Werewolves chase down Leeds
A third win of the season at Gorleston and their fourth in their last five in the league there has seen Wimbledon cut their deficit at the top of the table to a point. Leeds will be feeling the pressure as the Werewolves got the second half of the season underway with another impressive victory at the Stadium of Shadows, 38-52 the final score in their favour as points flowed freely throughout the team. All seven of the visitors raced to either wins or paid wins in a meeting they led in from a heat two 5-1, the strong start given to them by the young reserve pairing of Taylor Hall (6+1) and Scot Lee (5+1) built on when Gleb Borin (7+1) and Ryan Murphy (6+3) both beat Ghosts heat leader Owen Mitchell and his team mate in heat five, from which point Wimbledon coasted to victory, their fifth from ten away top flight meetings this season. A run of three 4-2’s in five races ensured the league points were secured by the end of heat 13, Daniel Wallar (15) winning the decisive race on the way to recording his third maximum of the campaign. Unbeaten in five Wimbledon end the week just a point off Leeds, whose six meeting unbeaten run ended with a 48-42 defeat at Verwood, a meeting in which their bottom four riders in the team scored just eight points between them. Elsewhere there was a first home defeat of the campaign for Iwade, free scoring Jonathan Kirk a big loss for them as the Colts made an enforced change at reserve due to the new averages, Coalville number seven Jay Kelly scoring 8+1 from four as the Kings ran out 44-46 winners at Old Gun Road.
SL24 and 25 winners Linlithgow qualified for their seventh successive Division Two Cup semi-final with a 55-35 home win over Dudley. The size of victory crucial in the final reckoning, as without the second bonus point given to them by the minor places from Matthew Joyce and Belal Fabian the Lions wound having finished behind Beverley in the group standings and out of the competition. Ross Purnell’s side will come up against Huntingdon in the last four, the Hunters— who have reached the final in each of the previous four Division Two Cup competitions they have contested—finished the group stage with an 100% record having defeated Cork 57-33 this week. That loss for the Crusaders and Cradley Heath’s failure to win a bonus point in their home meeting with Kelso (48-42) meant that Bradwell finished second to Huntingdon in the group, the Bandits will meet Derby in the second of the semi-finals. A 47-42 win over Beverley in their final qualifier was enough to see the Bucks top their section, the Hammers missing out on the necessary top two finish by a point.
Last years runners-up Paull breezed through to the Division Three Cup semi finals again with a double bonus point winning 60-30 victory over Clagate. Key to their success was the inclusion of new signing Kasper Lustu in their line-up, he one of six heat winners for the hosts—the rider to miss out Dean Robertson (6+2) picked up two paid wins—but more crucially his addition mean teen Fiske Wahlquist (11+1) dropped to reserve, where he was unbeaten in his four rides. Stephen Burgess’s side also ended a run of six league meetings without a win by beating Witham 57-33 at home, before going on to defeat Lustu’s former club Bolsover 37-53 on the road, that a record victory away from home for the Wanderers. Lustu scored 8+2 from four on the Derbyshire circuit, where Kieron Langmead (15) made it maximum number five for the campaign.
Paull’s Division Three Cup semi-final opponents will be Plymouth who took second place in their group from Bolsover on points difference. Topping the standings were Runcorn, who completed their first round qualifying campaign with a six point home win over Witham to set up a last four tie with Normanton.
A sixth WSO career win for World Number ten Travis Foxman (13) who topped the standings in this weeks GP Play Off round in Stowmarket. The American and Coalville star raced to four wins and a third in heading home favourite Grzegorz Kowalczyk (12) and another veteran Pole, Kazimierz Agafon (11), in the standings. The top seven from Stowmarket head to this years GP series which gets underway at Coalville next week, world number four Steve Johnson amongst the contingent having scored ten in the final qualifier.
More twists and turns in the division two promotion battle as the raced closed up once again. Cork (29 points) end the week in second after taking a point for a draw in their meeting at Dudley (28), the Tigers however bounced back to win at Cradley Heath (28)—whose earlier meeting at Bradwell (28) also finished all square. Cradley slip out of the top three after the loss, their first at home of the season.