King’s Lynn Stars show fighting spirit at Eastbourne Eagles ahead of Elite League play-off challenge
- Credit: Matthew Usher
King's Lynn Stars dup deep for an away point – and proved they have the fighting spirit they might need in the play-offs.
The Elite League leaders, whose form has dipped of late, came from 12 points down to grab a losing bonus at Eastbourne.
Their efforts in an all-action tussle at the tight East Sussex circuit underlined that they have the resolve which might be required when the title goes on the line.
Success in the two-leg play-offs is as much about limiting damage away as it is winning big at home.
Which is why Rob Lyon and his side will be happy with their efforts against an Eastbourne side desperate for three points.
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The Stars did not concede an advantage in any of the last six races and had two of their own to rescue the losing bonus.
It led to one of those puzzling occasions only speedway can serve up – where the away side have the smiles while their hosts take a subdued lap of honour.
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Rory Schlein raced away to win when the Stars used their first tactical ride in heat six – which was a shame because it was Kenneth Bjerre, at the back after missing the start, who was wearing white and black.
Eastbourne fans enjoyed that 3-3 almost as much as the three successive 5-1s which turned Lynn's two-point lead, earned by their reserves, into a 10-point deficit.
The home reserves returned the compliment with a 4-2 in heat nine which would have been worse for the Stars had Lewis Kerr not repassed Danny Halsey.
But Schlein went for double points himself second time around, with his side 33-21 adrift, and led the 7-2 which cut the margin to seven.
That was how it stayed until heat 14, when a messy start worked in the Stars' favour.
James Sarjeant, an impressive guest for injured Eastbourne reserve Lewis Blackbird, twitched at the gate.
That seemed to unsettle a couple of other riders but Nicklas Porsing remained rock steady to go away and take the win.
Joonas Kylmakorpi got past Kerr, but the 4-2 put the Stars back on course for a point.
Bjerre made the start off gate two between Lewis Bridger and Bjarne Pedersen and held off the former for the win in heat 15.
Bridger, the Eastbourne asset brought in to guest for injured Mikkel Michelsen, was the pick of the home team.
Lynn did not get what they wanted from guests Scott Nicholls and Mark Lemon, but Kerr and, later in the meeting, Porsing put up the resistance they needed on Saturday – and might require in the coming weeks.
Eastbourne: Bridger 12+1 (5), Kylmakorpi 10 (4), Pedersen 9+2 (5), Sarjeant 8+2 (5), Lahti 5+1 (4), Woodward 4+2 (4), Halsey 1 (3).
King's Lynn: Kerr 12 (6), Bjerre 10+1^ (5), Schlein 9^ (5), Porsing 6 (4), Nicholls 5 (4), Morley 1 (3), Lemon 1 (3).