Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
FOUR-TUNE FAVOURS CHAMPS
Last heat win earns Putney another trophy
Putneyhave claimed their fourth trophy of the season after winning the closest 4TT final in history. Just eight points separated the four finalists after four meetings and 64 heats of racing, Pavel Vonasek (6) decisively winning heat 16 of the final leg for the hosts as a furious Matthew Francis (6) trailed in last for Stoke, who’d gone into the heat with a two point aggregate advantage. There was no calming the Brit who was adamant Vonasek made an illegal move at the start, there was no doubt that the Czech did get away extremely quickly, however replays showed he didn’t touch the tapes and the referee was happy it was just a very good start. And so were the vast majority of the season best 10,000 crowd at Tibbertts Corner, already in a joyful mood following their early title success the Spitfires faithful turned the volume up even higher to bring their eastern European hero home. Stoke had to settle for the runners-up spot and will now finish the year without a trophy having won the League/European/Division One Cup treble in SL27, this the third time in as many years that Garry Pearce’s side have finished on one of the two lower steps of the podium in a competition that have still yet to win. Peak Dean finished third—just three points adrift of Putney—in what was their first final since SL7, they had led the Spitfires by 17 at the halfway stage after winning their own opening leg and finishing as strong runners-up to Stoke in leg two, scoring just 16 points at Dudley Wood in the third though set them back in their bid to become the first side outside of division one to win the 4TT in 20 years.
Brightonsecured an early promotion in their first season outside of division one in seven years with a draw at local rivals Bracklesham. It’s the fourth time in six league meetings that the Sharks had taken at least a point from their short trip to Silver Way, the latest meeting ending all square thanks to a last heat 5-1 from top visiting pairing, Enar Kiseljov (13+1) and Hobart Buus (17+1). The Rhinos had led by ten after heat ten of a meeting they desperately needed all three points from to keep their own promotion hopes alive. As it was Brighton took two of the three on offer to move 13 clear of fourth placed Peak Dean with just nine left to race for.
Reading will race in division one for the first time in their 19 year history after they also secured a top three finish in division two with three meetings to spare. David Grainger’s Whiteknights picked up the necessary points on their trip to bottom of the table Herne Bay, the 37-53 victory their sixth on the road this year and their biggest away from home in the league in over five years. Top scoring for the visitors was the unbeaten Craig Chapman (15), while second string Rafal Kazimierczak (13+1) scored in double figures for the first time this season, the 29 year old Pole went on to do it again in the club’s later 16 point home win over Newcastle.
Stowmarket confirmed themselves as champions of division three in their first season in the sport with a 36-54 victory at Benfleet. Bill Jones’s side have led the way for the vast majority of the season, taking control of the division with ten wins in their opening 11 meetings. The win over Benfleet means they’ve now beaten eight of their nine division three rivals away from home this season, they face the ninth—Croxley Green—at the Copthorne on the final day of the season. The Cavaliers themselves celebrated earning promotion to division two this week despite a defeat at fourth placed Bilston, who saw their own hopes of a top three finish all but come to an end with an earlier ten point loss at Tresco. Only a freak set of results in the final two rounds could now deny Wirral the third promotion place, the Warriors however do still need a point to be absolute certain of making an immediate return to division two.
Grand Prix win number three in four has taken Newcastle’s Ole Sorensen to verge of his first World Championship title. The 34 year old Dane raced to three wins on his way to victory in the British round at Wirral, he finished a point clear of Pavel Vonasek’s, whose team mate at Putney—Daniel Southwood—completed the podium. Sorensen leads the overall standings by eight points from Mathew Francis heading into next weeks final meeting in Poland.
Dudley Wood (45 points) have become the main challengers to Warrington (47) for the final European Cup place in SL29 as Swanage (44) lost at home for the third time this season. The Swans slipped to fifth after a last heat 5-1 earned Newark (44) a 42-48 win at Days Park, the Invaders have now taken at least a point off Swanage on the road in each of the last four seasons. Next up for Newark—who are up to fourth—is a trip to Dudley Wood, who go into that meeting on the back of a 43-47 victory at bottom side Sturminster, they then host Warrington in what could turn out to be a decider for the league runners-up spot.