Doolan decisive as stars go through

PUBLISHED: 09:25 26 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

Kevin Doolan provided the defining ride that took Kings Lynn into the last four of speedway's Knockout Cup despite a 49-44 defeat at Rye House on Saturday night.

Kevin Doolan provided the defining ride that took Kings Lynn into the last four of the Knockout Cup despite a 49-44 defeat at Rye House on Saturday night.

The Stars had began the meeting with a 13-point advantage from the first leg but the home side threw the tie wide open when they collected 5-1's from heats 12 and 13 to reduce the deficit to just three points.

With his side trailing 44-34, Stars team manager Rob Lyon gave the black and white helmet to Doolan in the penultimate heat and the Australian responded with a clinically efficient performance.

He gated to lead but was then forced into an encore when partner Chris Mills fell whilst jockeying with Tommy Allen for third place with referee Dale Entwistle ordering a rerun and controversially excluding the visiting reserve.

Doolan though remained ice-cool and again jetted away from the tapes to take the six points that guaranteed his side a place in the semi-final against either Glasgow or Newcastle.

With both teams using rider replacement, the Stars conceded a 5-1 in heat 2 but then provided the winners of the next six heats with Doolan passing the line in front three times that included a heat 7 maximum with Trevor Harding whilst Tomas Topinka twice led the field home.

However it was reserve Chris Mills that produced the shock victory when he zipped ahead of hot property Steve Boxall in heat 8 and resisted the home rider's persistent attempts whilst a point for Troy Batchelor gave the Stars a 25-23 advantage on the night.

The Rockets responded with a heat 9 maximum from Boxall and Allen over Topinka whilst Doolan's lost his unbeaten tag to Edward Kennett in the next. Topinka bounced back with a win in heat 11 when taking a rider replacement ride that left his side trailing 34-32 with four heats remaining.

Then came the successive set-backs only for Doolan to grab his fourth win of the night that settled the tie and fittingly, Lynn's man of the moment gained the honours in the nominated heat teaming up with Topinka for a 4-2 with the Stars winning the absorbing tie 98-90 on aggregate.

A delighted Rob Lyon admitted that there had been a few worrying moments towards the conclusion of the tie. “At the interval at heat 10, we had a team meeting and knew that another 10 points would take us through,” he stated. “I knew that I could use Kevin for the tactical ride in heat 14 if necessary but it's always a gamble and I'd have preferred to have wrapped the tie up before then.

“But we're through and I think overall that we deserved our success.”

Rye House - Steve Boxall 15+2, Edward Kennett 12+1, Chris Neath 9, Tommy Allen 8+4, Ben Powell 4+2, Danny Betson 1+1, rider replacement for Ross Brady.

Kings Lynn - Kevin Doolan 20, Tomas Topinka 12, Trevor Harding 5+2, Chris Mills 5, Troy Batchelor 2+1, John Oliver 0, rider replacement Daniel Nermark.

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