Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Beverly go clear after win at Angels
Beverleybegan the second half of the season with home and away wins to mark themselves out as clear title favourites. A victory at fellow championship chasing side Stafford has given Steve Baker’s outfit a three point advantage over Coventry at the top of the standings, following their defeat the Angels slip nine adrift, the third placed side now closer in terms of points to the bottom than the top of the table. The Hellcats went into the crunch meeting with the worse record of any side ever to visit the track, their 26 previously league meetings at the Riso having resulted in three draw and 23 losses! Henrik Kojefors (14) and Richard Coward (12) would ensure the league leaders would break their maiden at the 27th attempt with a 4-2 in the final heat, Beverley’s 43-47 victory set up by a run of seven heat wins in the first eight races by visiting riders, their heat leader trio—which also included Joshua Sky (8)—would deny their opposite numbers victory in all but three races on the night. For a top three of the Angels calibre to be taken apart like that on home territory was a big disappointment, and a surprise, given they’d earlier led the side to a second away victory of the campaign at Timperley. Stafford’s top three each opened up with race wins at Park Road as the visitors took an early eight point lead in that meeting, and although the Pelicans slowly but surely got themselves back in contention—even levelling the scores in heat 13—the Angels had enough firepower to see them to a 44-46 victory, second string John Bingley (8+2) the lead man in a heat 14 4-2, Michael Curran (10) and George King (11+1) finished things in the last.
Monkston lost at home for the first time in SL28 with the league visit of St Ives. Another Andy Roughton team re-jig meant there was no place for Andy Murray in the home side, despite the second string scoring paid ten from four in the Monkeys previous meeting at The Jungle. It wasn’t at second string were the hosts lost it, although the recalled Michal Matusovic (6+2) did finish last in a heat 4-2 reversal which began Monkston’s demise. Eight up after hitting three 5-1’s in the space of four heats—one won by Matusovic—the Monkeys suffered a ten point turnaround in the meeting scores in the final six races, Michael Bell (10) beaten in heat 11 and 15 5-1’s by Robert Taylor (14) and Darren Stevens (12+2). The victory moves St Ives up to fourth and clear of the relegation zone, Monkston end the week seventh, just two ahead of the bottom three. One of the shock results of the week was recorded by bottom side Timperley at Tibthorpe, the Pelicans bouncing back from the home loss to Stafford to hold the Ravens to a draw at Manor Farm, Dave Wordsworth (8+1) impressing at second string, his best score since the opening day of the season included three points for victory in a crucial heat 14 5-1.
A national title and places in the next round of the World Championship at stake at Beverley this week, and with home advantage for Richard Coward it was a great opportunity for him to win the British Final for a record fourth time. Four heat wins and a second behind Dave Wordsworth (10) in heat 20 saw the 29 year old Scot move further clear on the all-time winners list, he finishing three points ahead of Mark Austin (2nd) and Ben Snodin (3rd) who fought out a race-off for the minor podium places. World Number two Coward moves on with the rest of the top eight to the Overseas Final, however there is no place in that for his fellow SL27 GP riders in action at Beverley, both George King (5) and John Hawke (2) failing dismally in their attempts to make the cut. The rest of the Overseas finalists come via the Pacific Championship route, that title was won by Michael Curran (13) for the first time, the 30 year old Stafford and Aussie rider topping the standings in Richmond from Stephen Brown (11).
A double bonus point winning 61-29 victory over Hawick has sent Houston through to the semi finals of the Division Two Cup for the second successive season. The Mustangs face Group B winners Heatherdale in the last four, Midland will take on Doncaster in the second of the semi finals. In the Division Three Cup first round Pitsea finished top of the Group A standings to land a semi final tie with Snyed Green despite a 46-44 defeat at Redhill in their final qualifier. Competition debutants Snyed Green progressed courtesy of a 42-48 victory at Exeter in which Tord Finstad (12) scored a maximum for the Rockets. East Goscote had already confirmed their place in the last four as Group B winners, with Tweedside making their way through this week with a 51-39 home win over Bury.
Fenny Stratford ended a run of ten straight league defeats with a home win over Midland before beating Hawick on their travels, 42-48. In the latter win second string Ryan Forrester (7+2) and reserve Jason Peers (9+1) raced to three wins between them for the division two basement side.