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KICKED OUT

Lively Colts star as Belfast exit

New look Belfast were just not at the races as Houston progressed from their KO Cup semi-final tie with plenty in hand. The Sinks started well enough in their bid to overturn an easily manageable eight point first leg deficit on home shale, scoring three 4-2’s in the first six races. But it pretty much went downhill from there for the hosts as Miksa Mathe (6+1) and Vladislav Korent (2) failed to make the impact that fellow new addition Jan Tomanek (14+1) managed on his second appearance for the club, Mathe—who failed to win on any of his outings to the track—was beaten by visiting second string Adam Carroll (6+2) in a Colts 5-1 in heat seven and was on the circuit for two 4-2 reversals, while Korent finished last in four of his five appearances. Carroll was one of six different heat winners for Houston, whose third victory in as many semi-finals in the competition was confirmed when Blake White beat Stephan Beck (14) and Mathe to the race success in heat 13, Carrol’s fellow second string Ben Sheppard (5+1) and reserve Benjamin Nolan (7+1) also took the chequered flag in front in the meeting. George Seymout’s Houston will now take on holders Bradford as they bid to complete a record equalling third success in the competition, the second division Speedsters beating Sedgley 46-44 at Bodhall to reach the final once more and extend their winning KO Cup run to eight straight ties. Having won the first leg on the road it was a surprise to see Dave Robinson’s side requiring something from the final race to progress, Ross Nicholls (14) though calmly put it to bed by beating Beck Sundling (13+1) and Libor Kovac to the heat win, the Brits’ fourth of the meeting.

TODAY: Shorts

Belfast took the old adage of concentrating on the league after a cup exit to the max by winning their next meeting at Caversham. Probably not too big a shock considering the Swans had also lost their previous five top flight meetings, but it’s three points which sees Belfast end the week top of the table for the first time this season. Jan Tomanek (15) again showed why Paul Hunt was so keen to get hold of him, two excellent teenage prospects and £450,000 was a high price to pay but it looks as though he’s got a rider capable of being his top flight number one for the next decade, and beyond. The 20 year old Czech was untroubled in claiming his first full maximum of the league campaign, his fifth win of the contest helping secure the 4-2 and the Sinks sixth away win of the league season. Earlier they’d beaten Totton 55-34 at home, Sinks riders dominating their opposite numbers in the top of the table clash, racing to 12 heats wins to the Tigers combined three, Stephan Beck (14), Tomanek (13+1) and Mathe (10+1) dropping just a point apiece.

 

It’s just one defeat in ten in all competitions now for Houston who still haven’t given up on regaining the league title they won for a second time in SL10. A long shot given they are eight points off the pace with just six meetings to go, but a win at Hallamshire this week has given them hope ahead of the final run-in, youngsters at second string and reserve, Ben Sheppard (12+1) and Benjamin Nolan (10+1) top scoring for the Colts with season best scores in the impressive 40-50 victory. The defeat and later loss at ninth placed Buxton, 49-41, leaves Hallamshire just points difference clear of Long Eaton and the relegation zone, and it doesn’t get any easier for Matt Akers side, next up a visit from Totton.

 

A failure to win by 24 points or more in their next meeting against Birmingham will see Steeple become the first club to be relegated this season. The Stars find themselves 13 points adrift at the bottom of division two following a home defeat to Stirling, 41-49, Aaron Campbell (15) scoring his fifth full maximum of the current league campaign in the win, which takes the Seahawks within a point of the top three. Still leading the way in the division are Ringwood, although their advantage was cut to five points by second placed Alfreton who became the first side ever to win in the league at the Matchams Raceway this week. The Raiders 32 home meeting winning run came to an end with a last heat 4-2 from Kende Kantor (12) and Frantisek Adamcik (12), which earned the Archers a 43-47 success. Earlier Ringwood had won at Herne Bay 44-46, a result which leaves the Flyers five points adrift of safety in eighth spot.

 

Two more vital home points dropped for Shetland in their stalling promotion bid in division three. Ninth placed Wavedon earning a draw in the Scottish outpost this week in a meeting they had trailed 20-10 in, a last heat 5-1 from Matthew Gibbs (14+1) and Miroslav Pen (14) leaving the finals scores all square.

 

A maiden GP victory for Marek Wieczorek (12) in front over 18,000 at Totton this week. The Krakow and Poland rider winning the British round ahead of Belfast’s Stephan Beck (11), who now tops the World Championship standings by two points from Durko Karban (7).

 

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