Elite Shield second leg: King’s Lynn Stars 46, Poole Pirates 43 (Poole win 96-85 on aggregate)
- Credit: Ian Burt
Lynn failed to prevent powerhouse Poole from adding another trophy to their bulging cabinet despite a confidence-boosting home win.
The Stars beat the Pirates 46-43 last night in the final part of the Elite Shield but it was not enough to overturn the 14-point deficit they went into the return with following a 54-39 defeat in the first leg on the south coast 24 hours earlier.
The result allowed Neil Middleditch's visitors to head back to Wimborne Road having defended their pre-season crown as they aim to hit the ground running in search of a third Elite League title on the bounce. But the team they beat in last term's play-off semi-finals showed they'll be ready to push them all the way in the quest to land the ultimate prize.
Niels-Kristian Iversen, Ashley Morris and Robert Lambert in particular enjoyed encouraging nights with the Stars getting some vital track time in ahead of Tuesday's top-flight opener against Lakeside Hammers.
The inevitable rustiness that was displayed by some of their team-mates on the club's first home 2015 fixture, of sorts, will have been far less of a concern to Rob Lyon than the accident which forced second-string Nicklas Porsing to withdraw.
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The 22-year-old Dane was wiped out by Pirates guest Adam Ellis during his first outing with both flying into the air fence on turn two. After a lengthy delay, Lynn's number four headed back to the pits feeling the full effects of the clash's fourth spill in as many heats early on.
While it was suggested Porsing's knee problem saw him pull out as a precautionary measure it was the last thing he, nor his team boss, needed in what was nothing more than a glorified friendly. The same could be said for Poole who saw their number one Chris Holder only take two rides before a shoulder issue saw him consigned to a watching brief.
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Lynn threatened to claw their way back into the things with a decent start with Iversen and Lambert securing a maximum points 5-1 return in the opener. Lewis Kerr and Morris were on for the same score in the next outing until Ellis got past both. Davey Watt and Maciej Janowski restored the pre-action advantage with a max of their own in the third which set about the reality that Lyon's men were not going to pull off a miracle.
Yet a victory at the Adrian Flux Arena was what the Stars' chief had promised and his troops set about delivering it. Iversen played his part in three big top returns to ensure that a victory was achieved. Lambert did his utmost by splitting the impressive Dakota North and Ellis excellently in the ninth at the line to prevent a 5-1 reverse.
The Stars' 16-year-old was on for a double-figure score until mechanical gremlins struck in his final outing yet he showed another campaign of thrilling action could be on its way on a personal level. And two heat wins from his fellow Stars late on ensured it was at least going to be a winning return to action at Saddlebow Road.
Ultimately the Stars had just left themselves with far too much to do following a poor end to the first encounter in Dorset. And in reality, while they were happy to win on the night, their biggest success will be if Porsing is fit to ride next week and Lynn get off to a successful start when the serious stuff gets underway.
Lynn: NK Iversen 12+1, R Lambert 8+2, R Schlein 7, N Porsing (withdrawn), K Bjerre 7+2, L Kerr 6+1, A Morris 6+1
Poole: C Holder 0 (withdrawn), D North 13, D Watt 7, M Janowski 12+1, P Starke 4+1, A Ellis 7