Wimbledon have what it takes for cup win
Wimbledon’sbid to become the first side from outside of division one to win the KO Cup in 11 years and only the third in history continues with the Werewolves reaching the last four of the competition. Garry Kelly—who began his loan spell at the club in the reserve berths at the start of the season—scored a career best 13+1 as Marc Labrum’s side overturned an eight point first leg deficit against Beverley on home shale, they falling 12 behind their third division opponents at one stage before fighting back with a run of four 5-1’s in eight races. There was a brace of maximums apiece in the sequence for Kelly alongside Miklos Buzas (7+2) plus the partnership at three and four, Rupert Zmolek (10+1) and Bolder Erland (8+2). Home number one Daniel Waller (13) also chipped in with four race wins for good measure, his fourth coming in a fifth 5-1 for the home side in heat 13, which all but completed their aggregate success. Erland’s second place finish in the penultimate race crossed the t’s and dotted i’s, Wimbledon advancing to their third semi-final in their history with a race to spare. If they win their last four tie with Stowmarket it will be a case of third time lucky as far as the Werewolves are concerned, the Witches reaching that stage of the competition for the 12th time in 16 years after completing the double over Verwood in the round three. In contrast Cradley Heath are there for the first time in their 13 year history after they also made it back-to-back wins in their ‘last-eight’ tie against Runcorn, the Cobras take on Leeds—runners-up in each of the last two seasons—in the semi-finals.
A first away win in nearly four months has revived the title bid of early season pace-setters Stowmarket. The 44-46 victory at Brickhill has taken them back to within two points of leaders Leeds, who they beat earlier in the week at home by four points. Against Leeds Paul Hope and teenager Harry Reid scored a 5-1 in heat one to take them in front in a fixture they would lead throughout in, it was a different story at the Tigers however, with Bill Jones’s side needing a last heat 5-1 to regain the advantage in the meeting, Hope (15) and Lasse Classen’s (12+2) maximum coming just in the nick of time. The defeat leaves Brickhill with just one win from the last nine in the league and sees them slip three points adrift of safety in eighth spot. Gorleston meanwhile are now five clear of the bottom three having been in the relegation zone for much of the campaign, their revival continuing with a 44-46 victory at Runcorn, where 21 year old second string Miko Leino (9) picked up three straight wins for the Ghosts, with the team bringing about a 12 point swing in the scores in the process. That process was completed by a last heat 5-1 from Tomasz Jozwiak (14) and Owen Mitchell (11+2). Runcorn’s disappointment was tempered somewhat by a later draw at Cradley Heath, a meeting in which 17 year old visiting reserve Kari Kinnunen shocked all with a paid 12 score in only his third meeting for the club, he had managed just one point in each of his two previous league appearances.
From winning the WU19 Final in SL19 Stig Martinson (13) earned at least one major individual victory a season for eight years in succession. No WSO wins in the last three years though for the Eastbourne number one, until now that is, the 27 year old taking the Czech GP victory in Prague this week after defeating Piotr Slusarski in a race-off. Opening round winner Nathan Kay (11) finished behind the two on the podium after defeating Daniel Wallar in a second extra race, Kay still leads the World Championship as a result, although his advantage at the head of the series has been cut to two points.
Wimbledon end the week in the division two promotion places for the first time since the opening two rounds of the season. A draw at Cork helping them improve two positions in the tightly fought race behind Wentworth, the vital away point gained in Ireland thanks to a last heat 5-1. At the other end of the table there was a second away win of the season for Swindon, although despite the 43-47 victory at Dudley they start the final third of the campaign eight points adrift of the Tigers and safety.
A league win double has taken Earley back to the top of the division three table. The Gravediggers fourth away win of the campaign was returned at Normanton, 44-46, where second string Brett Temple (9+1) matched his best score of the campaign. Temple beat home heat leader Aleksander Bjornstad in heat three and finished second to team mate Borut Pregelj (8+1) in a heat seven 5-1. Still Earley needed a last heat 4-2 to send the tight meeting their way.
It took Keswick eight attempts to reach their first Division Three Cup semi-final, and now they’re there they look like winning it. The Crusaders taking the first leg of their tie at Calderwood, 42-48.