King's Lynn Stars 51 Swindon Robins 39: Stars hold their nerve to overturn first leg deficit and secure KO Cup final place
PUBLISHED: 22:28 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 18 September 2018
Battling King's Lynn scraped through to the Knockout Cup Final in a dramatic encounter against Swindon at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Battling King’s Lynn scraped through to the Knockout Cup Final in a dramatic encounter against Swindon at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Skipper Robert Lambert and Erik Riss were the last heat heroes as the duo raced to a final 5-1 to secure a 51-39 win on home ground.
It was a fourth heat advantage of the night for the No.1 and 2 pairing as the Stars successfully overturned a six-point deficit from the first leg.
The win may have come at a cost ahead of next week’s play-off semi-final first leg at Belle Vue though, with Danish star Niels-Kristian Iversen forced to pull out with a suspected knee problem after a spill in heat seven.
The hosts looked in control early doors and were back level on aggregate as early as the second race thanks to a Lambert double.
Skipper Robert worked his way past an out of control David Bellego to lead a 4-2 in the first before reserve Simon got the better of Swindon guest Theo Pijper to claim second behind team-mate Michael Palm Toft for an early, important maximum in heat two.
And Simon Lambert again used all of his Adrian Flux Arena knowledge to send Australian international Nick Morris wide in the opening bends, creating a gap for Iversen as the hosts registered another 5-1 to move back in front overall.
But the ding-dong battle continued when Bellego and former King’s Lynn man Troy Batchelor responded with a maximum of their own in the fifth before Riss and Robert Lambert rode superbly together in the next to restore the four-point aggregate lead.
But then would come the race which saw Iversen take a tumble on his own in the seventh as he was escorted off track by paramedics.
Neither side were willing to go down without a fight though and there was hardly anything to separate the sides as the contest sat on a knife edge.
The Stars headed into the last race knowing a shared heat would be enough, but hearts were in their mouths when Robert Lambert took a heavy tumble after colliding with Batchelor in the opening bends.
But the skipper picked himself up from the dirt to ride home with Riss again, to also complete an unbeaten night personally, as the Stars kept their dream of a league and cup double alive on an unforgettable night in Norfolk.
King’s Lynn 51: Robert Lambert 14+1, Erik Riss 12+3, Michael Palm Toft 12+1, Simon Lambert 7+1, Thomas Jorgensen 4+2, Niels-Kristian Iversen 2+1, Ty Proctor R/R.
Swindon 39: Tobiasz Musielak 13, Troy Batchelor 9+2, David Bellego 9, Nick Morris 6+1, Theo Pijper 2+1, Scott Campos 0, Adam Ellis R/R.
King’s Lynn win 93-87 on aggregate.