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HAMMER BLOW

Derby suffer cup shocker

SL27 winners Derby have surprisingly been eliminated from the Division Two Cup at the first round stage following defeat to Beverley at the Sinfin Bowl. Three vital group points in the final qualifier were secured by the Hammers with a last heat 3-3, the minor places from Lasse Fredgaard (10) and Vladimir Pelcis (10+2) taking the visitors to a 44-46 victory, the hard chasing Edvar Pavlak (9+1) finding it impossible to break down the defence of the two Hammers heat leaders. After ten races Ian Adamson’s side looked dead and buried, they eight down at the time requiring a victory to progress to the knock out stages of this version of the competition for the first time in four attempts. That victory was achieved with the help of three successive 5-1’s, the charge to success began in heat 11 when tactical substitute Pelcis finished second to Marc Thompson, maximums from Pelcis and reserve Jamie Whittaker (7+2) and then Fredgaard alongside Thompson followed in quick succession. The unexpected victory promoted Beverley to Group B winners, they go into the latter stages of the competition full of confidence that they will add to their Division Three Cup triumph of last season, that trophy being their first in 20 years! Coventry held on to take second in the section despite losing out at Bradwell 52-38 in their final group meeting, the Bandits had needed to win by 20 to go through at the Bohemians expense. Coventry face group A winners Calderwood in the last four, with Huntingdon completing the semi-final line-up, they didn’t ride this week but qualified following Earley’s defeat at the Cougars.

 

Normanton emphatically beat Wolverhampton to claim the final qualification spot to the Division Three Cup semi-finals from Group B in the first round stage. Three wins from Toni Lauri (12+1) the highlight from their 54-36 success, which saw them finish as runners-up to competition rookies Hale in the section. Normanton face Greenhill in the last four, the Lurchers having topped their half of the draw from Mid Cams after beating the Harriers 51-39 at home. Despite that loss Emma-Louise Kean’s side line-up in the semi-finals against Hale, having finished second ahead of Margate in Group B on points difference.

 

Ten wins from ten now in the league for Leeds who have gone four points clear at the top of the Division One standings. Worryingly for the chasing pack their latest victory was retuned at then closest challengers Cradley Heath, the home side torn apart in the latter stages of the top of the table clash having gone 20-10 up at one stage and seen off the use of Daniel Lake as a tactical substitute. Leeds’ riders won nine of the ten races from heat six onwards, three 5-1’s and three 4-2’s doing the damage in that period, second string Oliver Steel (10+1) and Nathan Kay (8+1) combining for two of those maximums as the visitors eased through to a 42-48 victory. The defeat is Cradley’s first at home in the league in nearly two seasons and one which sees them slip to third in the standings. Elsewhere in the top flight a third straight league win at Brickhill for Coalville sees them consolidate their position in fourth, each of the visiting top five contributing at least one race win to the 41-49 success, with second string Jay Kelly (7+3) claiming his when beating home top scorer Hakon Sylte (10+1) to the line in heat 12, two races earlier Kelly had finished a close second to team mate Maurizio Giacomini (11) in the Kings only 5-1 of the contest. Brickhill end the week in the relegation zone as a result, they slipping behind Eastbourne, who moved out of the bottom three with the help of a draw at Runcorn, where Stig Martinson (17+1) completed his maximum when finishing second in a crucial Seagulls heat 15 5-1 behind Ronnell Hawtin (11+3).

 

It was a Stowmarket 1-2 when they hosted this season’s GP Play Off round. World number five Paul Hope topped the standings in the final GP series qualifier after four wins from five, his only dropped points coming against Witches team mate Lasse Classen (11) and Piotr Kubiczek (4) in heat five. Classen took the runners-up spot in the meeting after beating Kalle Lehtonen in a race off, a good omen perhaps, with the last two riders to finish second in the Play Off round going on to become World Champion. Nathan Kay (9) was the only one of the four Brits in action to qualify for the GP series, which gets underway with the first of eight rounds next week in Eastbourne.

 

Huntingdon’s five meeting unbeaten league run came to an abrupt end with a 56-34 loss at Coventry. The Hunters remain top of division two, but they are now only a point clear of the successful Bohemians in third spot, with the top eight in the standings—which include Bradwell in the drop zone—now separated by just seven points.

 

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