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MAXED OUT

Crusaders cup hopes crushed

New Forest have won the Division One Cup for a record equalling fifth time following a convincing ten point aggregate win over Colney Hatch in this years final. The Knights had lost their previous five cup meetings against their final opponents, a run which included a four point first leg loss in the tie earlier in the month, a deficit they would soon make up in the return. Kristof Muller (11+1) got the ball rolling with victory over Michael Crosswell (5+1) in the opener, a race the excellent Kostas Holub (8+1) turned into a 4-2 advantage for the hosts when claiming third on the line with a last gasp pass on Mikkel Wurtz. Even better in heat two, with reserves Kieron Godfrey and Martin Clarke (7+2) taking a 5-1 against their opposite numbers to earn their side the aggregate lead. The visitors were back level by the end of heat five, in which a 4-2 was gifted to them by a untimely last lap retirement of race leader Dominic Little (5+1). That was as a good as it got through for the Crusaders—who were looking for their first success in the competition since SL2—with Muller and Holub scoring the hosts second maximum in heat six. It was the second of a total of five 5-1’s for New Forest, three of which came in the closing five heats as their dominance at heat leader came to the fore. Stephen Charnock (14+1) was involved in all three, he winning the first ahead of Clarke, who took a brilliant second ahead of tactical substitute Filip Sarka and fellow visiting heat leader Crosswell. The final two came from the usual suspects, Muller sharing the plaudits with the unbeaten Charnock, as the near decade long partnership at the head of the Knights team secured yet another piece of silverware.

TODAY: Shorts

Just two points from a possible six for leaders Rugby this week but their main rivals failed to take advantage. Second placed New Forest cut their deficit to the Gravediggers to three, but lost out to Newport Pagnell on the bonus in their televised 51-39 defeat at the Knights, the third placed side themselves having earlier failed to pick up any points at Whitemoor. It was a good week for the Witches, who end the week fifth, seven points off the pace. They followed up that home win over Glenn Ford’s side with a stunning 40-50 victory at Pennsylvania. Their second success at the Devon circuit in as many years was secured with a full three races to spare when Vald Levitsky (12+1) completed his third success of the night in heat 12, two races earlier Levitsky had finished second to Terry Duffield (8) in the third of a run of three 5-1’s for the visitors which had turned a two point deficit in the meeting into a ten point lead. The victory was made the more remarkable by the fact that Pennsylvania themselves had just come off the back of their biggest away win in over a year, the Pirates demolishing Bridgwater by the same 40-50 score-line with the help of a fifth maximum of the campaign from Kevin Dobinson (15). That could have ended Bridgwater’s hopes of a late bid for the title, but they remain in the race—five points off top spot—after bouncing back from that loss to win at Glasshougton, 43-47, reserve Jacob Rogers scoring a season best of 12+1 for the visitors in that one.

 

Smethwick needed a blistering start to the second leg of their Division Two Cup final if they were to deny Sedgemoor a first success in the competition. They didn’t get it, Rebels riders winning six of the first eight heats in defence of their 30 point lead built up in the first leg of the tie, with the aggregate win assured as early as the end of heat ten. The week ended with more celebrations for Nick Howard and is side, with promotion secured back into division one at the first attempt with their later 59-31 home win over Didsbury Village. Oxford have done likewise, again with four meetings to spare, the second tier leaders actually extending their advantage at the top over second placed Sedgemoor with home and away wins, the latter a 42-48 win at Disbury in which second string Radoslav Brusko (7) was one of five visiting riders to record race wins.

 

Rackenford dominated their home second leg of their Division Three Cup tie with Bolsover to win the final by 28 points on aggregate. Second string Todd Howarth (10+2) scored a maximum and was one of five riders to be paid for double figure tallies as the Raiders pulled off their second biggest win in the club’s history (61-29), doing so by scoring six 5-1’s, three of which were won by Dan Pedersen (10). The success was the first in any competition for Scott Lambell’s side since they won the league and KO Cup double back in SL1.

 

Bridgwater’s Bernd Hoover (13) moved a step closer to becoming World Champion with a fourth win from six in this years GP series. The 22 year old topped the standings in Denmark after a race-off win over world number two, Martin Lovett. Over in Linz Zygmunt Kowalski scored a 15 point maximum to become the first Pole in 13 years to win the WU19 title, the 18 year old is currently on loan at Ashton from Colney Hatch.

 

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