ALL BARK, NO BITE
Clan exit with a whimper
Southamptonbounced back from a disappointing first leg home draw with Barking to win the return meeting of the first round tie at the Cowbridge, which set up a mouth watering last 16 tie against holders Quantock. For three-quarters of the tie it looked as though the Scorpions run of second round appearances would end at 11, however a brilliant outside pass from Craig Rowntree (13+2) on Alexy Simakov (6+1) in heat nine provided the catalyst for a late comeback, eight down at the time the move saw the visitors half their deficit in an instance, with the Brit joining his number one Paul Adams (15)—in as a tactical substitute—for their side’s first 5-1 of the tie. Like London buses a second quickly followed with Valdimir Anyukov (10+1) and George Farley (7+1) picking up maximum points in heat ten, while Adams and Neil Davies made it three heat advantages in a row with a 4-2 in heat 11. More race wins followed in the next two for the SL7 winners, Farley and Adams taking the chequered flag in turn, with a 16 point turn around in the scores completed by two more heat advantages in the final races, and it was the two who began the comeback—Adams and Rowntree—who finished the job, the pair taking another 5-1 in the decider to extend Southampton’s winning margin to eight. Over at Sankey a Danny Thomas (6+3)/Terry Lewins (6+2) heat 14 5-1 ended the resistance of the hosts in the second all top flight tie of the opening round, Sandwell eventually going through by eight in a tie they’d led in for all but two races, Stephen Hodgkinson’s side—winners of the competition in SL15—have been paired with Altrincham in round two.
Ramsgatecompleted the biggest ever KO Cup victory with a 70-20 first round second leg win over Hull this week, reserve Shane Goodwin (14+1) plus heat leaders Artur Kulyuk (14+1) and Simon Adzic (12+3) all in maximum territory as the Rams defeated the Ravens by 80 on aggregate, the previous biggest win had been Don Valley’s SL8 67 point success over Sandwell. The home side raced to 11 5-1’s in this weeks win, which also saw them set a new record for the biggest leg win in the competition, the 50 point winning margin on the night is also the biggest in any competitive fixture since Dunmow beat Ashwood by the same score in a division two clash back in SL8, however Don Valley’s SL2 Division Three Cup 73-17 victory over Exeter remains at the top of the all-time list. Don Valley are also by far the most prolific scorer of away wins in the KO Cup, their 21st came at Laceby (42-48) this week as they completed a 28 point aggregate first round win, the Vipers record 16th appearance in the second round will be against Ramsgate.
Ramsgate’s record breaking week began with a 42-48 league victory at Quantock, the Rams going top of the division one table with the win, completed with a last heat 5-1 from Bradley Law (14) and Artur Kulyk (11+1). That was the third heat maximum from the visitors in nine races, with the trio of successes involving six different riders. The defeat was the second in succession at home for the Rangers against a side in the top two, the losses to Don Valley and the Rams ended a six meeting unbeaten sequence for Nick Howard’s side, who end the first third of the season in the bottom half of the standings. Don Valley slip to second spot in the table after losing at third placed Southampton, 50-40.
Two of last years GP series top eight were eliminated from this years World Championship at Gateshead, in a first round meeting won by Altrincham’s world number six, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (13). SL14 World Champion David Mulrian (7)—a GP rider in each of the last seven years—finished down in ninth in the meeting, with fellow Brit world number four Christos Myatt finishing 11th. Horsens’ Niklas Bengtsson (12) won the second of this weeks qualifiers in Sankey, in a meeting in which world number three Rami Tjernstrom (9) made safe passage through to round two from fourth.
Cradley returned to the head of the division two standings with a 50-40 victory over Merseyside, Mark Powell top scoring with 12 in the top of the table clash against the side they beat on their travels in the opening week of the season. A KO Cup victory over Liden followed for the Marauders, however back in the league they lost again, Glyn Hughes side going down 44-46 to visitors St Peters as Leon Creer (6+2) failed to record a race win, the defeat their second at home of the campaign. Brendan Jeffrey (11) and Noel Smith (12) won it for the Scions with a last heat 4-2, although Tim Koch (11) did ensure a bonus point for the hosts by splitting the visitors pairing. In division three California extended their 12 meeting unbeaten start to the campaign with a 41-49 victory at Tottenham, while Buxton won at York, 43-47.