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TWO-MENDOUS

Knights fight back to deny Ashton

Newport Pagnell are into the KO Cup semi-finals for the first time after recovering from six points down to progress on away shale. For all the world it looked like division three minnows Ashton were set to claim their third top flight scalp in this season’s competition, with the Rangers cruising into a 37-23 lead in the second leg meeting, having scored three 5-1’s and two 4-2’s in the opening ten races. With three Newport Pagnell tactical substitutes already seen off with no damage done, Rangers boss Ian Adamson would have been hopeful his side could finish the job in the closing stages, however in the end it was his counterpart in the visiting pits—Glenn Ford—who was left celebrating. The comeback began in earnest when tactical substitute number four, Adam Schofield (15), won heat 11 ahead of his team mate Martin Skoog (15+1). Two races later Skoog was back on the track to earn another Knights 5-1, this time alongside Ivan Misencik (7+1). Schofield ensured the aggregate scores would be tied heading into the last when racing to his fourth victory of the meeting in heat 14, the 21 year old then picked up a decisive third place in the finale, Skoog the win, Newport Pagnell victors by two. Two points was also the margin of success in the tie at Rugby, against the lower division hosts losing out, with a heat 15 second from Ladislav Klasinc (13+1) enough to see last years runners-up Oxford return to the semi-finals. Whitemoor meanwhile reached the last four with a more comprehensive success, their six point first leg deficit against Cambridge gone by the end of heat two of their home meeting, with a run of four 5-1’s in seven races securing their passage by heat 11.

TODAY: Shorts

New Forest’s hopes of a first league and KO Cup double are over for another year after they lost at Bridgwater 49-41 this week. Trailing by just four from the first leg the Baboons took the lead in the tie with a heat six 5-1 from Austrian duo Bernd Hoover (12) and Ilco Widisch (6+3), they would remain in front for the remainder of the tie, with a third 5-1 on the night in heat 12, won by trump card at reserve Tyler Naylor (9+2), keeping the Knights at bay. A second win in the meeting from Hoover in the last sealed Bridgwater’s place in the semi finals for the second successive season, with Kristof Muller (17) defeated for the first time in the clash.

 

A second away win in three has helped Kent close to within three points of leaders Pennsylvania in the division one standings. It came on a circuit where they’ve enjoyed success before, Sandy Lane, the Spitfires having won twice there when Oxford were last in the top flight two years ago. 5-1’s from Marcus Rottensteiner (14+2) and Lee Alty (12+1) were crucial to the final 43-47 success, with the same pairing also picking up the decisive minor places in heat 15. A second top flight relegation in three years now seems more likely than not for Oxford, with the defeat leaving them eight points adrift of safety.

 

Success for both of last years top two in this weeks World Championship rounds with Andy James (12) winning in Krakow and Bryan Baah in New Forest. The British pair topped their respective third round meetings in qualifying for the GP series once again, Glasshoughton’s James doing so for a tenth time. In reaching double figures he moves just one season shy of matching Jozsef Tolcseres record of 11 appearances, while his 18th meeting success sees him move into second behind Tolcseres (22) on that count. James headed an English 1-2 with Terry Duffield (11) in Krakow, while fellow Brits Dominic Little (11), Adam Schofield (10) and Lee Cooper (8) all made it through in the tie won by Sedgemoor’s Baah (13).

 

Wins over Didsbury and leaders Rugby (47-43) means Colney Hatch are looking up this week rather than down in division two. The Crusaders started the week just a place above the drop zone, they end it just a point off the promotion places, largely thanks to the continuing presence of 18 year old Filip Sarka (10+2) in the team. The WU19 Champion and one of the favourites for next weeks WU21 title raced to two wins from second string as the Crusaders recovered from six down to win at the Vaqueros, the Slovakian impressed again against the Gravediggers, with his paid 11 including a point for a meeting clinching third ahead of Eugeny Osinov in heat 15. Didsbury recovered from what was their fourth home defeat of the campaign to inflict March’s first at home in nearly a year, Jamie Girling top scoring on the Fens with 12+1. Meanwhile Maldon extended their unbeaten run to five in the league with a draw at Durham, they end the week in a season high second but with a negative points difference.

 

Half-time leaders Ebbsfleet are now without a win in six since the turn of the season. The Eagles lost at home to Smethwick 43-47 this week and end the period just two points ahead of the Meerkats, who are up to third.

 

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