Mildenhall poised to take derby bonus
King's Lynn 48, Mildenhall 42: Lynn won the battle but Mildenhall look set to claim the Premier Trophy bonus point after a bruising derby at Saddlebow last night.
King's Lynn 48, Mildenhall 42
Lynn won the battle but Mildenhall look set to claim the Premier Trophy bonus point after a bruising derby at Saddlebow last night.
The pre-match fireworks between the respective promotions proved to be mere sparklers once the real action exploded on the track.
Lynn were forced to play second fiddle early on after Stars' asset James Brundle anchored a maximum in the opener. The hosts took eight heats to nudge in front before another old boy Shaun Tacey returned to haunt his former club and set up a tense finish.
Ever-reliable skipper Tomas Topinka scorched around the Arena in super slick 58.4 seconds to move Lynn ahead again before Kevin Doolan outwitted Jason King in the penultimate race to preserve the slender advantage.
The home side's dynamic duo then held their nerve to land a priceless maximum in the finale.
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Lynn have little margin for error when they head to West Row for Sunday's return but it could well have been a lot worse when Troy Batchelor was withdrawn from the meeting suffering from mild concussion after only two rides.
The Aussie's injury came on top of insult after a controversial exclusion from heat five when it appeared Brundle had clipped the teenager's back wheel exiting turn four.
Doolan's blinding gate in the re-run earned Lynn a share of the points when the Stars looked set to wipe out that early deficit.
Topinka's heat four win was his side's first of the night - a startling statistic given Lynn had previously swept all before them around the Arena.
The evenly matched neighbours traded heats until Harding cut superbly underneath Danny King from the gate in heat six to back up Swedish team mate Daniel Nermark.
Topinka fired in an extra lap for good measure to take the next but Tacey and King comfortably pocketed the minor places to keep the scores deadlocked.
Rob Lyon's canny reserves switch paid immediate dividends with Chris Mills flying from the tapes to support the excellent Harding for a much-needed maximum.
Mills was forced to step in again after the interval to take Batchelor's programmed ride but the former Oxford man limped over the line with mechanical problems - Danny King inflicting a rare defeat on Doolan.
Nermark was the star attraction in an heat ten worth the admission money alone - diving between the Mildenhall duo before running wide and slipping back to last then conjuring a last gasp pass around Tacey.
Tacey inflicted his revenge on Lynn's reserve duo to throw the derby back into the melting pot before Topinka and Doolan led from the front to drag the home side over the finish line.
Stars: Nermark 6, Harding 8+1, Batchelor 1+1, Doolan 12+1, Topinka 14, Mills 6+2, Lambert 1+1.
Fen Tigers: Lyons 8+2, Brundle 7, Tacey 7+1, J King 6, D King 7+1, Burchatt 0, Armstrong 7+3.