COLTS AIM TO RETURN TO WINNERS ENCLOSURE
No domestic quintuple in SL11 for Houston but they are still in with a shout of retaining three of the five trophies they won last year. The first being the Division One Cup, the final of which they reached with a dramatic last gasp victory over Sedgley, the Colts winning their last four tie by two after scoring 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15 of their home second leg this week. The unbeaten Ludoslaw Jaworski (14+1) and his partner at heat leader Blake White (13+1) scored the crucial maximums, they beating top flight ten point man Beck Sundling (8) to record the first, with Libor Kovac (10+1) and Shaun Talbot (9+1) beaten in the decider as the Sprites hopes of reaching the final of the competition for the first time quickly fizzed out. Houston’s opponents for the silverware decider will be first-time finalists Heath, who may have impressed in beating Cranford home and away in their last four tie, but will start as big outsiders when they take on the holders next month. Underdogs they may be but they have yet to be beaten in the competition in SL11, the Spitfires following up their impressive eight point win at Cranford with a 47-43 second leg victory at home, again Olcay Fugleberg (15) unbeaten for Tim Foster’s side, while Timothy Bluestone (11) and Daniel Williams (10+1) also dominated from the heat leaders positions. Heath’s top three won’t have it so easy against Houston however, with Jaworski et el a different prospect all together than the Cranford septet which between them managed just four race wins at the Cradley Bowl, winless heat leader Ormos Adami (4+3) especially disappointing for the visitors who were eliminated by the end of heat 13.
Britain's run of success in the WU21 championship came to an end in Oslo this week, although Scott Read (12) had a real go at extending the home nation’s sequence of victories in the final to five, the Bradford man falling short after losing out in a deciding race-off. Read finished last in his opening heat of the meeting but four straight wins took him into the extra race, but a fifth victory in a row was beyond the BU21 Champion, who lost out to fellow semi final winner Stephan Beck, the German and Belfast man—third in last years final—beating Read into second, teen Hungarian Uzor Rosko finished third.
Caversham overturned a six point first leg defeat to Bradford and reach the final of the Division Two Cup for the second time. Bradford won the second of their two Division Two Cups when beating the Swans in the SL7 final, but there was no repeat of that success when the two met this week, the home side seeing off the Speedsters by four on aggregate with a run of three 5-1’s in the space of six heats coming prior to a last race 4-2. Ana Naumshek (14) won the decider for the hosts who were without injured heat leader Harrison Parker, Rimkus Marek (6+1) stepped up to replace the missing New Zealander and won heat eight as well as finishing second to Knute Vik (10) in one of the late maximums, the other two saw Stuart Stokes (7+1) pick up a paid win behind Naumshek and a victory ahead of reserve Adrian Dennis (6+2). Divisional leaders Long Eaton completed a 12 point aggregate win in the second of the semi finals over Buxton with a 50-40 home success, like Caversham the Rifles are looking to lift the trophy for the first time.
A run of eight unbeaten has taken Birmingham back into the promotion places in division three for the first time in over four months. The recent change in averages fell kind enough to allow Risto Pelto to keep his place in the Blaze side, the SL10 World Under 21 finalist dropping to reserve in a team that kept under the limit by just 0.02 points. And the move certainly benefited Alistair Carroll’s newcomers, Pelto paid for 13 as they won at Shetland 44-46, a score he repeated in Birmingham’s later home 63-27 demolition of the league’s bottom side, Harringay, the result smashing the club’s best ever win. Shetland slip below Birmingham in the standings and end the week outside of the promotion places, they did however pick up an away point themselves at Ernsford, the early season leaders now without a win in five following the Ponies trip to Princethrope Way, which ended in a draw. It did so despite 56ers second string Christopher Young scoring 11, his third race win of the night coming in a last heat 4-2. Mansfield’s latest away meeting also ended in a draw, with the leaders taking a point at Leyton after overturning a six point deficit in the closing five races, Leyton had earlier won at Stepps 43-46 despite suffering a 5-0 reversal in heat eight when both Cory Kooker and Harrison Elliott failed to finish the race.
Big home second leg wins for both Mansfield and Wavendon earned the two clubs comfortable aggregate victories in their Division Three Cup semi finals. Mansfield through to their first ever final in any competition after beating holders Ernsford 53-37 on the night, SL3 and 5 winners Wavendon meanwhile—who breezed past Ringwood—are looking to lift the trophy for a third time.