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SHORT CHANGED

Sedgemoor fans hope for more

Their club may have won seven trophies in the last five years but without a league title since SL13 it’s a run tinged with disappointment for Sedgemoor fans. New Forest first equalled and then surpassed the Rebels record of four division one championships, Nick Howard’s side pushed aside from the limelight by the Knights despite winning the European Cup three times in five years. Howard though now believes he has the makings of a side to challenge New Forest for the title, and it’s the emergence of Harry Short and Magnar Kozlowski that has changed the mindset at Holford Park. Short in particular has come to the fore in SL22, the potential was always there—he has finished runner-up in three British youth semi finals—but this year he’s shown he can string consistently high scores together at the top level. Three times he’s hit double figures in league meetings this season, including a career best 14+2 in the club’s home 50-40 win over New Forest this week, a meeting which had a real feeling of a changing of the guard feel about it. A strong team performance saw the home side dominate the defending champions who were forced into using three tactical substitutes just to keep the score respectable, Short one of five different heat winners for the hosts. Later in the week Sedgemoor broke their away duck for the season, beating Wordsley 41-49 on the road despite a relative off-night for Short, the 19 year old scoring just five from his six outings to the track. Fellow reserve Magnar Kozlowski (7+1)—signed for £125,000 last season—was there to pick up the slack however, and it was the 17 years old Pole’s victory in a heat 14 5-1 which sealed the Rebels both league points.

TODAY: Shorts

Keen to keep his title chasing squad on it’s toes Sedgemoor boss Nick Howard was amongst the big spenders once again as the SL22 in-season transfer market opened up this week. A veteran of ten GP’s 34 year old Janek Oun has made the move to Sedgemoor after finding himself without a club at the start of the season, the man released by Maldon joins for a signing on fee of £255,000. Title rivals New Forest responded by adding Hungarian Zsolt Gaspar to their squad at a cost of £165,000, the two-time WU21 finalist has never previously ridden in the British League. There were six figure additions for both Chalvington and Netherton, who signed up Radoslav Brusko and Stig Even Storli respectively.

 

League leaders Pennsyalvania have become the first club to qualify for this years Division One Cup semi finals after completing the first round group stage with a 100% winning record. Their fourth win of the first round was a 57-33 home success over Chalvington, who themselves could should still qualify if they beat Bridgwater at home in their final group meeting next month. It’s the first time the Pirates—whose only win in the competition was a decade ago—have reached the knock out stage of the Division One Cup in four years.

 

A bad opening to the World Championship for the British boys with Andy James not even getting to the start line in Pori and Bryan Baah’s (6) challenge coming to a premature end on the Finnish circuit. Injury had ruled out James from the meeting and a shot at a record extending ninth GP successive series appearance, world number four Baah—whose ridden in the previous five GP series—meanwhile made a first round exit after ending his night with a last place finish in heat 17 having needed to finish in the top two in the race to go through. Netherton’s Sandro Jelic (14) won the meeting from Dmitry Selezov (12). Another SL22 GP casualty in Warsaw, where Lars Braathen (7) failed to make the cut in a meeting won by Karel Vlasak (11), a rider released by Plymouth in pre-season after becoming Czech Champion for a third time.

 

Colney Hatch equalled their biggest away win in nine years to move a point clear of at the top of the division two standings. The Crusaders led from heat two onwards at Maldon in earning the 38-52 success, the rout completed with the help of four visiting 5-1’s, two of which involved reserve Kobina Collins (8+2). Rugby drop to third after they were held to a draw at Greensforge, Claygate climbing to second in the table with an impressive 41-49 victory at Netherton. The Riders’ first away league win in over a year was returned despite the Heathens racing to 50% more heat wins than the visitors, whose success was built on the 5-1’s scored in heats two and 14, both of which involved reserve Allan Leaver (8+2).

 

A double bonus point claiming home success over Ashton has taken Newport Pagnell through to the semi finals of the Division Two Cup with a group meeting to spare. In beating the Rangers by a club record 63-27 the Knights set up a last four clash with either Colney Hath or Claygate who both also qualified this week thanks to home wins. In the Division Three Cup Cradley beat Loughton 49-41 to seal their spot in the knock out stages.

 

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