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FRANCIS SPARKS WILDFIRE

Holders into final following win at Dover

Stoke fought back from an aggregate deficit on away shale to reach the Division One Cup final for the fourth time in five years. The holders had fallen two points adrift of semi final second leg hosts Dover, but they would claim heat advantages in five of the last six to record a comfortable ten point aggregate victory over the Silkmen, Matthew Francis (16+1) claiming the heat win in three of the closing races and finishing second to team mate Jarno Gronlund (9) in another. The heat 13 Francis/Gronlund maximum took Stoke in front for the first time in the meeting, a race later Andreas Oden (5+2) secured his side’s passage through to the final with victory over Egor Maslow, Francis and Gronlund returned to score a 4-2 in the last to seal an impressive 42-48 meeting win. Stoke’s victory sets up a repeat of the SL26 final, Putney winners of both legs two years ago, the Wildfire took revenge last year when beating them by a single point at the last four stage of the competition. The Spitfires were on the right end of the score-line in a closely fought semi final tie this time around, leading by four on aggregate after 14 races at Swanage, Jukka Peteri (12) and Pavel Vonasek (12+1) clinched things in style in the last heat decider, the Spitifres top pairing scoring a 5-1 over Martin Ata (10) and Daniel Mucha (12), the latter having gone into the race with four straight wins under his belt. Putney are into the final for a record ninth time, victory in it would see them move clear of Newark on the all time winners list with four successes, they having previously lifted the trophy in SL19, 20 and 26.

 

TODAY: Shorts

Newark boosted their survival hopes with a third league win at Warrington in four years. Lee Darton and reserve Szever Kin (6+2) secured the Invaders their second away win of the campaign by scoring a heat 14 5-1, early season £350,000 signing Kin back in the Newark side after a six week absence. After recording a shock win at Putney last week, this was a huge step back for the Vikings in their bid to put pressure on the leading clubs, they again looking over their shoulders rather than at those above them in the standings. Newark—just a place outside of the drop zone—find themselves just three points adrift of Warrington, while bottom side West Ham are only eight points worse off. The Dockers gained the maximum four on the Vikings this week after recording home and away wins, the latter a 42-48 success at Dudley Wood, where they led from start to finish. Brian Bell (9) got the Dockers on their way to their first away victory of the campaign by beating Janos Csordas in the opener, the 4-2 in that was followed by two more in a row for the visitors, the second of those coming as Ighli Giacomini (7) retired from the lead. Giacomini’s machine also let him down in heat 12 handing West Ham their second 5-1 of the meeting and an eight point advantage, wins in the next two for Bell and then Thomas Jaager (7+1) secured both league points for Steve Hebden’s side.

 

Nottingham continued their bid for a record third Division Two Cup title by completing a 12 point aggregate win at Peak Dean in the last four of this season’s competition. Blazej Polacek (16) raced to four wins as the Jazz successfully defended their 14 point first leg lead against the SL16 winners, an impressive tally given the hosts tracked three riders with a higher average than his 8.91 GSA. Last years runners-up Reading await the Jazz in the final, the Whiteknights completing a seven point win over Brighton despite heat leader Jonathan Svensson (3+1) failing to finish three of his five races at the divisional leaders this week.

 

Following their cup exit the week didn’t get any better for Brighton who were later held to a home draw by Cranford in the league. The Yellowjackets—whose earlier home meeting against Peak Dean had also ended all-square—leaving the Aqua-Dome with a point thanks to a strong showing from second string Jan Tervo (13).

 

Stowmarket and Tresco will meet in the final of the Division Three Cup after both completed wins in their last four ties with strong away results. A draw at Bilston was good enough to see the Tigers through to their second final in four years by ten—Tresco have yet to win any competition in their 16 year history—rookies Stowmarket meanwhile beat Wirral 44-46 on the road to seal a six point aggregate win, visiting second string David Simba (8+2) and reserve Carl Campbell (7+3) both paid in double figures.

 

Newcastle’s Ole Sorensen (13) topped a GP Play Off podium which featured three riders that appeared in the SL27 GP series. Cameron Richards (12) finished second after beating Brian Bell in a race-off, the top seven from the Peak Dean meeting go into this years GP series, which gets underway next week.

 

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