GLENDALE PAY THE TOLL FOR TURNPIKE DEFEAT
Division two leaders Glendale failed to overturn their first leg deficit at Tottenham, pacesetters of division three, who go through to the second round of the KO Cup in their first season in the sport. Jonathan Symes’ decision to dispose of his own assets to bring in loan riders Leon Creer (16) and Patrick Auer (8) has already paid dividends in the league, the Turnpikes top of the third tier having lost just two of their opening 12 meetings. Glendale would provide a different challenge altogether though, but a test Tottenham passed despite a poor start to this weeks second leg by the visitors to the GMS Arena. 5-1’s in heats two and three won by reserve Nick Foster (5+2) and club number one Vladimir Anyukov (12+1) in turn saw the Ghosts wipe out their first leg deficit and more, the choice of the meeting as a TV selection looking decided dicey, as at that stage the home side looked set to runaway with things. A quick-fire Creer double though helped earn Tottenham 4-2’s in heats five and six, which brought the aggregate lead back their way, a position which was consolidated with 3-3’s in the next four. Tottenham then moved clear with another brace of 4-2’s, Maik Walbrohl (7+1) picking up the win in a heat 11 advantage, Auer doing likewise in heat 12, before further 3-3’s completed Tottenham’s memorable aggregate win in heats 13 and 14. The north London side have every chance to go even further in the competition after picking out Swindon from that hat, on paper their round two opposition weaker than Glendale, given the Penguins position towards the bottom of the division two table.
Ramsgatecontinued their best winning run since SL12 with three more victories, taking their tally to 11 in a row in all competitions. Surprisingly it was at home in the second leg of their KO Cup first round tie against Dunmow where they almost came unstuck, the division two side leading the contest heading into the last, a race in which Bradley Law (15) and Lars Mtilga (10+1) turned things around in by scoring a 5-1. The 46-44 victory sent the Rams through to the last 16—where they’ll meet last years runners-up Quantock—by ten on aggregate. Earlier a crucial heat 14 5-1—in which reserve Andrew McClurg (6+2) defeated home second string Niklas Augustsson (7+1)—helped Ramsgate win at Altrincham in the league, the victory their first at the Cheshire venue and one which helps the Phil Watmough side end the week three points clear of Don Valley at the top of the division one standings. Elsewhere in the top flight Sandwell dropped their first home point of the campaign after Paul Adams (13+1) won the last for visiting side Southampton, leaving the final scores tied at 45. In the cup Southampton came out on top of their tie with Lye after holding their second leg hosts to just a 47-43 win, the Scorpions have been paired with Sankey in round two, Sandwell—who has holders received a first round bye—begin their defence with a two legged contest against Barking.
A last heat victory from Vladimir Anyukov (11) secured Glendale a draw at Cradley Heath and help them to cling on to top spot in division two as we reach the one-third mark of the season, Liden though closed to within points difference of the leaders following their 42-48 victory at Lye. Despite the visitors leading throughout the meeting it wasn’t until a last heat 5-1 from Chris Corry (11) and Gabor Stark (13+1) that the Lions could celebrate their second away win of the campaign, a win aided by two non-finishes from Matthew Madigan (8) in his first two races. Meanwhile up into the top three for the first time this season are Merseyside, a side Liden eliminated from the KO Cup this week by four. The Marauders bounced back from that defeat to reach new heights in the league with a 41-49 victory at Nottingham, one in which guest rider Andreas Bild (14+1) finished unbeaten. Liden will face third tier Newquay in the last 16 of the KO Cup.
Sittingbourne returned to the promotion places in division three for the first time in seven weeks after piling the misery on California, the Stags first ever away league win an impressive one, 18 points their winning margin at the Poppies where of their top five only Tim Rennie failed to get paid for a double figure score, and he tallied nine following two race wins from second string—both in 5-1 returns! Like the Stags Laceby also move back into the top half of the standings, the Avenues defeating York on their travels 43-47 thanks to a last heat Dominic Jordan (14+1)/Robin Hudson (11+1) 5-1, that result though tempered by a later draw at home for the Martin Smith side when they entertained St Peters.
California’s Martin Vessenberg (12) beat world number three Iain Johnson in a race-off to win his World Championship first round meeting at Sandwell, while there was British success in Prague, where Southampton’s Chris Speare (12) topped the standings.