Holders Lynn are humbled
Chris LakeyKing's Lynn 44, Newcastle 46 (Newcastle win 103-81 on aggregate) Rob Lyon admitted he was 'shocked' by the way his King's Lynn team lost their grip on the Premier Trophy last night when they were cut open by the Diamonds from Newcastle.Chris Lakey
King's Lynn 44, Newcastle 46 (Newcastle win 103-81 on aggregate)
Rob Lyon admitted he was 'shocked' by the way his King's Lynn team lost their grip on the Premier Trophy last night when they were cut open by the Diamonds from Newcastle.
The Stars faced a 20-point deficit after Sunday's semi-final first leg defeat in the north-east, but it was never considered to be insurmountable for a side which has made the Norfolk Arena such a difficult track for visitors.
However, Newcastle refused to be beaten before the first tape went up and turned in what, for them, was a memorable performance, restricting the hosts to just five heat advantages.
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For Lynn boss Rob Lyon, who lost Aussie Kozza Smith with a knee injury in the latter stages of the meeting, it was a wake-up call.
'It was a shock in a way that we lost the meeting,' he said. 'It is never good to lose a meeting at home, whatever it is, but they wanted it. They came and really attacked the track.
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'I felt we had a good chance of pulling it back, but they worked really well.'
The Stars knew they needed to make quick inroads into Newcastle's lead and when Kevin Doolan got past Mark Lemon for a 4-2 in the opener, it settled one or two nerves - and when Darren Mallett and Casper Wortmann cruised to a maximum in the reserves' clash, it seemed it would be business as usual at saddlebow Road.
But Smith, after a poor gate, went from back to front to back again when he overcooked it on the final lap, allowing the visitors to claim a maximum.
The impressive Kenni Larsen led Lynn skipper Tomas Topinka and Wortmann a merry dance to claim a shared fourth in 58.90 - the fastest four laps of the season at Lynn.
Joe Haines took a tumble in the fifth - and that left Smith with far too much to do on his own. Far from making inroads, Lynn conceded another maximum to drop 22 points behind the Diamonds overall.
While his team-mates were struggling, Doolan - who had scored 13 points in the first leg at Newcastle on Sunday - was on fire: he got the better of Larsen in the sixth, with Topinka chipping in another brace in the following race - with Lynn claiming both by a 4-2 margin.
But just as soon as Lynn chipped away at the deficit, so Newcastle fought back. Another hard-fought two points went north in the eighth when Mallett somehow contrived to allow Anders Andersen to pass him on the final lap to claim third place and the narrowest of heat advantages.
Doolan made it three wins out of three, despite the attentions of Rene Bach, who pushed the Stars number one right to the tape in the 10th.
Topinka gated well in the next outing, but Wortmann trailed in last and that meant, with the meeting level at 33-33 and the margin still 20, Lynn had run out of time, guaranteeing a new name on the Premier Trophy this season.
Smith's withdrawal simply added salt to the wounds, with pride the only remaining incentive for the battered Stars.
Mallett did well to hold off Jason King and follow Wortmann over the line for a maximum - only Lynn's second of the night and coincidentally provided by the same two riders.
It was purely academic by the time Larsen claimed two of the last three races, including a superb finale victory over Doolan to give Newcastle victory on the night as well as on aggregate.
t King's Lynn: Doolan 13, Topinka 8, Wortmann 7, Mallett 7, Haines 6, Smith 3.
t Newcastle: Larsen 14, Bach 10, Lemon 7, Sneddon 7, King 5, Andersen 2, North 1.