LAYING DOWN THE LAW
Rams into final as youngster returns
Bradley Law was back in Ramsgate’s Pairs line-up after missing the first round victory at Glendale, the SL14 WU21 Champion selected ahead of Artur Kulyk despite the Polish rider scoring an impressive 12 in the opening qualifier, where he and Vadim Garin topped the standings by a clear six points. Law returned with a victory over Mark Burt in the opening heat of the semi final in Lye, four heats later he was on track picking up a second behind team mate Garin in a 5-1 against one of the favourites for this years title, Quantock. Next up holders Sankey, and again a sound result for Law and Garin, the two team riding to the minor places ahead of Adam Roberts, as David Mulrain cruised to his second victory of the evening. Sankey may have been expected to push on to victory from there, but Garin and Law had other ideas, a heat 19 4-2 over Nottingham sealing them the meeting win, 5-1’s in the last two in turn from Quantock and Sankey only good enough to see them finish equal second, a point adrift of Phil Watmough’s duo. Watmough’s dilemma now is whether to keep faith with Law for next weeks final in Dunmow—in which California, Southampton, Don Valley and St Peters join the top three from Lye—the 20 year old is only third in the Rams averages with a mark of just 6.82, he behind not only Garin (9.27) but also second string Lars Mtilga (8.89), first round representative Kulyk (6.00) also must be considered. California won the semi final at Exeter by a point from Southampton, Martin Vessenberg and Eddie Culina—who finished as runners-up to Sankey in SL15—racing to three 5-1’s on their way to victory.
In stark contrast to SL14 where he won five WSO events and finished as world number two, SL15 was a poor season for Bradley Law (14), the Ramsgate heat leader finishing without any major successes on the individual front. SL16 has begun better for the now 20 year old, he two wins from two at the WSO level, the latest success coming in the British semi final at Barking, where he topped the standings ahead of—amongst others—previous winners Laim Marlow (12), Sean Hilton (12), Wade Dunn (11) and Paul Rice (6). The latter failed to reach this years final after finishing outside of the top eight, as did Jamie Worthington—third last season—in the second of the qualifiers in Newquay. Sankey’s Adam Robert’s (14) won that one, the 28 year old finishing two points clear of Leon Creer.
A heat 15 5-1 reversal at Ramsgate saw Sankey suffer their first defeat of SL16, the Sharks losing out 45-44 having overturned a nine point deficit to lead by three heading into the last. The early season leaders though did make it two wins from two in the Division One Cup, they going top of their first round group with a 44-46 victory at Jericho, with a last heat 5-1 this time going their way, Adam Roberts (14+1) and David Mulrain (11+1) combining for maximum points in the decider, just as they’d done a race earlier when both made tactical substitute appearances. A lack of bonus points—just one from four so far—means Sankey still have work to do to reach the semi finals for the third successive season, especially as holders Ramsgate opened their account in the same group with a 43-47 victory at MK Knights. The Rams led from heat three onwards in recording what was their first away win of SL16, Vadim Garin (13+1) clinching the success with a last heat win over Tinoi Stroud (11).
The oldest side in the country is now the only unbeaten one, Gateshead extending their run of meetings without defeat to five with a 47-43 division two win over Lye. Earlier the Neil Magee side had won a tightly fought league contest at fellow relegated side Merseyside, Jamie Worthington (10) and Magnus Kallstrom (11+1) picking up the minor places behind Padi Basker in heat 15 there to clinch a 44-46 victory. The Gladiators end the week a point clear in the standings, Merseyside end it in the bottom three.
Manor are still looking for their first home league win after Stepps fought back from a six point deficit to win 43-47 at the sports newcomers this week, Patrik Berggren clinching a paid 18 point maximum with the match winning victory in heat 15 of the clash, having picked up heat 11 and 13 5-1’s alongside Rami Tjernstrom (12+1). Stepps end the week second in the standings, behind another of the rookies, Tottenham, who lost for the first time in official competition on their trip to St Peters, 46-44. That was second time in the week that the Scions had won by that margin, they having earlier defeated Stepps on their travels in the Division Three Cup, a meeting in which visiting second string Peter Cottrill (8) and reserve Anderson Eng (8+2) both recorded heat victories.