Swede take ‘Cats into round two
For the second successive season top flight Bradford have been eliminated from the KO Cup by a Swindon side who have only ever beaten two other teams in the competition. A tight encounter in Wiltshire was decided by a final race 4-2 in favour of the Alleycats, Martin Fors (13) ending Sarkis Evanoff’s run of 11 races unbeaten in the tie with the heat 15 success which saw Swindon complete a two point aggregate victory. Crucially Magnar Maciejewski (8) lost out in a battle for third with Frantisek Adamcik (11) at the rear, a race earlier the Pole had also been denied a point when in as a tactical substitute after suffering a breakdown on lap three. Luck only played a small part in the Speedsters exit however, Swindon deserved their success, built from the resilience of their top five, every one of which contributed at least one meeting point in ever heat they contested. Swindon were one of three division two sides to beat top flight opposition in the first round, and they’ll face another of that trio in the last 16 next month. Herne Bay are those opponents, the Flyers conquers of SL8 winners Long Eaton in round one. 14 up from the first leg Tony Cope’s side went into the Perksdome return as favourites, but it was a lead that the Rifles looked more than capable of overturning in the early stages, just five heats in, their deficit had been cut to four and they’d seen off one tactical substitute. Glenn Fitzgerald (11+1) turned the momentum back towards the visiting side with wins in successive 4-2’s, he notably beating Jiri Sebranek (6+2) in the first of those in heat seven, Herne Bay then scored a 5-1 in heat 11 to bring their advantage back into double figures, and they had more than enough from there to see through the victory. Giant-killing number three came at Stourbridge, where Alfreton made it through to the second round at the expense of the hosts despite only winning the first leg of the tie, 46-44. It’s a margin of victory they repeated at Penhall Way after Jacob Buus (12+1) and Mikhail Markowski (11+1) scored a last heat 5-1 for the visiting side. It’s the third time in a row the Archers have won a KO Cup when up against top flight opponents, Leigh Rose’s side beating Caversham and Hallamshire on their way to the quarter finals last season, in which they lost out to third tier outfit, Stoke. Stoke this year have failed to make it past the first hurdle, they going out after losing at home to Milton Keynes, 42-47, the Mystics go on to face Sedgley, Alfreton meanwhile have been pair with Heath in the last 16. Elsewhere Cranford bounced back from a poor result at home against Mildenhall to beat the cup debutants by four on aggregate, Deryugine Mikhail (15) and Jacob Watson completing a 44-46 win at the Crusaders for the SL8 semi finalists this week with a last heat 4-2. The Yellowjackets face Brookwood in the second round, a round which will feature a fifth tie between Belfast and holders Totton in the competition, ties which have been share two apiece to date.
With further upsets in the league and World Championship the suffering of Adam Lucas and his Long Eaton side went far beyond their exit from the KO Cup. Lucas (6) failed to win a race in Prague has he finished outside of the necessary top eight places to progress to the second round of the World Championship, he becoming the first rider from the top 8 in SL9 to exit this years competition. The meeting was won by 43 year old Buxton veteran Zvi Sundt (11), meanwhile Heath and German rider Daniel Williams topped the standings in the Brookwood qualifier. Lucas (8+1) also finished the night in single figures as the Rifles were beaten at home in the league by leaders Houston, 44-46, the young Brit—who has lost nearly three points from his average this season—beaten in a last heat decider by Ludoslaw Jarworski (14). The result sees Houston end the first third of the campaign four points clear at the top of division one, Long Eaton—with just one win in ten—end the week tenth, four points adrift of safety.
Milton Keynes have slipped to bottom spot in division two despite beating Solihull 46-44 in their latest fixture. The Mystics missed out by six on what could prove to be a crucial bonus point if things continue the way they have begun in the division, the nine sides from Epping in second to Milton Keynes in tenth currently separated by just four points.
A draw for Steeple in their latest away fixture was enough to keep them top of division three despite a negative points difference of 35. Their third point on the road of the campaign was returned at Leyton where they also picked up the bonus by just two points on aggregate, Ross Nicholls (11+1) beating Enricho Bianchi (10+2) into second in the final race of the meeting, when third could have left the visitors empty-handed and seen them slip outside of the promotion places altogether.