King’s Lynn 48, Swindon 45
The Stars all but sealed their place in the end of season Elite League play-offs after last night's victory against basement team Swindon.
However the returning British champion Scott Nicholls and Maciej Janowski bagged a 5-1 for Swindon to earn them a shock last-gasp point after Lynn had only required a shared heat in the final outing to record maximum points.
Rob Lyon's men had the chance to go top if leaders Poole slipped up, but the Pirates defeated their visitors Wolverhampton 54-42.
The Robins, marooned by six points at the bottom of the Elite League table before this meeting, were kept in the hunt by talented top-scoring Pole Janowski, already a World Under-21 runner-up.
Stars were hamstrung by captain Olly Allen, who had crashed out and suffered extensive bruising in the Scottish Open on Friday, needing to withdraw after three outings with a shoulder injury, while Niels-Kristian Iversen suffered from bike problems.
Mads Korneliussen came through his fitness test after a crash at Swindon last Thursday and Kenneth Bjerre recovered from his blow to the head last week at home.
Kenneth Bjerre gated in his usual swift style to win the opening heat, which saw a surprising last place for Robins captain and Great Britain star Nicholls who missed the Stars' victory in Wiltshire on Thursday.
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With Lynn heading for a 5-1 in the second race, Tomas Topinka fell while leading as the hosts had to settle for a shared heat.
Nicolai Klindt slid into the fence at the beginning of the second lap of Heat 4 and was excluded. The hosts took advantage of the three-man re-run to post the first 5-1 maximum heat victory via Iversen and Topinka.
Lasse Bjerre produced a brilliant ride in Heat 6 to overtake Swindon's new signing Sergey Darkin while backing up his brother Kenneth in the Stars' second 5-1.
However Lynn followed with a disastrous 8-1 reverse. Iversen had bike problems before Heat 7 and was timed out, so had to take a 15-metre penalty. On a tight first bend Filip Sitera fell and was excluded from the re-run. Iversen could not catch Janowski – on a double-point scoring tactical ride – and Simon Stead. King's Lynn hit back with their third 5-1 from Topinka and Lasse Bjerre and the Saddlebow side led 32-25 at the interval.
Sitera replaced Allen in Heat 12 but he had to settle for third as Janowski and Darkin registered the visitors' second maximum. New Robins boss Jan Staechmann – recently replacing Ronnie Russell who is concentrating on track preparation at the Abbey Stadium – was no doubt pleased to go away with a point.
• Lynn Stars: Kenneth Bjerre 13, Lasse Bjerre 6+2, Olly Allen 4+1, Mads Korneliussen 8, Niels-K Iversen 7, Tomas Topinka 4, Filip Sitera 6+1.
• Swindon: Scott Nicholls 9, Jesper B Monberg 4+1, Maciej Janowski 16+1, Simon Stead 5+1, Nicolai Klindt 4+1, Sergey Darkin 5+1, Cory Gathercole 2+1.