Elite League: Wolverhampton Wolves 53, King’s Lynn Stars 39
Depleted King's Lynn went down fighting before eventually falling to table-toppers Wolverhampton.
On a breathtaking night of speedway in the Midlands, the Stars defied the odds having been reduced to just five riders before eventually missing out on a losing bonus point by eight. With heat-leaders Mads Korneliussen and Rory Schlein both out injured plus Richie Worrall on Premier League duty the Stars were already facing an uphill task.
Their job was made even harder when Simon Stead withdrew on the morning of the meeting having aggravated a shoulder problem in Poland 24 hours earlier.
The meeting got off to the worst possible start for the Stars as the hosts raced to a 5-1 in the opening race of the night - and back to back maximums for Wolves put them twelve behind after seven races.
It was at that point that their fortunes again got worse – this time David Howe withdrawing with suspected broken ribs, leaving King's Lynn with just five riders remaining.
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Yet they were handed a lifeline in heat eight as a Niels-Kristian Iversen tactical ride allowed a 7-1 – although it could have been more had partner Josh Grajczonek looked around and allowed Iversen to take victory rather than second place.
With just eight points separating the sides after 11 races Lynn began to eye an unlikely point – and those hopes only grew when guests Doyle and Grajczonek reduced the deficit to four in heat 12. However, Wolves' Grand Prix duo Fredrik Lindgren and Tai Woffinden duly dented those chances in heat 13 despite a valiant effort from Iversen.
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Adam Skornicki then triumphed over Sebastian Alden in a breathtaking heat 14 whilst Jacob Thorssell held off Mark Lemon for third to put King's Lynn eight behind.
With a 5-1 required, Niels-Kristian Iversen suffered bike problems on the opening lap to leave Lindgren and Woffinden to again combine for the hosts and condemn King's Lynn to a 53-39 defeat.
Stand-in skipper Iversen bagged 12+1 to lead from the front on what was previously his home circuit - whilst the guesting Jason Doyle provided able support with 12 points.
Doyle's Aussie compatriot Josh Grajczonek also notched a vital 10+1 from reserve to bolster the lower order in the absence of Richie Worrall and Simon Stead.
Yet with Sebastian Alden and Mark Lemon struggling plus the side stripped to the bare bones they fell just short despite a defiant performance.
Wolves: Lindgren 13+1, Woffinden 12+1, Proctor 9+3, Thorssell 8+2, Skornicki 7+1, Wells 4+1, Davies 0
Lynn: Iversen 12+1, Doyle 12, Grajczonek 10+1, Alden 3+1, Lemon 2+1, Howe 0, Schlein R/R