Elite League: Birmingham Brummies 51, King’s Lynn Stars 41
King's Lynn's Elite League play-off chances came to an end at Birmingham last night.
Defeat for a second successive meeting against the Brummies ended the Stars' outside hopes of finishing in the top four, although in reality their two recent home defeats have proved the most damaging.
The inconsistency which has thwarted Rob Lyon's side throughout much of the season was again in evidence at Perry Barr, and the fired-up home side were worthy winners as they boosted their own play-off prospects.
Stand-in skipper Niels-Kristian Iversen predictably led the Stars' resistance in spite of a shock last place in heat 1, but both reserves struggled mid-meeting, having secured a comfortable 5-1 in heat 2.
That put the visitors into an early four point lead, but Birmingham quickly turned things around with Maciej Janowski enduring a miserable night and Daniel Nermark making plenty of fast starts but being passed on all too many occasions.
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The scores were level after heat 5 as Iversen got on the board with a win over a hard-pressing Ben Barker, but Nermark was swamped by first Bjarne Pedersen and then Josh Auty in the next as the Brummies took control.
Iversen, taking rider-replacement for Mads Korneliussen, brought Lynn back into things with a 4-2 in heat 7 but then the meeting disappeared from their grasp under a flurry of successive 5-1s.
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In fairness to the Brummies, they had to work for it from the back on several occasions, with Barker and Danny King both flying around Nermark in heat 9 and then Auty generating terrific speed to reel in and pass Janowski in the next.
Iversen took a tactical ride in heat 11 but was only able to split the home pairing and that left the visitors fourteen points down with just four heats to go.
The last throw of the dice was a tactical ride for Janowski in heat 12, but the Pole trailed in last behind Martin Smolinski, and Birmingham were virtually home and dry.
A late rally saw Iversen and Nermark take a welcome 5-1 in heat 13 and Wolbert also finished the night strongly as he won the penultimate race with Nermark third to give the Stars a glimmer of hope for a point.
But Wolbert's last place in the last race mathematically secured their fate, the German having no answer to King and Barker as Iversen finished off with a win.
Birmingham: Danny King 11, Ben Barker 9+3, Josh Auty 9+2, Bjarne Pedersen 8+1, Sebastian Ulamek 8, Martin Smolinski 5+1, Nicolas Covatti 1.
King's Lynn: Niels-kristian Iversen 15+1, Kevin Wolbert 9, Daniel Nermark 8, Mateusz Szczepaniak 5, Jesper B Monberg 2+1, Maciej Janowski 2, Mads Korneliussen R/R.