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DRAW-ING BLOOD

Crusaders complete shock success

Colney Hatch survived a nervy final three heats to their second round tie to complete the shock result of this years KO Cup. They go through to the quarter finals at the expense of current top flight leaders and three-times defending league champions New Forest, the second tier Crusaders holding their more illustrious opponents to a draw at the Friern Leisure Park this week to complete a two point aggregate victory. Close at the end, but the first half of the return leg belonged to the hosts, Colney Hatch extending their advantage—two points at the start of the meeting—into double digits with five heat wins in the first seven, the excellent John Flitton (13) and Ivan Misencik (8) both recording a brace of victories in the sequence which saw all three visiting heat leaders beaten at least once. In Stephen Charnock’s (10+1) case the race loss count stood at three by the mid-point of the meeting, most disappointing his last place finish in heat five when in as a tactical substitute. John Shuttler’s change in heat eight worked better, Dominic Little coming in to win that ahead of team mate Ashley Arnold in a 5-1, however Flitton beat Little two races later as the Crusaders picked up another crucial heat advantage, they would lead by eight overall going into the final five races. The first two of those ended 3-3, the next two 4-2 in favour of the Knights, which left them needing a 5-1 in the last to level the aggregate scores. Flitton though would claim the biggest of his scalps of the night in the decider, settling for defending his second place earned from the gate against Muller rather than chasing down Charnock, a job he completed to perfection and to the delight of the home fans.

TODAY: Shorts

One KO Cup shock became two as twice-winners in the last six years Sedgemoor were beaten at home by division two leaders Rugby. A six ride maximum from Mikhail Miloserdov (16+2) the highlight for the visitors who fought back from six down on the night to win the second leg 42-48, Miloserdov and Kevin Dobinson (13) scoring heat nine and 15 5-1’s as the Gravediggers completed a well deserved 12 point aggregate victory. Rugby will face holders Smethwick in the last eight, the Meerkats making hard work of dispatching Claygate, a side who’ve been past this stage of the competition just twice in their 17 year history. A last heat Mathew Elliott (14) eventually took Smethwick over the line, they repeating their 46-44 first leg victory on home shale this week. At 91-89 the final scores were even closer at Pencoed, however the Welsh side—who’d won at fellow third division side Cradley in leg one—had secured their spot in round three by the end of heat 14, which was won by top scorer Mart Lemsalu (11).

 

An interesting week on and off the track for Glasshoughton with some mixed results and a rash of transfer dealings which has left them with an impressive looking all British top-three. Mike Conlon (on loan) and Lee Cooper have joined the Gazelles, the latter valued at a world record £1.25million following his switch from Newport Pagnell. In the opposite direction goes Lee Walsh (9+2) who managed just two race wins in his final meeting for the club as they were beaten at home by leaders New Forest, 44-46, he finishing last in a heat 15 decider behind Stephen Charnock (12) and Kristof Muller (10+2), who confirmed a club record 11th straight league win for the Knights. Earlier in the week the Gazelles had beaten injury hit Chalvington 42-48 on their travels, Walsh (12) unbeaten this time but for a heat 13 exclusion. The Chiefs bounced back from that defeat to pick up only their second away point of the campaign, their meeting at Smethwick ending all square following a last heat visitors 4-2 won by Mark Lyons (12+1), the result leaves the Meerkats without a win in four in the league.

 

Marcus Rottensteiner (16+2) and Lee Alty (14+1) combined for heat 11, 13 and 15 5-1’s as Kent dominated the heat win stats to win at Oxford 44-46. Lee Alty’s fourth victory of the night in the last heat decider was the Spitfires 11th and saw the them claim their second away win of the season, one which sees them end the first half of the campaign secure in fourth spot. Oxford remain eighth, two points clear of Bridgwater, who lost their latest home fixture 43-47 to Pennsylvania.

 

Rugby reached the halfway stage of the season four points clear at the top of division two after recording back to back away league wins for the first time in over three years. Following last weeks win at Claygate they beat another promotion contender Cambridge on the road, 44-46, teenage reserve Thomas Moody picking up a brace of heat wins in scoring a season best paid nine. The Cougars bounced back to earn a draw at Ashton, but slip to fourth in the week, Claygate recovering from their own home defeat to the Gravediggers to move back into the promotion places with a 43-45 win at Grennsforge, where second string Marco Bonertz (7+2) was amongst the heat winners.

 

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