Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
EURO RE-THINK AFTER RECORD LOSSES
Brits take all four semi final places
A complete revamp of the European Cup could be in order after British Clubs secured a second successive clean sweep of the semi final places in the competition, at present the continental sides lack the ability to challenge the very best from the British League, with it’s representatives all recording aggregate first round wins in excess of 30 points in SL27. All four European sides lost home and away, with only Kassel able to limit their home defeat to single figures this week, still Newark riders racked up four 5-1’s in the meeting in Germany in which guest rider Tom Ranshaw scored a 12 point maximum. SL25 winners Newark will take on Stoke for a place in the final, the Wildfire getting their debut campaign underway with a 38 point aggregate win over Krakow, Bobby Branch scoring maximums in both legs, a 13+2 score for him in Poland, in a meeting in which he was involved in two 5-1’s alongside Jarno Grolund, with only a fall from the Finn preventing a third from the pair in heat seven. 5-1’s were also the order of the day in Malmo, four in the first five heats going the way of Swanage as they raced into a 7-23 lead, the second involved Philip Hart on his competition debut, the £3.5million man finished with figures of 8+1 as the Swans ran out comfortable 39-50 winners. Last years winners Putney await them in the semi finals, the Spitfires through after a second successive 16 point win over Oslo, in which Jukka Peteri (13+2) scored his second successive maximum against the Norwegians, in all the visiting top four raced to ten of the 15 heat wins.
Martin Ata began the defence of his world title with a fourth placed finish in his Scandinavian semi final in Pori, the Dane safely through to the final he won last season in a meeting in which his Swanage team made Benny Henriksson (12) secured victory in after a race-off against world number 12, Jonatan Svensson. Danish Champion Ole Sorensen (13) meanwhile raced to his second successive win at this stage of the World Championship in the Oslo semi final, the Newcastle number one topping the standings by a point from world number two, Jukka Peteri (2nd), and the ever-improving, Hobart Buus (3rd).
Newark face a tricky second leg in the last 16 of the KO Cup, the Invaders losing their opening meeting of the defence of the trophy they won for a second time last season 50-40 at division two side, Wirral. Many questioned whether the Warriors would have the firepower to defeat a side headed by a trio of top flight nine point men, but they soon proved their doubters wrong, second string Milan Kowalik (8) showing the way when passing Janos Csordas on the final lap of heat three to claim second spot. The SL22 World Champion was also beaten by Ole Johannesen (12+1) and Jason Farrell (12+1) on the track, and by the track itself in heat 12, with the bumpy surface blamed by the Hungarian for his mechanical gremlins, New Zealand heat leader Cameron Richards dropped a point in the same race to Vladimir Birsa (12+2). That was home second string’s second victory on a night in which he was beaten by an opponent just once.
Newark quickly put behind them the disappointment of their defeat at Wirral, they going on to win at Bracklesham 43-47 to extend their unbeaten run in division one to five meetings. Tom Ranshaw (11+1)—in as a guest for the injured Alexey Otyutskiy—scored a maximum in the Invaders win, something he has failed to do in 16 league meetings for Warrington this season. It was though left to Janos Csordas (11) and Cameron Richards (11+2) to secure the Invaders their first away win of their SL27 league campaign, the visitors leading pair doing so with a last heat 5-1.
A 15 point maximum from Mark Smith on debut couldn’t halt Peak Dean’s losing league run on their trip to Herne Bay (47-43), however another full house at home to Stag Hill stopped that sequence at eight meetings, a draw not a great result, but Smith’s win in a last heat 5-1 was greeted with some relief. Elsewhere in division two the meetings at Tresco and Wirral ended all square, with both Reading and Herne Bay respectively returning home with their first away draws of the season under their belts.
Thomas Kroldrup (15) scored his third maximum of the season as in-form Bedwyn went top of the division three table for the first time with a 47-43 win over Woodhouse, Ben Smith’s side—unbeaten in six in the league—had earlier overturned a ten point deficit to win at Benfleet by the same score, the third win of the campaign completed with a last heat Kroldrup (15)/Marcin Bukalski (15+2) 5-1. Meanwhile it was away win number one of SL27 for Bristol on their trip to Milton Keynes, recent signing at second string Piotr Ruta (8+1) picking up two wins in the 44-46 victory.