four in turn, victories which brought much needed heat advantages. Two more immediately followed, one a 2-3 as the otherwise unbeaten Tord Finstad suffered a fall in a three rider race—which would prove crucial in the final reckoning—Warley now within three points of their hosts on the night and seven on aggregate. The deficit was cut further with a Marney winning 4-2 in heat 12, while another stunner off gate four from Papas helped them pick up a 5-1 in heat 13, Warley suddenly in front in the meeting and within touching distance of success. That success came with more maximum points in the last, Marney—who scored just three points in the first leg—taking his tally to paid 17 when racing to his fourth win, Pappas fending off Linus Muscic (10) to take the second which secured his side a single point victory. One giant-killing prevented, however there was success for another division two side when against top flight opposition, St Ives completing victory over Coventry in style this week, the Pirates 18 points aggregate winners over the most successful side in the history of the KO Cup following a 43-47 victory at Diamond Park. The rout was completed with a Ben Walsh (14)/Robert Taylor (14+1) 5-1 in the last, St Ives having secured their passage through to round two as early as heat 12 of the meeting. Midland are next up for St Ives, the top flight newcomers having continued their 100% record in the opening round with a 22 point aggregate win over St Barts, the Pristines though have yet to make it through round two. Monkston are another side yet to be beaten in the first round of the competition, they making it eight wins from eight at this stage with a 48-42 win over Heatherdale, the first leg of their tie having ended all square. The Monkeys take on York in the last 16, who completed a 32 point first round aggregate win over Exmouth with a 44-46 second leg victory on their travels. Redhill also won on the road, however their 41-48 victory at Chiseldon wasn’t enough to prevent the Racers from exiting, they having lost the first leg at home by 16! Chiseldon’s reward is a second round tie with another division three side, Bury—who defeated Witham by two on aggregate after they scored three 5-1’s in the final three races of their home second leg—the Knights opponents in the last 16.
Success in the cup, but more woe for Warley in the league, Midland racing to their first ever top flight away win as the two struggling sides met at Shale Green Park this week. A paid ten from reserve Lars Stobbe helped set the visitors up for the much needed win, one completed with a last heat 4-2 won by second string Mark Baldwin, who finished with season best figures of 13+1. Midland end the week ninth, one place and three points better off than Warley. At the other end of the standings Stafford closed to within points difference of leaders Beverley after extending their winning run to five meetings at Coventry, the 44-46 victory completed with an exclusion for a fall for home heat leader Jason Smith (10) in the first running of heat 15.
A mixed week for Portland in division two, as having recorded their first away win at this level on their trip to bottom side Tweedside, 43-47, the Bills went on to lose at home for the first time in SL26. Heatherdale—who are up to a season high third—became only the second side ever to win at the Lighthouse Stadium after seeing out a 44-46 victory with the minor places in a last heat decider. Weymouth meanwhile made it six wins from seven on the road in all competitions with a 41-49 league victory at Stepps, 13+1 from second string Tord Finstad helping the Hitmen to the win which moves them six points clear at the head of the standings. Elsewhere St Ives failed to recover from the concession of two 5-1’s and two 4-2’s in the opening five heats of their home clash with Witham, the Pirates going on to lose that 44-46, with six of the visiting septet racing to heat wins in the meeting.