Finns offer up little defence
Ramsgateare in to their fourth successive European Cup final after dominating their Finnish opponents to win their last four tie by 22 points on aggregate. Pori beaten in their own back yard 44-46 by the Rams in this weeks second leg, having led by eight on the night thanks to a quick-fire 5-1 double in heats six and seven. With a 55-35 first leg win under their belts Ramsgate were still comfortable despite the mid-meeting reversals, and more comfortable still by the end of heat 12, aggregate victory secured for the British visitors thanks to a run of three 5-1’s of their own in the space of four heats. A second place finish from tactical substitute Alexander Wagner (11+1) plus a second win of the night for Indro Alonen (10+1) began the sequence in heat nine, Alonen then the backup rider in heat 11 as Shane Goodwin (16) picked up win number three of four for him on the night, in the next Wagner raced to his second heat victory as reserve Joseph Wall (2+1) scored his first points on the circuit thanks to a second place finish ahead of home heat leader Viktor Borissov. Ramsgate have now beaten Pori home and away at this stage of the competition in each of the last two seasons, last year though the SL12 and 16 winners fell short of landing the trophy when up against Southampton, this time they go for a record third win for a British club against a Horsens side who as well as beating last years winners have now seen off European League table toppers, Prague. The Danes—led by Sami Rissanen—though will hold no fears for Phil Watmough and his side, they having beaten them in round one home and away in SL18.
A run of four straight top flight wins for leaders Ramsgate was brought to an emphatic end by Quantock who smashed the latest visitors to Coleridge Way, 58-32. Wlod Szczepanski (15) scored his sixth maximum of the campaign as his side inflicted the biggest ever league defeat on the Rams in their 13 year history. Ramsgate’s unbeaten run may have come to an end, but Quantock’s continued when they recorded a third successive away league draw on their later trip to Laceby. The Rangers fighting back from eight points down at the Avenues to claim a share of the spoils with the minor places from Jacek Wozniak (11) and Szcepanski (11+1) in the last, the draw extending their run without defeat in all competitions to ten meetings.
At 17 David Johnson (6) became the youngest ever winner of the World Under 21 title last season, he’ll though not be back in this years final to defend his crown, the Aussie eliminated having finished out of the top eight in the qualifier at Richmond. American youngster Douglas Fread—currently on loan at Dunmow from Altrincham—topped the scoring on his home nation circuit with 14 points. Waclaw Koszlowski meanwhile scored a maximum 15 in dominating the second of the semi finals at Altrincham, the Manor heat leader—an asset of Don Valley—finished second to Johnson in the championship last season and was a winner of the WU19 title a year previous.
Exeter brushed off their poor league form to beat division three leaders Gateshead 43-47 on their travels in the first leg of their KO Cup quarter final tie. £400,000 Falcons signing Luke Miller (11) raced to three wins in what was only his second meeting for his new club, his third victory coming ahead of Enrico Ludwig (13+1) in a last heat 4-2, a result which ensured Exeter would hold an advantage at the start of the return leg at home. It was a poor week all around for the Gladiators, with one home defeat becoming two when they entertained Dunmow in a division three fixture. Gateshead’s first home loss of the league season inflicted by a Dragons side boosted by Anderson Eng’s (9+1) recent switch to reserve, the Swede winning the first of three 5-1’s scored by the visitors. In the end though it was Daniel Jardler’s (11) win over the previously unbeaten Enrico Ludwig (17) which secured Dunmow both league points, the eventual 42-48 win seeing them cut their deficit to Gateshead—who remain top—to a single point.
Buxton moved to within points difference of climbing out the bottom three in division two after pulling off a shock win at leaders Merseyside. The Marauders first home defeat of the campaign was inflicted by a Braves side that continue to benefit from the scoring of veteran Magnus Kallstrom (8+2) at reserve, the recent £16,000 addition tallying more points than the home side’s bottom three combined.
Holders Southampton are on the verge of reaching the semi finals of the KO Cup for the fifth time in six years. The Scorpions are unbeaten in their last 27 meetings at home in the competition, any size of win against division two side St Peters will be enough for them to progress next week, the first leg of the tie at West Green Road having ended all square after the visitors scored a last heat 5-1.