Regent Edition - ENHANCED
ALL RIGHT ON THE ‘KNIGHT’
New Forest take title after Pirates loss
New Forest have become the first club to win four successive league titles despite dropping final day points at Glasshoughton. John Shuttlers’ Knights finished the season two points clear of Pennsylvania in the standings, their narrowest margin of victory since they recorded the first of a record six championship wins by points difference back in SL14. Points difference wouldn’t do it this year, many of their meeting successes have been in single digits, with plenty going down to the final race, which has been a big factor in them finishing the year with just 13 bonus points. Only themselves in SL14 have won fewer and taken the title. In Stephen Charnock (13), Kristof Muller (12+2) and Dominic Little (10) they have three riders that on any one day are more than capable of pulling of a late victory, especially at their Woodlands home, where the Knights have just completed a second league season with a perfect winning record. Their 18th victory of 18 meetings in the campaign came in the penultimate round against Sedgemoor, 46-44, and true to form it was completed in heat 15, Charnock and Muller picking up the minor places in the decider having gained a 5-1 two races earlier. New Forest had trailed the visitors for the vast majority of the clash. That result took the Knights onto 68 points, they wouldn’t add to the tally, but a 47-43 defeat at Glasshougton would also not prove costly as Pennsylvania’s recent struggles on the road continued in their final day clash at Bridgwater. A 5-1 from their hosts ending the Pirates ambitions as early as heat 12, and it didn’t take long for the news to filter through to the Knights fans at Broomhill, whose celebrations began in earnest.
Rugby have become only the second side from outside of the top flight to win the KO Cup in the competition’s 22 year history. They did so by beating fellow first time finalists Kent 92-88 over the two legs, the Gravediggers winning their home meeting this week by six having looked like they would complete a more comfortable victory with two races to go. A 5-1 in heat 13 from Kevin Dobinson (12) and Mikhail Miloserdov (10+1) taking them to within striking distance of the trophy, however just as was the case when scoring their previous maximum the visitors hit straight back with one of their own, the Gravediggers back up riders unable to finish the job off in heat 14 as Markus Stressl claimed a crucial second behind tactical substitute Lee Alty. That meant Dobinson had to return in the last to complete victory for Rugby, and he wasn’t about to let his promoter David Graigner or the home fans down, even time for wheelies as he crossed the line in front. As a result Rugby finish as the only side to win two competitions in the SL22 season—the KO and Division Two Cup—remarkably the other eight are shared between eight different clubs!
Amongst the tally of nine different competition winners in SL22 are Colney Hatch who denied Rugby the second tier double by finishing the season with back to back wins. Bill Jones’s Crusaders back above their rivals in the standings with a penultimate round win at Netherton, 44-46, second place in the final heat for the previously unbeaten John Flitton (14) enough to seal them a seventh away win of the campaign. The north London side went on to beat Maldon 51-39 at home. So both Colney Hatch and Rugby return to the top flight after just one year away, for Newport Pagnell it’s division one racing for the first time in their history after they clinched third spot ahead of Cambridge by a point following a final day win over Birmingham. Earlier in the week Glenn Ford’s side secured a crucial three league points at Maldon, 44-46, thanks to strong performances from both Martin Skoog (12+1) and Lee Walsh (12).
Durham have taken the final promotion place in division three despite a final day defeat at Kesgrave. The 48-42 loss to the Kestrels—who as a result moved off the bottom of the table—could have proved costly if March had taken something from their meeting at divisional champions Whitemoor, however the Manics couldn’t beat the odds despite taking that meeting down to the wire, losing out on the possibility of a draw and promotion after the hosts’ Michael Miloservic won the last.
It looked a formality and so it proved to be for Bengt Karim (14) who has won the SL22 World Championship and has done so in style. A record 16 point margin of success over out-going champ Kevin Dobinson for the 30 year old Plock and Sweden star, who made it three wins out of three in the series in the final round in Warsaw.
Also as easy as you like for England who have made it nine International League titles in a row following a 56-34 victory over Russia at Newport Pagnell. Reserve Mathew Elliott impressed with paid 14 for the Lions as they made it five wins out of five in this years competition.
Colney Hatch topped the final Junior League standings from Kent after their rivals failed to win either of their remaining fixtures in the competition this week. Chalvington had already retained their YDL title.
Bridgater’s final day win over Pennsylvania for ensured there could be no last gasp survival for Oxford. After successive promotions from the lower leagues, division one proving a step too far for the Silver Machine in what was just their third season in the sport. They are relegated alongside Smethwick and Wordsley. As expected both Greensforge and Maldon have been relegated from division two.