Stars fail to shine but stay in touch
Isle of Wight 64, King's Lynn 32 (Lynn won 99-90): Below par Lynn survived a Premier Trophy blitz at Smallbrook last night to keep alive their semi final hopes.
Isle of Wight 64, King's Lynn 32 (Lynn won 99-90)
Below par Lynn survived a Premier Trophy blitz at Smallbrook last night to keep alive their semi final hopes.
Rob Lyon's men hung on to the all important bonus point to set up a tense southern section finale at Newport on Sunday. Lynn moved into second ahead of Somerset and Mildenhall on points difference in the race for a last four place behind table toppers and current holders Rye House.
The Stars protect a slender eight-point advantage over the Wasps from their Norfolk Arena tussle when they visit south Wales this weekend. Lynn go into battle without Troy Batchelor - Lynn's top man on the island last night competing at Sheffield in a World U21 qualifier.
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Lynn welcome back Swedish heat leader Daniel Nermark after young reserve Shane Waldron failed to register on a difficult evening for the visiting young guns - Chris Mills and recent recruit John Oliver chipping in with a modest two points from reserve.
The Islanders top order set the tone - Jason Doyle's perfect five-ride maximum matched by Aussie U21 champion Chris Holder's paid 15-point maximum.
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Batchelor's heat 11 success followed by Kevin Doolan's in the next were the only bright spots amongst a home tidal wave triggered by the Islanders' big guns in a comfortable opener.
Oliver looked to have minimised the damage after Mills spun off in the reserves but Nick Simmons picked up superb grip exiting the final turn to pip the Aussie.
Krister Marsh anchored a third consecutive maximum until Tomas Topinka separated the home duo in the next after Oliver came to grief down the back straight.
Holder renewed acquaintances with Topinka after their Saddlebow duels to pass the Czech around the top bend in heat six as Lynn's mammoth points advantage receded at an alarming rate.
Chris Johnson reeled in Trevor Harding to move the Islanders 33-9 ahead on the scoresheets before Lyon launched a tactical retrieval mission.
Batchelor cut down Simmons for double points but Doyle was untroubled from the gate, then Marsh needed every inch of local track knowledge to fend off Lynn's marauding skipper in heat nine.
Harding's engine problem gifted the hosts' a sixth maximum but Batchelor's expert gate and Doolan's flag in the next handed Lynn a pre-interval boost.
Doolan conjured an all action second in the penultimate heat - climbing all over Johnson off a 15 metre tactical substitution but Doyle and Holder finished as they had started to fire the Islanders through the 60-point mark.
Islanders: Holder 10+5, Doyle 15, Marsh 9, Stojanowski 9+1, Bunyan 10+1, Johnson 7+1, Simmons 4+1.
Stars: Waldron 0, Batchelor 10, Doolan 9, Harding 2+1, Topinka 9, Mills 1, Oliver 1.
The Stars open their Premier League campaign tonight against Redcar at the Norfolk Arena. (7.45pm)