Stars hit by injuries

Stoke 53, King's Lynn 37It was a bad day at the office on Saturday for Kings Lynn on Saturday as they fell to a 53-37 defeat at Stoke on Saturday.Whilst the league defeat was only the Stars second on the road in 2007, Lynn's injury problems mounted.

Stoke 53, King's Lynn 37

It was a bad day at the office on Saturday for Kings Lynn on Saturday as they fell to a 53-37 defeat at Stoke on Saturday.

Whilst the league defeat was only the Stars second on the road in 2007, Lynn's injury problems mounted.

They had gone in to the meeting minus Grant MacDonald who was hurt in his first outing on Friday night against Rye House and had undergone an operation on his wrist on Saturday and then lost James Brundle, who was withdrawn from the meeting after laying his bike down in heat eight to avoid Chris Mills and Barrie Evans, who had fallen in front of him.

“These things seem to happen to me,” said a dejected Brundle, who had his left arm and shoulder strapped up.

“I can hit the fence at 100mph and walk away, but I lay my bike down and I cop one.

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“The medics seem to think there is a hole in my shoulder or something and I`ll have to have it checked out when I go back home.”

Stoke also lost a rider when Glenn Cunningham slid off on the first turn in the opening heat and damaged his coccyx after going under the air fence.

Lynn took advantage of some other early falls for the home side - Jack Hargreaves in heat two and Claus Vissing in the next - to open up a narrow lead. But Stoke gained a 5-1 in the fourth through Rusty Harrison and Hargreaves, though Trevor Harding was insistent that he had pipped Hargreaves for second spot.

“I looked across and I was definitely a wheel up on him (Hargreaves),” said the Australian.

“I just don`t know how the referee (Graham Reeve) could have seen it any different. But there was no reasoning with him and it was definitely a wrong call.”

Harding split Ben Barker and Barrie Evans in the sixth and a superb pass from Paul Lee on Harrison in the next as he joined Daniel Nermark in the front pulled the Stars back into contention, though Lee was fortunate to stay on the bike after his footrest got caught in the fencing.

“The dirt was right on the boards and I got out too close to the fence I guess,” said Lee who was already carrying back and leg knocks from a fall the previous evening.

“I've pulled my shoulder and banged my foot, though the consolation is that I stayed on the bike and got the second place.”

A Potters' 5-1 followed which put the home side 28-20 up before a run of five drawn races. Harding inflicted Lee Complin's only defeat of the night in the ninth, Nermark just shaded the next race from Ben Barker and Tomas Topinka made a strong start to head Rusty Harrison in heat 11.

Stars team manager Rob Lyon, who had little options from the reserve berth, gambled by giving Topinka a tactical substitute outing alongside Nermark in heat 12. Topinka did make up some ground, but Nermark was unable to help much as Vissing harried him all the way and Evans was able to hold his line and negate the Topinka charge.

Hargreaves, replacing Cunningham, passed Harding on the first lap of heat 13 as Stoke maintained their grip, though it was still mathematically possible for the visitors to get something out of the meeting.

But it was the Potters who finished the stronger - a 5-1 from Complin and Evans over Lee in heat 14 assuring a home win and then a similar score as both Complin and Barker passed Topinka and Nermark in the last.

“We can't complain. We came here expecting to win because that is the way we go in to every meeting, but we did not get going at all and we were beaten by the better team on the night,” conceded Nermark.

“We cannot blame the track. Look at our scores and it shows that we were not good enough on the night.

“That is only our second league defeat of the season and there is a long way to go.

There is disappointment, but we can't complain because Stoke had their bad luck (Cunningham) and turned out to be the better side on the night.”

Stoke: G Cunningham 0, B Barker 13, C Vissing 5+2, L Complin 13+1, R Harrison 8, B Evans 10+4, J Hargreaves 4+3.

King's Lynn: T Topinka 11, C Mills 1, D Nermark 11, P Lee 4+2, T Harding 6, J Brundle 2, S Lambert 2+1.