Photo gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 54, Swindon Robins 40
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A great week for sport in King's Lynn continued as the Stars ended the champions' unbeaten start to 2013.
Less than 24 hours after the town's football club celebrated winning the title, Lynn's speedway outfit kept up their 100pc home record with a fifth Norfolk Arena triumph of the campaign.
Rory Schlein top-scored with 13, paid 14, but all of Lynn's men chipped in to slow an understrength Swindon's fine opening to their title defence.
Two proud records were at stake as the Robins arrived in Norfolk. Lynn had won all four of their home meetings this term, via maximum three-point victories, while Alun Rossiter's visitors had triumphed in each of their six 2013 matches.
Something had to give on a night where both teams were missing key men. The hosts, injured and influential captain Mads Korneliussen, the men from Wiltshire, number one Hans Andersen. Swindon's main man, away on European Championship duty, was replaced by Premier League rider Lewis Blackbird – which hardly helped their chances.
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And those hopes of ending the Stars' scintillating spell looked even less realistic when Rob Lyon's men stormed into an eight-point lead thanks to two 5-1s. David Howe, on his Lynn return, picked himself up bravely after being dumped to the ground by Nick Morris, who somehow wasn't excluded, in heat one to follow Niels-Kristian Iversen home.
Yet in the third, the Robins hit back with a maximum of their own after Seb Alden suffered mechanical issues. They were well in the next one until Ashley Birks lifted half-way round the top turn and hit the fence on the home straight.
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Swindon were struggling without Andersen as Blackbird showed why he's a lower-level rider by running in a couple of lasts. With the Stars' reserves comfortably out-scoring their counterparts, Rossiter needed to take a gamble to turn things round.
He did, but it didn't pay off as Schlein's rip-roaring dive round the outside of Troy Batchelor denied the man in the black and white helmet all six points. A second tactical ride, where one man goes for double points, secured a marginal 5-3 win but Peter Kildemand's race victory wasn't enough.
And Stars stayed out of trouble comfortably after the interval to head to Wiltshire for tomorrow's return at Blunsdon with maximum points – and added confidence.
Lynn (number of rides in brackets): Iversen 13 (5), Howe 7+2 (5), Alden 10+1 (6), Schlein 13+1 (5), Worrall 6+2 (5), Stead 5+3 (4)
Swindon: Blackbird 0 (3), Morris 5 (4), Kildemand 10+1 (5), Kennett 8+2 (4), Batchelor 14 (5), Gomolski 2+2 (5), Birks 1 (4)
- A gallery of Matthew Usher's pictures from tonight's meeting will be added to this report soon.