Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
OUT LIKE A LIGHT
Misery for Brighton in league and cup
A season that had promised so much for Brighton will end without silverware and in a top flight relegation battle, no-one would have seen coming. Level on points at the top of division one after round nine, little has gone right from than time for the Sharks, they without an away win since in the league and have made their exit from the Fours, KOC and now Division One Cup. Last weeks 18 point semi final first leg win over Stoke was just an aberration, the return leg proving to be more like the ‘recent’ norm, although even those that followed their team to Lakes Park would have been surprised by the capitulation. Jeff Lowe’s heat four victory was the only one recorded by the visiting side as they were resoundingly beaten 57-33 by the league leaders, who completed their passage through to the final of the competition with a last heat 4-2. Brian Bell (15) won that to take his first Division One Cup maximum of SL26, two times winners Putney—who completed a double over Sturminster in the second of the last four ties—await in the final for the Wildfire, who are looking to lift the trophy for the first time. For Brighton a later home meeting with Warrington provided them with no consolation, the Sharks started poorly—conceding 5-1’s in heats two, five and seven to six different riders—and didn’t get much better, Dean Dick’s (8+1) all too easy pass on Jeff Lowe in heat 11 the final straw for a lot of the home fans, who headed to the bars at that point. A Sharks 5-1 in heat 13 extended the contest to the final race, however Danny Forbes (12+1) won that to seal a 44-46 Vikings victory.
Warrington’s win at Brighton sees them end the week outside of the division one drop zone, and in fact they lie level on points with the Sharks who somehow hang on to fourth in the standings, for now at least. Warrington’s away form is better than any team’s in the top flight barring Stoke, they are though at the wrong end of the table due to their performances at the Chemzcal, with Dudley Wood inflicting their fourth defeat there of the campaign earlier in the week. 5-1’s in heats 13 and 14 from the visitors decided what had been a tight contest up until that stage, Esa Kuqi (9) and Eddie Hunter (8+3) grabbing a third Dragons maximum from the gate in the former, the meeting then decided by referee Paul Blunt when he gave visiting reserve Raymond Johnston the nod over Magnus Pohja in a photo finish for second in the penultimate heat of the meeting. The Dragons joy of a second away win of SL26 was short lived, with a third home loss following, a 43-47 defeat to Putney keeping them in the bottom three. The Spitfires led from heat two onwards in winning that, the gap between themselves in second and leaders Stoke back down to five points as a result. In-form Newark remain third and are now just seven points adrift of top spot after they extended their unbeaten league run to seven with a 44-46 victory at Sturminster, a last heat 5-1 from Alexey Otyutskiy (17) and Janos Csordas (13+2) completing the win in a meeting the visitors had been eight down in, Otyutskiy winning four of the final five heats of the meeting, three of which ended in Newark maximums.
SL22 World Champion Janos Csordas has failed in his bid to reach the GP series for a seventh successive season, the Newark rider finishing outside of the top seven in this weeks Play Off round at Peak Dean. The meeting was won by Dover’s world number three Mark Smith (12), the Brit topping the standings from Marcin Bukalski (11) and Tom Ranshaw (10), the latter reaching the GP’s for the first time as a result.
A run of two wins in the last nine has seen Swanage drawn into a division one relegation battle, with their latest loss—a 43-47 home defeat to Dover—leaving them just two points above the drop zone. A penultimate heat 5-1 from Zsolt Szabo and reserve Alexander Pander (8+1) securing the points at Days Park for the Silkmen, the win their first ever in the league at the venue and one which takes them above the Swans in the standings.
Stag Hill turned the tables on Bracklesham to reach the final of the Division Two Cup for the second time in their history, the Stars overturning a first leg home defeat to progress by two with a 43-47 win at the Rhinos this week. Reserve Gareth Yoemans raced to two wins for the visitors in the victory, they go on to meet West Ham in the final. The Division Three Cup final will be contested by Bilston and Herne Bay after both put in fine away performances in the second legs of their last four ties, the latter drawing at Milton Keynes, while Tim Dixon top scored with 12 in the Bull Terriers 41-49 victory at Black Country.
Reading’s rise up the division two table came to an end with a home defeat by Stag Hill, who go back above the Whiteknights as a result of the 43-47 success, a win clinched by a last heat Daniel Mucha (11+1)/Glen Ferrell (13+1) 5-1.