Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 54 Leicester Lions 38
- Credit: Ian Burt
Lewis Rose and Troy Batchelor rammed in their best scores of the season for Lynn as the Stars' play-off push gained momentum.
Rob Lyon told his troops Monday night's heart-stopping win at Coventry Bees would have been pointless had they not seen off the Lions last night. And that's exactly what they did in an encouraging display that suggests Lynn could be starting to head towards their top gear as they attempt to haul their way up the Elite League table.
For possibly the first time in 2016, all of the hosts' riders chalked up a heat win with Niels-Kristian Iversen and Robert Lambert once again leading impressively from the front.
But it was the form of Rose and Batchelor, especially, which would have provided the biggest sign of positivity in a home triumph which should have been far more handsome than it was.
Had Lambert not suffered an engine failure in heat three another maximum 5-1 race win would have ensured the 16-point margin of victory was four points greater. Yet that fact proved immaterial as Lynn heaped more misery on the basement boys and closed the gap on the top four.
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The Adrian Flux Arena club are now just three points off fourth-placed Lakeside Hammers with three meetings in hand. A victory in Saturday's return at Leicester is now vital to continue their upward curve and you wouldn't bet against Lynn doing the business in the East Midlands – especially with Batchelor starting to fire again.
While Rose's form has been improving steadily, his second-string colleague for the evening has been struggling to get going following a serious winter injury. A slight upturn of late raised hopes but perhaps it's his demotion, thanks to the numbers games of the sport's averages, which may yet bring the best out of the man more commonly known as 'Batch'.
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Riding at number four, the Aussie scored paid 10 earlier this week and went one better on his own shale to return the same score – without the need of a bonus point to push him to double figures – and provide a much-needed confidence boost. Like Rose, the Australian looked electric from the tapes against the Lions. And even when he missed a start in his final outing, the former Swindon Robins man still added two points to his total by passing and then holding off the challenge from Paul Starke excellently.
An in-form Batchelor can only provide a boost for Lynn's hopes of reaching the end-of-season shoot-out. And with Rose growing in stature, the pair could be pivotal during the period they remain together at two and four respectively.
Importantly the heart gained from a series of strong showings could make all the difference when Batchelor no doubt becomes a heat leader again. Alongside Iversen and Lambert the trio could eventually really take some stopping.
Lynn's dominance was such that it took until the sixth race for the Lions to produce a winner and they only gained two heat advantages all meeting – one coming only because Starke was going for double points on a tactical ride.
Lynn have still got a long way to go to reach the promised land of the play-offs. But it's clear that their season isn't over just yet and who knows, if their charge continues at this rate of knots a few sides above them will be looking nervously over their shoulders – including stuttering champions Poole Pirates.
Lynn: 1 Iversen 14, 2 Rose 8+1, 3 Schlein 4+1, 4 Batchelor 10, 5 R Lambert 9+3, 6 Busk Jakobsen 3, 7 Rose 6+1
Lions: 1 Hougaard 4, 2 Summers 5+1, 3 Klindt 7, 4 Starke 7 (included tactical ride), 5 Wozniak 8+1, 6 Morris (Guest) 3+2, 7 Auty 4+2