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PLUNDERED

Pirates come up short in cup

Pennsylavania’s bid to win a first Division One Cup title in a decade has ended with a home draw in the second leg of their semi final with Glasshoughton. 12 down from the opener the Pirates had made substantial inroads into their deficit by the halfway stage of the return, they eight up on the night by the end of heat eight. However the Gazelles finished the stronger, with Mike Conlon (13+2) and Andy James (13+1) bookending the closing seven race spell with 5-1’s, the latter superfluous to requirements as regards the aggregate result, a second place from reserve Chris Nicoli (6) confirming the visitors place in the final with a second place finish in the penultimate race. Having reached the final Glasshoughton will now be looking to become the first side to lift the trophy having won the second tier version of the competition in the previous season, victory would also see them match New Forest’s four successes in the Division One Cup. And it’s New Forest that stand in their way of doing just that, the Knights firmly gunning for win number five in the competition—which would match Sedgemoor’s record—after breezing by Chalvington in the semi finals with a 55-35 second leg win. The Knights scored four 5-1’s on their way to the victory which completed a 36 point aggregate success over their Chiefs, five point second string Ashley Arnold (6+1) involved in two of the maximums, the other two scored by Kristof Muller (14+1) and Stephen Charnock (11+1). With Dominic Little (12) winning all four of his races and 21 year old Simon Brooks (9+1) again impressing at reserve it’s certainly New Forest that will start the final as favourites following this weeks showings.

TODAY: Shorts

A last heat 5-1 at Colney Hatch from Mikhail Miloserdov (16+2) and Kevin Dobinson (14+1) sent Rugby into the final of the Division Two Cup for the third time in their history. The battle of the top two in the second tier went the way of the Gravediggers 89-91 on aggregate, with David Grainger’s side—who are also in the last four of the KO Cup—recording their first meeting win over the Crusaders in four attempts following last weeks draw on home shale. The heat 15 maximum was one of four scored by Rugby in the final ten races at the Friern Leisure Park, Miloserdov and Dobinson joining forces for two of the others having respectively come into heat six and 11 as tactical substitutes. Rugby are still looking to claim their first success in any version of the competition, if SL22 is to be their year they’ll need to beat first time finalists Newport Pagnell, the Knights qualifying for the trophy decider with back-to-back last four wins over Claygate.

 

A single point separated Plymouth and the defeated Durham in the last four of the Division Three Cup, however the Pirates had secured their place in final with a race to spare on their trip to the Saints this week, a heat 14 second place from Iain Sanders (7) ending the hosts hopes. Nick Matthews’s side will take on twice winners Pagham for the silverware.

 

Out going champion Rhys Pugh—an unneeded reserve—had to sit and watch as his British rival Oliver Hensley (12) landed the SL22 WU21 title in Oslo this week. A solid performance from the Chalvington teenager was enough to see off Per Dalberg (2nd) and Daniel Wedin (3rd), who fought out a race-off for the minor podium places have both finished the meeting two adrift of Hensley on ten points, Dalberg missing the opportunity to match the winners tally when finishing down in third in heat 20. Hensley raced to just two wins in his five races, but those in addition to three second places was enough to take him to his first major age group title on the world stage, he finished second to Adam Schofield—who scored just seven in Oslo this week—in the WU19 final in SL21.

 

New Forest will need to gain a positive result in Prague next week if they are to prevent the Czech side ending a run of three British successes in the European Cup. The first leg of the final in the competition ended all square at the Woodlands, and that only after the Knights scored a last heat 5-1.

 

Smethwick began the final third of SL22 with a home defeat which has left them just a point off the drop zone in division one. Kent the victors at London Road, 42-48, thanks to 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15 from Lee Alty (13+1) and Marcus Rottensteiner (13+1).

 

44-46 wins on the road for both Colney Hatch and Rugby have taken the top two in division two further clear at the head of the standings. The Crusaders still lead the way by two points following their success at Greensforge, who have now won just one of the last seven in the league. Newport Pagnell meanwhile continued their good run with a 42-48 win at Birmingham, a result which takes them to within two points of the top three, Birmingham had earlier beaten Ashton on the road, 43-47.

 

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