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FOUR WILLIAM

100% Wildcats lead the way

Fort William end the first month of the new league season top of the division one table with a 100% winning record. It’s the best ever start to a campaign for the Wildcats, who only avoided the drop to division two at the end of SL33 on points difference from Nottingham. Boss Steve Baker certainly shook things up following that near-miss, with only Richard Coward (10+1) and Henrik Kojefors (8+2) from last years top five back with the Scot’s for SL34. In have come Daniel Bauer (11+1), Benjamin Murray (7) and Denis Keller (6+2), and the three have made an impact in the revamped lead quintet. Each of the five contributed at least one race win as the Wildcats made it two out of two on the road when they paid their first visit to Boston’s New Hammond Beck Road of the campaign, looking to claim their first ever league point there. The visitors took the lead twice in the opening seven races, the second time with a Murray/Kojefors 5-1 in heat five, the pair having already picked up a 4-2 in the opening race. It was their second 5-1 in heat seven—this time scored by Bauer and Keller—that saw the home fans turn against their side, Wolfang Sara (14+1) giving up the lead of the race all too easily, before coming off his bike on the final lap unchallenged. Boston boss Dale Allitt sent in Sara into heat eight to make amends along with Vlastimil Lidvin (11), a 5-1 the result, but it didn’t seem to quell the unease in the stadium. From then on the Wildcats were difficult to break down, fighting for every point they ensured the meeting would finish with a run of seven successive 3-3’s and they would finish with both league points in the bag.

TODAY: Shorts

Blackpool will go into next weeks Pairs final at Bury as favourites to lift the trophy for the first time after another impressive showing by their new partnership. Ashley Smith (14) and Mioloslav Ivanoff (13) scored 27 out of a possible 30 to top the standings in the qualifier at Brighton by a clear seven points from holders Houston (20), the Blaze duo scoring four 5-1’s and a 4-2 in their first five races to secure their place in the decider. Witham’s Rasmus Aubynn (11) managed to beat both Blaze stars in heat 21, a dead rubber as far as Blackpool were concerned, but a vital three points for Witham (19) who qualified through in equal third to their first Pairs final in 13 years alongside SL27 winners Midland (19). Ashley Smith spent 14 years with Witham—averaging ten in the last two before moving to Nottingham in SL33—he scored 16 in the first round of the Pairs while at the Red Dogs last season but missed out on the latter stages of the competition as his then partner Hayden Baker scored just one! In Ivanoff he has certainly found a rider that can help him take the title, Dave Hood’s decision to spend big on the England star could be about to provide the Blaze with an early dividend. Their biggest obstacle to potential victory next week could be the only side from outside of division one to reach the final, winners of the second semi-final, Beverley (22). Richard Lewis (17) dropped just a point—that to Karel Chovan—for the Hellcats as they won their tie by two from St Ives (20), but he’ll need greater back-up from Morgan Barnes (5) in the decider if he is going to get his hands on the trophy. Coventry (19) took the final qualification spot from the tie.

 

Having a rider of the calibre of Joshua Sky (10+1) tracked as a second string can only be good for a side. The signing of the SL30 World Champion on a free transfer was certainly a coup for Doncaster, who are beginning to benefit from his undoubted skill and experience. Sky dropped just a point as the Riverhogs led from heat two onwards to win at Sawley this week, the visitors taking an eight point lead in the division two fixture in heat five when Sky led around his heat leader Marcin Symanski for a 5-1, the pair repeated the score to claim Doncaster’s second heat maximum seven races later. It was a second race victory of the contest from reserve Charles Johnston (6) which secured Doncaster both league points in heat 14 of the meeting they eventually won by six. Doncaster lead the way in division two on points difference from Sky’s former club, Beverley, meanwhile in division three there are new joint pacesetters, with Kelvedon and Sandwell sharing top spot in their first league seasons. Both picked up maiden away successes this week, Kelvedon taking the points at Brighton, 44-46, following a last heat second place finish from Cato Kalberg (12), while the Sabres finished with a flurry at Bolsover, a heat 15 5-1 from Fredrik Alquist (12) and George King (9+2) securing them a 42-48 victory there.

 

York are on the verge of a semi-final place in the Division One Cup having now picked up seven out of a possible eight group points. Three returned at Warley where the Vipers where never headed as they won their latest qualifier, 43-47, reserve Jay Owen again impressing for Dave Baker’s side, with the youngster finishing with figures of 10+2 from six.

 

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