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CHOPPED DOWN

Knights struggle at Woodlands continues

If New Forest are to win a record equalling fourth division one title this season they will do so with the worse home record of any league champions, the Knights slumping to their third defeat at the Woodlands of their SL20 top flight campaign this week. Nine heat wins weren’t enough against Kent, who were never headed in winning the contest 44-46, John Shuttler’s side even forced into the use of a tactical substitute at one stage, Kristof Muller (11) joining the disappointing Simon Gough (3) for a 4-2 in heat 12. Gough finished with his worse figures since the opening month of SL20, he part of a bottom four who scored just 11 points between them in the meeting, the home side suffering as their opposite numbers tallied 16 combined. It was however Lee Alty (11+1) that saw Mike Pearce’s side through to their fourth away league success of the season and boosting their chances of European Cup racing next season, the 22 year old Brit holding off Muller to pick up second in heat 13, he defeated the same rider in the last heat decider after some great team riding alongside Chris McAlea (11). New Forest go into the final six meetings with a healthy three point advantage at the top of the standings courtesy of their performances on the road, away win number six of the campaign returned at third placed Pennsyvania after pegging back their hosts with a late counter-attack, four up after heat 11 the Pirates lost out 44-46 with the concession of heat 12, 13 and 15 4-2’s, Stephen Charnock (15) the man at the centre of the assault, he winning the latter two to complete a maximum, home number one Kevin Dobinson (12) beaten on both occasions by his World Championship rival.

TODAY: Shorts

Roy Frain was in untouchable form for Rugby, but his 18 point maximum wasn’t enough to prevent his side exiting from the KO Cup semi finals on their first appearance at this stage of the competition in their 20 year history, the Gravediggers eliminated by three-times winners Sedgemoor, who dominated the early stages of the second leg at the Fugiendo Vincimus. Just seven up from the first leg the Rebels went into the return as slight underdogs, their advantage however had grown to 15 by heat seven, reserve Chris Nicoli (7+1) winning the first of two 5-1’s in heat two, Rafal Pawlak (6+1) won the second after Lev Bilokapic (7+2) failed to finish for the hosts. Sedgemoor had too much class to lose it from there, the tie wrapped up with Bryan Baah’s (13) third success of the night in heat 13. Sedgemoor will take on Pennsylvania for the silverware, the SL18 winners untroubled this week at Glasshougton as they went through by eight on aggregate.

 

Glasshoughton’s elimination from the KO Cup has opened up a four-way fight for the final European Cup spot for next season, with Chalvington the form side amongst that quartet. They’ve lost just one of the last eight in the league, and only three of the last 15, their latest result a 44-46 victory at Colney Hatch, in which they recovered from the concession of heat one and three 5-1’s to win the meeting by two. The change in the averages though could curtail their hopes, Michael Milosevic (8+1)—who raced to two wins at the Crusaders—set to miss the rest of the season as Stuart Smith is forced to reshuffle his pack for the run-in.

 

Bryan Baah (11) was denied a third British GP title after a cruel piece of luck in heat 18 of this years renewal on his home Sedgemoor circuit, on for the race win which would have secured a race-off place at least for the title, the Brit hit a patch of dirt entering the third bend of the final lap which sent him straight on into the fence, Marcel Strba (11) gifted the win as a result. With Stephen Charnock (12) finishing second behind Strba in that, Rafal Robakiewicz now had a free run at the GP win, the Pennsylvania rider took his chance in the last, picking up the two points he required for victory. Charnock finished as runner-up on the night, with Strba going on to defeat Baah in a race-off for third. Kristoff Muller still leads the field in the World Championship despite scoring just nine in the British round, his advantage now two points, with Chanock and Baah moving up to equal second overall.

 

Defeat at Kent, 59-31, saw last years Division Two Champions Durham become the first side to be relegated from the top flight this season. Smethwick are short odds-on shots to take this years second tier title, with a 38-51 win at Maldon this week helping extend their lead over Wordsley to nine points, the Wizards losing ground after their five meeting winning run came to an end at March. Whitemoor boosted their chances of a top three finish by beating Furness, 41-49, the relegated side currently on a losing run of 14.

 

In division three Steven Potter’s Bridgwater extended their unbeaten run to nine with the help of a 44-46 victory at Birmingham, Mikhail Miloserdov (16)—on loan from Rugby—following up a heat 13 win in a 5-1 alongside Arsen Zharkov (12+1) with another in a crucial last race 4-2 to secure the points for the Baboons, in a meeting they had trailed in by eight. A later victory over Crowborough, 54-36, ensured promotion for the side with six meetings to spare! Oxford are all but certain to follow the Baboons up, they require just one more win in their maiden league season to be sure of a top three finish after they followed up back-to-back defeats last week with back-to-back wins this, including a club record 36-54 away success at Loughton. Meanwhile Birmingham end the week a season high third after defeating Pagham 38-52 on the road as the Raccoons slide continued, the early season leaders now without a win in 11.

 

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