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YOU’RE FIRED

Rifles boss dumps Lucas

Long Eaton boss Martin Smith responded to his side’s lacklustre start to the new season by dropping his main man Adam Lucas from the Club Pairs Championship. The SL9 and 10 World Under 21 Champion singled out by Smith as he took aim at his side’s under-performances, he replacing the 24 year old in this weeks semi-final of the competition at Ringwood with Ormos Adami (11). It’s hard to say what would have happened with Lucas as the other half of the partnership alongside Kim Siemsen (14), but the chosen two earned their side a place in the final for only the second time in 14 years, doing so by winning the tie by a clear four points. Successive 5-1’s over Stoke and Stirling saw them pull clear at the top of the standings from one of the favourites to lift this years trophy, Totton, the Tigers—represented by Simon Snow (15) and Ianos Volk (6)—needing a 5-1 of their own to ensure they were one of the seven finalists when they took to the track for the last time against Harringay in heat 18. Caversham went on to secure the third podium spot and qualification to the final for the first time since SL8 with a 5-1 over Sedgley in heat 20, the Sprites went into that race two points clear of the Swans and just needing the minor places to progress themselves. Buoyed by the success Long Eaton went on to record their first competitive seven-rider meeting win of SL14, their 52-38 league success over Hallamshire ending a run of four straight defeats that the Rifles had began the season with. And even Lucas was back in Smith’s good books, his number one scoring a healthy 11+1 in the victory, but will he be back in favour for the Pairs Final?

TODAY: Shorts

Belfast’s Jan Tomanek (12) and Stephan Beck (9) began the defence of their Club Pairs title with a less than convincing passage into next weeks final at Herne Bay. The Sinks were playing catch-up for most of the semi-final at Stourbridge after conceding a 5-1 against division two strugglers Buxton in heat five, the Irish side eventually crossing the finishing line with the minor places against Hallamshire (25) in the penultimate race of the qualifier. Hallamshire—who are looking to win the competition for a second time, 13 years after their first success—dominated the meeting to top the standings, with Julian Harrison and Kenn Balle combining for 5-1’s in four of their first five outings to the track. Buxton meanwhile added to their 5-1 over Belfast with late maximums over Balham and Chesterfield to progress as joint runners-up on the night alongside Belfast, with Stourbridge’s 19 point haul good enough to take them into the final for the third time in their history as the highest scoring fourth placed side over the two ties.

 

Defending champion Adam Carroll (8) needed a win in his final race of the semi-final at Shetland to make a return to the British Final. The heat 18 success over Dominic Pollard was his first victory of the night, with the three points seeing him creep into eighth spot in the final standings. The meeting was won by Bournville’s Russell Watts, the 30 year old—who claimed the title back in SL6—putting behind him his poor start to the season to qualify for the final for a ninth successive season in great style. Watts is averaging just 4.18 in the league for the Badgers this season. Only Shaun Talbot will have appeared in more British Finals that Watts after this year—11 to Watts’s nine—but he failed to make it 12 from 14 at Harringay in the second of the semi-finals, the 36 year old, who is without a club, scoring just five in the meeting. Stourbridge’s Harry Nicholls (13) topped the podium on the north London circuit after defeating Simon Snow in a race-off, Adam Lucas (11) finished third overall.

 

Sedgley began their bid to reach the Division One Cup semi-finals for a fourth time in five years with a draw at Houston. Last years runners-up though were unlucky not to come away with more than the one group point, with the hosts handing them a 5-0 and a two point lead in the contest in heat 14. The Colts however levelled things back-up with a Blake White (12+1) winning last heat 4-2. In the league the meeting at Caversham between the Swans and Bradford finished all square, a welcome away point going the way of the Speedsters—who lost their first two of the campaign—with the help of an 11+1 score from reserve Kevin Crawford.

 

Stirling end the first month leading division two after they were the only side in the whole country to record an away league victory in the latest two rounds of racing. Strong scoring from their top two of Aaron Campbell (18) and Erik Kann (13+4) taking them to that success at Solihull (42-48), where the visitors twice fell six adrift of their hosts. On both occasions Ross Purnell used a tactical substitute and on both the revised Campbell and Kann line-up scored a 5-1. The pairing went on to take their race maximum count on the night to four with further 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15.

 

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