Just six for Bradley as Scorpions claim cup
Bradley Law (6) was left inconsolable after he was on the wrong end of two late 5-1’s which saw Ramsgate slip to another aggregate cup defeat to Southampton. Losses in both the KO Cup last four plus European Cup final was added to by a third of the season in the Division One Cup decider, the Scorpions winners by two despite falling behind on aggregate on away shale as early as heat three this week. Back to back 4-2’s in heats four and five turned the final back the way of the SL7 and 13 winners, Craig Rowntree (10+1) and Paul Adams (12) racing to victories in turn. It would though take the visitors until heat 11 to get their third race win of the meeting, it was a crucial one, Adams taking the chequered flag in front again, tactical substitute George Farley (11+1) beating Law in the battle for second spot. Southampton with their noses in front but Joseph Ballard’s (9) successful four lap pursuit of Shane Reid in heat 12 changed the atmosphere again, the Rams fans full of hope going into heat 13 having seen their side cut their deficit to two with a 4-2. The building excitement was deflated in a flash by Adams and Rowntree, the familiar story of SL18 repeated as Southampton’s top pair stormed from the gate ahead of their opposite numbers, they led coming out of the second bend, they would claim a 5-1 and the visitors were heading for victory. Farley ensured a third success in the competition for his side with a win over Ballard and Jack Maynard in heat 14, a Ramsgate 5-1 in the last just consolation, no Law in that, he left with a season low tally and with plenty to think about.
Not the aggregate result Ramsgate were looking for but boss Phil Watmough will probably take a repeat of the cup 47-43 leg success in next weeks top of the table showdown with Southampton. It would see the Rams keep their place at the summit with three rounds of league racing remaining, and prevent their rivals from claiming a record 13th league win in a row. Their 12th was their biggest in any competition in exactly four years, 30 points the winning margin for the Scorpions over the already relegated St Peters, a side who’d earlier beaten Ramsgate by a point on home shale. That one went against the Rams despite nine heat wins, at the same time eight was enough to see Southampton win at Don Valley, 44-46. The top two are now separated by just two league points, the gap to third now up to 15 with Altrincham losing at home to Quantock this week, 44-46. The Rangers move back to within a point of the Panthers with the win returned with the help of a paid double figure haul from second string Alex Metcalfe (9+1), following the Vipers home defeat it’s now all but certain one of these two sides will take the final European Cup place for SL19.
Wlod Szczepanski (14) didn’t have to wait long to record his second GP career win following his maiden success in the British round last week, the Quantock and Poland star making it two in row with victory in Horsens. A point dropped to Marek Belic (13) in heat eight the only blot on an otherwise perfect scorecard for the 25 year old, who moves to within four points of series leader Belic, who went on to finish second in Denmark. Third in that same heat was the best of the Brits, Greg Hancock (11), he also going on to finish third on the podium despite late defeats to Artur Kulyk (9) and David Osborne (8).
Success in the final of the Division Two Cup for Newquay means all eight league ever-presents have now won at least one competition in their history. A Ricky Russel (12) heat 14 4-2 over Exeter in the second leg of the final ensured the Knights wait for silverware wouldn’t extend into a 19th season, Alan Stewart’s side going on win the trophy by two on aggregate after conceding a last heat 5-1. Earning the right to race in the top flight for the first time in ten years remains their main aim for the campaign, they’ve led the pack in the second tier for the majority of the season, however a second home defeat of the campaign this week meant they would not be celebrating an early promotion. Sittingbourne won at the Parker Stadium 43-46, a result which moves the Stags up to sixth, just a point off the top three, as are Swindon in fifth who won at second placed Exeter, 40-50. The big winners in the race for promotion this week were though Manor, a ten point win at California seeing the Miracles end the week in the top three of the standings for the first time this season.
Bolsover successfully defended their six point first leg lead over Border to win the Division Three Cup at the Reivers in the second leg of the final. The Knights lifting the trophy in their first season by two on aggregate. Their slim promotion hopes though diminished further with a later home 40-50 defeat to Tottenham, a result which ensured the Turnpikes promotion to division two.