Stars on course for trophy final triumph
Sheffield 48, King's Lynn 45 (Lynn won 108-80 on aggregate)Troy Batchelor's tactical genius helped King's Lynn clinch a deserved Premier Trophy final victory at a packed Owlerton last night.
Sheffield 48, King's Lynn 45 (Lynn won 108-80 on aggregate)
Troy Batchelor's tactical genius helped King's Lynn clinch a deserved Premier Trophy final victory at a packed Owlerton last night.
Lynn's comprehensive 31-point battering in Wednesday's Norfolk Arena first leg laid the foundations, but it needed the World U21 finalist to hammer the final nail into a belligerent Sheffield outfit.
Stars team boss Rob Lyon kept his nerve after the Yorkshiremen banged in four early maximums and Batchelor rewarded Lyon's faith - reeling in Ben Wilson for a killer tactical heat-eight blow.
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Stars' skipper Tomas Topinka and the ever reliable Chris Mills secured aggregate victory in the next to trigger wild celebrations in front of the massive away support.
The bumper 2,000-plus Sheffield crowd - the Tigers' biggest in recent years - warmly applauded the powerful Norfolk outfit and its superb travelling army.
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Ricky Ashworth took the individual honours (paid 14 from five), but Lynn's greatest strength - their powerful one to seven unit - secured the club's first ever Premier Trophy.
Batchelor hit the greasy shale exiting turn one in the opener, but Aussie team-mate Kevin Doolan clung on to split the Sheffield pair.
John Oliver shut the door on Benji Compton behind the impressive Mills as Lynn hit back immediately in the reserves - Mills accepting the cheers from the travelling Stars fans stationed at the pits' entrance.
Emiliano Sanchez reeled in Trevor Harding after a titanic heat-three tussle - Canadian racer Kyle Legault continuing where he left out at Saddlebow in the first leg to anchor a Sheffield maximum.
The Tigers were yards from another decisive heat advantage in the next before Compton hit the shale under sustained pressure from the all action Oliver.
Doolan and Batchelor stomached some of their own medicine when Sanchez and Legault team rode to perfection in a comfortable heat-five procession.
A 20-minute delay preceded the next action after the clerk of the course was called over Compton's suspected defective rear tyre.
Sheffield's onslaught continued on the resumption - Mills briefly laying down a challenge to Ashworth down the back straight before settling for third with Topinka trundling to a frustrating halt. Lynn stemmed the tide when they cancelled out Jason Lyons victory, Sheffield's guest expertly ducking inside the visiting pair exiting turn four.
Batchelor's majestic tactical raid cut Sheffield's early lead to three - brilliantly arcing around British U21 champion Wilson to silence the home faithful.
The Stars completed the job when Topinka and Mills shut out Sanchez behind Legault to cue joyous scenes amongst the visiting support staff - Lynn's heroes returning to the pits through a guard of honour.
Nermark put the champagne on ice to take a swift heat-ten flag - the Swede fending off a last ditch challenge from Ashworth as the Sheffield heat leader poured on the pressure exiting turn four.
Doolan nudged his compatriot out of the limelight to claim heat 11 against a deflated Sheffield pair - Batchelor settling for a watching brief in the rear.
Sanchez halted Lynn's victory procession with a sharp gate to take the next with Harding leading home team-mate Mills.
Ashworth flew the tapes to crowd out Doolan, but Topinka's class forced Lyons to settle for a rare pointless outing as the hosts maintained their slender lead on the night.
Nermark turned in a classy penultimate flag but Sheffield squared the heat to stay on course to claim the meeting laurels.
Ashworth secured the win in the finale, but it was Lynn taking the plaudits as the entire side - along with Rob Lyon and Stars co-promoter Jonathan Chapman - toured round for an impromptu lap of honour.
Tigers: Ashworth 13+1, Wilson 7+1, Sanchez 8+1, Legault 10+1, Lyons 8, Cooper 1, Compton 1+1.
Stars: Doolan 9, Batchelor 8, Harding 4+1, Nermark 9+1, Topinka 5+1, Mills 6+2, Oliver 4+2.