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IT’S A LOCK OUT!

Putney stun leaders to claim div cup

A run of five 4-2’s in seven heats took Putney to victory in the final of this season’s Division One Cup at Stoke with three races to spare! The season long pacesetters were well on their way to ending their six year long search for any sort of club trophy at the one-third mark of the second leg, they reducing their ten point deficit down to four with a run of two 4-2’s and a 5-1. Only one more heat advantage would follow for the hosts though as Putney went on to dominate the rest of the final, a brace of wins in 4-2’s for both Daniel Southwood (15) and Luke Lockhart (12) sending the visitors in front on the night by the end of heat 11, a race later and it was all over, Lockhart giving the throttle an extra twist coming out for the final turn of lap four in that to edge past Bobby Branch for the trophy clinching victory. Putney would go on to win the second leg contest, 43-47, ending Stoke’s unbeaten home run at 37 meetings, the aggregate success 14 points in favour of Neil Boniface’s side, who have now equalled Newark’s record of three wins in the competition. For Stag Hill their win in the Division Two Cup was a first in any competition, Andrew Fisher’s Stars winning the final against West Ham by two following Glyn Ferrell’s (12) last heat win over the previously unbeaten Vayk Kari (14) at Custom Court this week. Ferrell had failed to win any of his four scheduled outings to the track, however his last heat win was his second in a row, he having defeated Adam Peel (5) when in as a tactical substitute a race earlier with a superb pass down the back straight of the final lap.

TODAY: Shorts

Eight up on the night after heat six, Bilston were making significant inroads into Herne Bay’s 16 point first leg lead in the final of the Division Three Cup. Visiting tactical substitutions would though stop the comeback dead, the addition of Oliver Garger (12+1), Bruce Towse (12) and George Fielding (6) adding a combined seven points to the Titans total in the space of three races, Herne Bay’s advantage back up to 12 with just six heats remaining. A freakish heat ten though brought the hosts back in contention, on a 5-1 after the first corner Titan’s pairing Fielding and Towse would end the race without a point, Fielding hitting the shale after locking up exiting turn four, seeing his partner in front he quickly made his exit from the circuit, however Towse didn’t make it past lap two, a puncture bringing a end to his bid for a second successive heat win. Bilston’s luck was short lived though, three straight 4-2’s ending the final as a contest, Tony Cope’s Titans eventually taking the silverware by 13, a cup/promotion double now in sight in what is their first season in the sport.

 

Stoke claimed a vital win at Dover to maintain their four point advantage at the top of division one, despite a heat 15 exclusion for Mark Windsor (10) and a determined fight-back from their hosts in the fixture. Five 4-2’s in the first seven had given the Wildfire a ten point advantage in the meeting, however Mark Smith (10+1) winning 5-1’s in heats eight and ten—the first as a tactical substitute—set up an intriguing finish to the clash, with the away team’s nerves set jangling further when the host levelled things up with a 4-2 in heat 13. The league leaders though have been nothing but resilient this season, a trait showed once again as Mark Francis (7) won a penultimate race 4-2 before Brian Bell finished the job off—without his team mate—in the decider. Time is running out for Putney to close in on Stoke at the top, however a 42-48 victory at Cradley—a result which sees the Stars become the first club relegated this season—at least means they haven’t lost ground heading to their ‘must-win’ meeting at third place Newark next week, the Spitfires then host Stoke, a meeting in which this years champions could be decided.

 

Jukka Peteri (12) recovered from a defeat to Mark Smith (7) and Martin Ata (12) in his final scheduled heat of the night, to win the German GP in Kassel. The Putney world number two defeating his team mate Daniel Southwood (2nd) and Ata (3rd) in a race-off for the podium places, the victory his third of his GP career. He though remains ten points off the world championship lead, the series standings now headed by Ata, Craig Chapman (11) having slipped to second.

 

Swanage (35 points) are out of the division one relegation zone after ending a run of six without a win with victory at Dudley Wood (33), the Dragons back in the bottom three as a result of the loss, although they claimed what could prove to be a vital bonus point when Ighli Giacomini (13) defeated Martin Ata (12) in a deciding race-off. In division two Bracklesham (53) are almost up after a 43-47 win at Stag Hill (44), which knocked their hosts own promotion hopes, the Rhinos need just one more win to make an immediate return to the top flight. Meanwhile in division three Stonebridge (41), in fifth, won at third placed Tresco (44), to tighten that battle up further.

 

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