Photo gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 59, Lakeside Hammers 35
- Credit: IAN BURT
The Stars laid down the gauntlet to Poole as they strengthened their hopes of finishing in top spot tonight.
Lynn made easy work of mid-table Lakeside to move three points clear of Poole Pirates as they look to clinch the all-important pole position that come the end of the term would give them the pick of their opponents in the play-offs.
With both sides having one fixture left, Poole know they have to realistically pick up a victory by seven or more tomorrow evening at Leicester to stand any chance of finishing above Rob Lyon's charges – who to be fair deserve to pip the Pirates having bossed the top-flight all term. If the south-coast Pirates do bag all four points, Lynn will need to collect at least two from the four on offer at Belle Vue on Monday to be certain of ending atop the summit.
So it's going to come down to the wire as the Elite League reaches the business end of 2014. However, if the Stars perform in Manchester like they did at the Norfolk Arena today then they will have nothing to worry about.
Because even though Kenneth Bjerre may still be sidelined, if his team-mates show the same determination, speed and will to win as they did against the Hammers they will beat the Aces on Monday.
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Lynn's title hopefuls have turned something of a corner, following a mini blip in form, and continued that improvement by roaring to a 24-point triumph during their last home meeting of the regular campaign.
Skipper Rory Schlein was the top scorer as he enjoyed a heat-15 victory for the first time in 18 attempts. Lewis Kerr was his usual outstanding self at reserve picking up a 12-point maximum. Yet it was the captain's display and that of Nicklas Porsing that will have pleased boss Lyon most.
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Aussie ace Schlein had the bit between his teeth all evening and will need to show similar point-scoring abilities in the play-offs – even if Bjerre returns. Porsing can range from the sublime to frustrating however his 14, paid 17, haul showed his potential once again. The Dane is a confidence rider and now with his spirits up he could be a trump card in Lynn's quest for glory.
Robert Lambert and Simon Lambert chipped in with decent scores to prove the doubters that this line-up still has quality, and vitally confidence, in abundance. All of Lynn's men will have to pick up points if they are going to stand any chance going into the shoot-out for glory without top gun Niels-Kristian Iversen and perhaps Bjerre.
But what remains most important perhaps is that the club's supporters have started to believe again. For 15 heats against Lakeside they saw a team that resembled one from earlier this season. And that can only bode well when Lynn take on either Poole, Coventry or Swindon for a place in next month's Grand Final.
The Stars will compete in the play-off semis on September 29 and October 6. It is yet to be confirmed which of the Mondays they will ride at home, or who against, during the two-legged fixture. If Lynn progress to the Grand Final they will race on Monday October 13 and again two days later for a chance of lifting the prestigious trophy. Again, one meeting will be at the Norfolk Arena while the other will be on the road.
Lynn: R Lambert 6+1, S Nicholls 7+3, N Porsing 14+3, R Schlein 15, L Kerr 12, S Lambert 5+2
Lakeside: D Watt 4, R Tungate 3, R Lawson 7+1, S Robson 10, D King 8, B Morley 0, A Ellis 3+1
* The Stars will compete in the play-off semis on September 29 and October 6. It is yet to be confirmed which of the Mondays they will ride at home, or who against, during the two-legged fixture. If Lynn progress to the Grand Final they will race on Monday October 13 and again two days later for a chance of lifting the prestigious trophy. Again, one meeting will be at the Norfolk Arena while the other will be on the road.