Photo gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 41, Poole Pirates 49
- Credit: IAN BURT
The champions ended the Stars' 19-match home winning run and unbeaten 2014 Norfolk Arena record to send out a big warning to the rest of the Elite League.
The Pirates blew away the long-time leaders at their fortress to destroy Lynn's growing hopes of going through the whole campaign without losing on their home shale. And it was a victory the south coast giants fully deserved as they showed they mean serious business in the defence of their prized title.
Poole's devastating mid-meeting spell of three maximum 5-1 heat wins and a 4-2 in four races helped them enjoy a 14-point swing in five outings. Their not-before-seen dominance from an away side at Saddlebow Road this term was such that they had shattered the hosts' dreams with two heats to spare.
While the bad weather loomed in the sky above the track, but stayed away until the end of tonight, Neil Middleditch's troops stormed past Rob Lyon's play-off certainties to send out a clear message. They might not be top but they're hitting form at the right time as the campaign heads towards its end-of-season shootout.
What would have worried Lynn's boss was that his riders had no answer to their opponents' gating ability. While they may have been rusty after a near month gap without a fixture in Norfolk, Lynn's men delivered little response when their eight-point lead was impressively overhauled in quick succession.
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Back-to-back 5-1s including one from former Stars Darcy Ward and Maciej Janowski, so impressive as a pair on their return to Nelson's County, sould have served as a wake-up call. But they didn't. And now Lyon will be hoping the loss will act as a reminder that his runaway pacesetters won't simply have it all their own way this term.
The reverse wasn't the end of the world but the manner in which it came was certainly worrying. Once Poole got going they never really looked like they were going to be stopped – even by World Cup winning hero Niels-Kristian Iversen.
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As is so often the case he was Lynn's star man with the top score for his team, 11 points this time, and some scintillating racing. But even he ran in a couple of thirds. That said, the point he picked up for finishing behind Ward and Janowski in the 13th had to be seen to be believed.
In one of the races of any year at Lynn, you could throw a blanket over three of the world's top riders as they slugged it out to hit the front. The Pirates' pair throught they had shut their opponent out but the Stars' top gun zipped between them squeezing through the narrowest of gaps to take the lead. However, Janowski pushed him back out wide a turn or so later to allow himself and his team-mate to take control again and ram home their team's fourth 5-1 of the clash – and their second.
Iversen won the final heat, going from third to first, to end the fixture on something of a high. But Poole will take massive heart from their destruction of the previously unbeatable Stars. With five victories on the bounce they are certainly the side to watch for all of the country's top sides as the business end of the year looms on the horizon.
Lynn, on the other hand, will be hoping this defeat was simply a blip rather than a sign of what might be around the corner if the two title favourites meet in the Grand Final.
Lynn: N-K Iversen 11, N Porsing 3, R Schlein 4+1, R Lambert 5, K Bjerre 8, L Kerr 7+4, L Rose 3
Poole: D Ward 11+1, V Milik 8+1, C Harris 7+1, J Grajczonek 7+1, M Janowski 9+1, K Newman 7+1, B Compton 0
- A gallery of Ian Burt's pictures from tonight's meeting will be added to this report soon.