Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
Buus leads Sharks to KOC win
In the past decade only one side has won the KO Cup and not finished in the top half of division one in the same season. That side was Brighton. The Sharks coupled the division two title with KO Cup success in SL21, Nick Ward’s side are back in the second tier for the first time since that season, and seven years on they are looking to repeat the unusual double. They look to be heading into the quarter finals following a shock second round first leg victory in the competition at Stoke this week, the Wildfire—who sit third in division one—beaten in a tight fixture on home shale 42-48 after conceding back-to-back 5-1’s at the death. Brighton’s late maximums were returned by Martin Jacobsen (13+1) and Miko Maijala (8+2) in heat 14 and then Jacobsen and fellow Dane’ Hobart Buus (14) in the decider, Buus—the stand-out rider on the night—beating Wildfire number one Matthew Francis for the third time in the contest in completing his fourth victory of the meeting. His first came in the opener which provided the visitors with the first of three straight 4-2’s and the platform for their success, excellent reserve Maijala won the second in the sequence, Jacobsen the third. Elsewhere Brighton’s sister club Bracklesham are on course to record another ‘second beats first’ tie in the last 16, the Rhinos impressive 53-37 first leg winners over Dover, three 5-1’s going the way of the hosts in the victory, including one for Marcel Sekoranja (13+1) and second string Vesa Nyland (6+2) in heat five when up against the Silkmen top two of Alexander Holden (9) and Pelcis Alexander (6).
Victory on one of their favourites tracks provided Swanage with their first away league points of SL28. The 42-48 success at Dudley Wood was their third win on the circuit in four visits, and was recorded as Aaron Rowley (6+2) returned to the side at second string to replace £1/2million flop Ruda Cejka. The 21 year old was one of four different heat winners for the visitors, teenager Robert Cooke (7+3) another but it was the Swans top two who did the majority of the damage, Daniel Mucha (13) and Martin Ata (10) doing a fantastic job in keeping Janos Csordas (12) and Ighil Giacomini (10+1) quiet on their own circuit. Mucha’s three heat wins were all returned when up against one of the home top two, Ata also beat both the Dragon’s greats on his way to a hat-trick of race successes. Swanage followed up the win with a 24 point home thumping of Newark, who slump to the bottom of the league standings, the Swans end the week fifth, a place above Dudley, who prevented themselves from dropping into the bottom three by grinding out a draw in their second meeting of the week in Sturminster. Dudley recovered from eight down with six races to go to pick up two of the three league points on offer at Skelston Bank.
Second leg wins in the first round ties saw all four British teams reach the semi finals of the European Cup by 20 point plus margins. It’s now been three years since a European League team beat a club from these shores, the latest whitewash setting up Stoke/Newark and Swanage/Putney semi final ties in the competition.
SL27 GP riders Ole Sorensen (14) of Newcastle and Swanage’s Martin Ata (13) began their SL28 World Championship campaigns with victories in the Scandinavian semi finals in Oslo and Pori respectively. Danish Champion’ Sorensen dropped his only point of his qualifier against Jeffrey Jonsson (10) in recording his eighth WSO event career win, the success for his fellow Dane’ Ata was his first in a major individual since he won the world title two season’s ago.
Brighton followed up their cup success at Stoke by extending their unbeaten run in the league with a home victory against Kent. However it was a close run thing for the home side, they needing a Hobart Buus (14) last heat win to complete the 46-44 success, the 22 year old then went on to beat Liam Frankowski (14+1) in a race off to secure the Sharks their seventh straight bonus point. The sixth had come along the coast at Bracklesham, where Brighton beat their local rivals 41-49 to record a six point aggregate win against the only side to beat them at The Aqua Dome this season. Elsewhere in division two bottom side Herne Bay suffered their fifth home defeat of the season with the visit of Reading, 43-47, visiting boss David Grainger handing second string Danilo De Martin (5+2) his debut in that one. However strong performances from second string Alesy Kruse (10+1) and reserve Mike Yates (7+1) would later earn the Titans two league points at Peak Dean, a shock draw there completed at the Plunderers as home rider Mark Smith (14) suffered a last heat retirement.
Wirral scored a last heat 5-1 to beat Milton Keynes 44-46 on the road to make it seven league wins in a row and move to within three points of the top of division three.