Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 48 Lakeside Hammers 42
- Credit: Ian Burt
The Stars salvaged some pride as the Hammers' play-off hopes were left hanging by a thread.
Lynn ended a run of three home defeats in a row by edging a tight encounter against the top-four hopefuls who needed to take something home from Norfolk to keep their hopes of reaching the end-of-season shoot-out alive.
A losing bonus point was enough to ensure Swindon Robins' place in the battle for silverware wasn't confirmed but it is the Wiltshire club who remain in pole position thanks to tonight's meeting at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Lakeside – who host Lynn in a hasty return tomorrow – were in the hunt for at least two points going into the finale of an exciting meeting.
However, Niels-Kristian Iversen shot through a door that Kai Huckenbeck opened by forcing Andreas Jonsson wide to realistically, if not mathematically, end the Hammers' season.
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Iversen and a few of his team-mates showed plenty of spirit in their penultimate home fixture – which saw Nicklas Porsing make his comeback after a year's absence. And although his evening had a painful ending, it failed to take the gloss off his return.
The Dane scored paid double-figure points and vindicated Rob Lyon's decision to re-sign him. The man he replaced, Rory Schlein, had failed to achieve the same feat all season.
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Porsing looked fired up and won his opening ride, scoring well in his other three outings before being caught up in a truly bizarre incident.
As the 23-year-old enjoyed a victory lap after crossing the line behind Iversen for a maximum heat advantage, he stopped sharply on the back straight, got off his machine and doubled over in agony.
As confusion reigned, he took in gas and air and wandered back to the pits in discomfort as everyone was left to try and figure out what had happened. A track inspection followed with suspicions being confirmed later on when Porsing spoke on the microphone to say his problem had been caused by a foreign object.
He said: 'I thought my shoulder had popped out. But it was Niels' fault. He rode over a massive stone and it came flying up and hit me in my shoulder. It's a bit sore and hopefully I'll be alright. I had a big problem with the set-up as the track was a bit slicker than usual.'
It didn't look like Porsing had encountered any difficulties given the dreadful nature of the majority of Lynn's displays recently – which culminated in Schlein being axed last week.
While superstar Iversen's decision to return will no doubt be made solely by himself, Huckenbeck did his chances no harm by chalking up nine points. Troy Batchelor's future is no doubt still on the line as he slumped to just a solitary point.
With one fixture at the Adrian Flux Arena left to be staged – with a date yet to be announced – against Poole Pirates, fans will be hoping Iversen's showing wasn't his last in the Stars colours.
The way he squeezed between Jonsson and Richard Lawson in heat 13 in heart-stopping eye-of-the-needle fashion was as amazing for its execution as it was its bravery.
Who knows if the Grand Prix superstar will be about in 2017? He wasn't meant to be riding in Britain this season after all. Porsing on the other hand may well be back – if tonight's evidence was anything to go by.
Lynn: 1 Iversen 12, 2 Porsing 9+1, 3 R Lambert 8, 4 Huckenbeck 9, 5 Batchelor 1, 6 Sarjeant (Guest) 4+3, 7 Wilkinson 5
Lakeside: 1 Jonsson 10+1, 2 Kennett 9, 3 King (G) 8, 4 Bridger 2, 5 Lawson 1+1, 6 Halsey (G) 1, 7 Kerr 11