King’s Lynn Stars’ play-off preview: Understrength Poole Pirates are still there for taking
- Credit: IAN BURT
A guest-heavy Poole side is set to make speedway look ridiculous again tonight – but few King's Lynn Stars fans will be complaining.
With three riders missing, just under half of the Pirates' line-up will be made up of racers who do not even represent the club. At the business and glamour end of the sport's top-flight in Britain, it hardly paints a great picture does it?
Foolish Darcy Ward (suspended) only has himself to blame for missing out. The omissions of Josh Grajczonek (injured) and Vaclav Milik (Czech Republic final) are the by-product of a sport where crashes happen and there are almost-daily fixture clashes across the continent.
While Lynn head down to Dorset for tonight's semi-final second leg a point down and missing two riders of their own, they now have a better chance than ever before of winning a 15-heat meeting and reaching their first-ever Elite League final – even if Maciej Janowski is now riding after his 'Magic' recovery from a motocross injury.
It's not going to be easy. Far from it. Poole's guests Craig Cook, Eddie Kennett and Danny King will want to score well to boost their bank balance and perhaps secure another two nights in Poole colours for the final. But the mind games around the Janowski, nicknamed Magic, injury U-turn seems to suggest Poole are doing everything they can to drum up home support for the fixture against a team that would have pipped them to a first-place finish had it not been for a crippling run of end-of-season injuries.
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Lynn team boss Rob Lyon thought both legs would be close. He was certainly right about the first one which his side lost 45-44 on their own shale. But now surely he knows that this evening's opponents are there for the taking. Of course he'd rather be tracking Niels-Kristian Iversen and Lewis Kerr, who crashed in the first leg to bring his scintillating term to a premature end, but at least he only has to name two non-Lynn riders in his side. Those men, Scott Nicholls and Charles Wright, on paper are the best two options he had at his disposal. So perhaps it's no wonder that Lyon is fired up for the all-important fixture at Wimborne Road.
He said: 'The weather made it a leveller for the first leg. Home advantage was taken away.
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'Poole came and did a good job. They're a good side – even with their guests. It's down to us now to go down there, on a track we go well at, and turn it round and pull off a victory. We weren't quite good enough on Monday but the boys gave 100pc commitment. It's only half-way over yet.'
Janowski's return will undoubtedly strengthen Poole's chances of seeing off Lynn. But the farce around his reintroduction should only serve to fire up Lyon, his riders and any travelling support that makes the trip today. Magic could top score again as he did in the first leg. But if all of Lynn's riders perform, they still have a great chance of pulling off their own miracle recovery once the tapes come up.
Poole: 1 Craig Cook (Guest), 2 Eddie Kennett (G), 3 Danny King (G), 4 Shamek Pawlicki, 5 Maciej Janowski, 6 Benji Compton, 7 Kyle Newman
Lynn: 1 Kenneth Bjerre, 2 Robert Lambert, 3 Scott Nicholls (G), 4 Nicklas Porsing, 5 Rory Schlein, 6 Simon Lambert, 7 Charles Wright (G)