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SHARKS DRAW BLOOD

Stalemate sends Sankey through

All-square at Exeter as Sankey moved a step closer to reaching their third KO Cup final in four years in dramatic fashion. Adam Roberts’s (16) fifth victory of the second leg would send the Sharks through to the last four of the competition by two on aggregate. Leading by just two from the first leg the visitors were in trouble after going six down on the night in heat ten, only for Roberts to respond by winning a heat 11 5-1 as a tactical substitute. The maximum return heralded a run of four race wins in the last five for Derek Moody’s side, Roberts winning three, Simon Driffield (9) the other in a heat 12 4-2 which would bring an end to the Devon side’s lead on the night. Exeter have been living dangerously in the competition all season, this their sixth meeting in a row that was settled by a four point margin or less, luck this time against them. Sankey will face Manor in one of two all top flight semi-final ties, the Miracles winning through to the last four for the first time in their seven year history when completing a 20 third round aggregate victory over Stowmarket, with a 43-47 second leg win on their travels. Recent £50,000 signing Mikhail Miloserdov top scored with 12+1 in the success. Joy on the road too for last years runners-up Southampton, 5-1’s involving George Farley (14+1) in both heats 14 and 15—the first as a tactical substitute—earning the Scorpions a 44-46 win at Denaby and ten point aggregate victory over the Devils, who were within two of the overall lead prior to the visitors late double. Southampton meet SL20 winners Quantock next, the Rangers winning their third round tie with Tottenham by 19.

TODAY: Shorts

The gap between the top four sides in division one is down to just two points after Southampton won at Laceby. The Scorpions second league victory of the season at New Station Road came about in pretty much the same manner as the first, the dominance of their heat leaders doing the job, the top three picking up eight race wins and a couple of paid successes in leading their side to a 41-49 victory. Craig Rowntree (12) finished the meeting unbeaten to take his maximum tally for the current league campaign on to three, he still two shy of the five recorded by his team mates, Paul Adams (12+2) and George Farley (11). At the other end of the table Quantock eased themselves out of the bottom three with a 44-46 win at basement side London, trailing by six after heat nine the Rangers scored two 5-1’s in the closing six races to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions at the venue to three.

 

Ramsgate are in a strong position in what is their eighth successive semi-final in the Division One Cup. A first leg draw at Don Valley leaves them as favourites to progress to what would be sixth final in eight years, teenage reserve Jacob Cooke (9+1) raced to two wins for the Rams, who beat the Vipers over two legs at this stage of the competition in both SL18 and 20.

 

Jacob Cooke carried his strong club form into the British Under 21 final at Laceby were he topped the standings with a 15 point maximum. 19 year old Cooke, who has come through the youth ranks at Ramsgate, completed his first ever WSO meeting win with a heat 18 success over Charlie Pickering (11). Jamie Hodges (13) finished second on the night, pre-meeting favourite and two-time defending champion Joseph Wall (12) took the third podium spot. The top seven from Laceby qualify for next month’s WU19 semi-finals.

 

World Championship success for Douglas Fread (14) as he continued to salvage something from a relatively poor SL22 season. The 23 year old American has lost more than a point from his average since making the pre-season switch to Don Valley, he recent loan move to Tottenham seems to a rejuvenated him however, he scoring a maximum on debut for the Turnpikes this week. He followed that up by winning the Finnish GP in Pori, his second career win in the series returned as he topped the podium from Leos Stich (12) and Simon Driffield (9). Fread also finds himself top of the series standings, he going a point clear of Stich, opening round winner Rubert Hanka (18) drops to third overall.

 

Brighton are well placed to make an immediate return to division one at the two-thirds mark of the campaign. A 43-47 win at Lye in their latest fixture leaves them level on points with second tier leaders Denaby—who they host next week—and six clear of Stowmarket in fourth. Marek Belic (15) scored his seventh maximum of the season, in what was the Bombers first away league win in over two years. Belic had earlier scored 13 as Brighton lost the first leg of their Division Two Cup semi-final at Buxton, 47-42, the opening meeting of the other tie saw Denaby claim a draw at Dunmow, Callum Osborne scoring 9+4 at reserve in that for the visitors.

 

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