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ALL KNIGHTS ON THE NIGHT

New Forest ten clear after beating rivals

New Forest made a perfect start to the second half of the season, beating both their nearest rivals in quick succession to go ten points clear at the top of division one. With 27 points each second placed Pennsylvania and Chalvington, in third, are now closer to the bottom of the standings than the top, neither look capable of preventing the Knights claiming a third straight title and what would be a fifth in eight years. Chalvington went into their top of the table clash with the chance to cut their deficit to the leaders to just four points, however the home side’s septet lacked the skill or sheer speed to compete with the visiting heat leaders, and after Stephen Charnock (12+1) and Ashley Arnold (5) put them in front with a 4-2 in heat four the Chiefs were playing catch-up for the rest of the meeting. Luck was also against Stuart Smith’s side once again, three falls from Daniel Wedin had cost them points at Smethwick in their previous meeting and the Swede’s services for their latest clash, against the Knights mechanical gremlins struck Tomasz Blasiak twice, in heat six where Charnock brought home a second successive 4-2, and then in heat 13, where after seemingly seeing off Charnock for second place his primary chain broke and the Knights were gifted a 5-1. They probably would have gone on to take the win anyway, however the gift was gratefully excepted by the Knights who went on to complete a 42-48 victory with a last heat 4-2. Next up for New Forest a visit to the Woodlands by Pennsylvania, who made a real fight of it until the final three heats, the Knights stepped up a gear in those, winning each 5-1 to claim a 12 point success over the Pirates.

TODAY: Shorts

Rugby end the week just a point above the top flight relegation zone after they were held to a home draw by Wordsley, and it could have been worse for the Gravediggers, a last heat 4-2 taking them to a share of the spoils after the Wizards had taken the lead for a third time in the meeting with a heat 14 5-1. The clash between hosts Smethwick and Colney Hatch also ended all square, the Meerkats—who started the week outside of the drop zone—slipping to the foot of the standings as a result, the Crusaders meanwhile climb out of the bottom three after picking up their fourth away point of the campaign, gained after they scored 5-1’s in heats 11, 12 and 15, Ivan Misencik winning two of the late maximums and taking second place behind Teddy Thylander (13+1) in the third.

 

Neither Netherton or Newport Pagnell took the size of home wins they required to deny Bridgwater second spot in Group B in the Division One Cup first round, meaning Steven Potter’s side were rewarded with a place in the semi finals of the competition at the first attempt. The Baboons lost their final qualifying meeting at Newport Pagnell, 49-41, a ten point win for the home side would have seen them progress, Netherton—who beat group winners Oxford, 47-43, required an 11 point win to progress. Glasshoughton lost at Plymouth in Group A but had already done enough to qualify for the last four, where they’ll face Bridgwater, while Birmingham go through to face Oxford despite losing their final qualifier at Durham, 54-36, the Saints falling just short of gaining a second bonus point that would have taken them through instead.

 

March sealed a place in the Division Three Cup semi finals after topping their qualification group with a 39-51 win at Kesgrave, the Manics scoring four 5-1’s and a 4-2 in the final five races to complete a remarkable 18 point turnaround in the meeting scores. Hans Berg (13+1) and Daniele Mosca (15+2)—the latter in the race as a tactical substitute—began the comeback with a heat 11 maximum, the same pair added further 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. SL17 and 19 winners Pagham await March in the last four, the second tie will see Reading take on Maldon.

 

This weeks World Championship meetings feature eight of the worlds top 12, and only one—Lee Alty, who finished ninth in last years GP series—failed to make it through to round three. World Number three Bryan Baah (14) won the second round qualifier in Colney Hatch, the Sedgemoor number one pipping World Champion Kristof Muller (13) by a point in racing to his 22nd career WSO event victory. It was career win number seven for Netherton world number five Sandro Jelic (14), who took top spot in the Lublin qualifier.

 

Sandro Jelic (13) was also in fine form as Netherton began the second of the of their division two campaign with a 43-47 win at Cambridge, the victory—in which Lee Wheeldon chipped in with 8+4 at reserve—ending a run of six without a league win for the Heathens. In division three there was a first away win of the campaign for bottom side Loughton, 43-47 victors at Kesgrave, a third for Pagham, who beat Hull by the same score, and a fifth for second placed Ashton, whose 42-48 win at Reading has taken them to within three points of leaders Maldon.

 

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