Battling display by Stars

Berwick 47, King's Lynn 43: Premier League KO Cup holders King's Lynn fired out a warning to their rivals with a battling first round, first leg defeat at Shielfield Park.

Berwick 47, King's Lynn 43: Premier League KO Cup holders King's Lynn fired out a warning to their rivals with a battling first round, first leg defeat at Shielfield Park.

The Stars are now odds on favourites to overturn a four-point deficit in the Norfolk Arena return after chalking up ten race wins against the Borders outfit.

Tomas Topinka's heat nine ignition problems and a sluggish finale for Kevin Doolan were all that denied Lynn's top two deserved maximums.

Craig Branney's reserves win stemmed an early barrage of visiting heat wins once Daniel Nermark had set the tone with a swift gate to clinch the opener.


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Topinka flew around the outside of Andreas Bergstrom after Doolan had powered away from the Berwick duo in heat two.

Michal Makovsky swarmed all over Nermark in heat five but the Swedish heat leader held on before Chris Mills capitalised on David Meldrum's broken fuel lead to level the meeting.

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Danny Warwick edged out Troy Batchelor in a thrilling duel for third with Doolan away in the distance then Mills split the Berwick pair after a battle royale with Meldrum and Branney.

The overworked Mills reappeared in a superb heat nine - exploding from the gate to fend off Makovsky who was then passed by compatriot Topinka before retaking Lynn's Czech skipper and reeling in Mills. Lee Smethills conjured a final lap pass around the tiring Mills to anchor a priceless maximum.

Berwick's hard fought six point lead lasted barely a home straight - the length of time it took Batchelor and Doolan to shut out the hosts exiting turn one of heat ten.

Bergstrom's rocket-propelled gate took him past Nermark down the back straight but Lynn held on for the minor places.

Batchelor was pinged 15 metres for touching the tapes before retiring on the final lap as Branney and Smethills overpowered Mills.

Lynn traded shared heats - Topinka's heat 13 victory cancelling out Nermark's mechanical problem then Doolan coasting to his fourth flag of the night.

Team boss Rob Lyon nominated his big guns for the finale but Doolan's exertions appeared to catch up with the Aussie who nearly spun out on lap two before re-gaining his composure to hold off Bergstrom. Topinka edged Makovsky to land a heat advantage for the cup holders.

Berwick travel to Saddlebow for the second leg on Wednesday, May 31.

Bandits: Burza 5+1, Meldrum 6, Smethills 6+2, Makovsky 10+1, Bergstrom 8+1, Warwick 3+2, Branney 9+2.

Stars: Nermark 8, Harding 2+1, Batchelor 2+1, Doolan 13, Topinka 12, Mills 6, Oliver 0.

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