Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 48, Poole Pirates 45
- Credit: Ian Burt
The depleted Stars did themselves proud tonight to stun the champions and maintain their 100pc home record in 2015.
Missing two of their heat leaders, including inspirational captain Rory Schlein, the odds were stacked against Rob Lyon's men. And that was even before anyone factored in the ability of the in-form side they were welcoming to the Adrian Flux Arena.
Poole were chasing a third victory this week as well as hoping to pounce on another chance to heap more misery on a club that they beat in the play-offs on their way to last season's title. But unlike in 2014 they failed to do that as they also missed the opportunity to become the club that again breached the Stars' Saddlebow Road fortress.
A 49-41 triumph in August was the first time Lynn had been seen off on home shale last term but it was not the case this time around with the hosts turning in a gritty team display.
Vitally Norfolk's hopefuls carried no passengers as each member of their six-man line-up chipped in with welcome points – especially Nicklas Porsing and Ashley Morris who have been off colour of late.
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Both stepped up to the plate to help pull their team through when they were needed most to add vital contributions which helped stave off a late rally from the Pirates.
It had looked like it was going to be far less dramatic with the hosts storming into an unexpected 12-point lead after just seven heats. Guest Sam Masters was instrumental in that fine start as he proved why he belongs back in the top-flight.
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The new Leicester signing blasted out of gate four in his first outing and pipped Grand Prix rider – and former Star Maciej Janowski – to the line by holding him off bravely for four laps. It was the start of good things to come from the evening's replacement for Schlein as he chalked up an impressive return of nine, paid 12.
Better news was to follow when Robert Lambert pounced on the smallest of mistakes from Chris Holder to charge under the Aussie and claim his first of two race wins. And that set about a wobble from the south coast giants which saw them spurn a host of opportunities to compound Lynn's woes.
They were there for the taking after Monday's hammering at Coventry but first Dakota North and then Kyle Newman blew their chances to inspire maximum 5-1s. The former drifted far too wide to allow Niels-Kristian Iversen and Masters through while Newman soon had no answer to the sensational Lambert who blasted from third to first in sublime fashion.
The Pirates did rally after the interval though as they smashed in their first max to reduce the deficit to five and make for a nervy ending. But the Stars kept battling and showing how keen they were to hold off the dominant force of British speedway in recent times.
It eventually came down to a last-heat decider and it was fitting that Holder – who scored 17 after picking up six points on a tactical – won it to ensure his boys took a point home. However, Iversen and Lambert's barges past Janowski were even more apt as it secured a success that every single one of their outfit deserved.
They said they were going to do it for Schlein – still hospitalised following spinal surgery. And boy did they.
Lynn: N-K Iversen 10+1, R Lambert 11+2, S Masters (Guest) 9+3, N Porsing 6+1, A Morris 6, L Kerr 6+2
Poole: D Watt 0, C Holder 17, D North 8+1, K Gomolski 2+1, M Janowski 10+1, P Starke 0, K Newman 8