Young Stars win marred by injury
Young Stars 46, Buxton 44 (Buxton won 102-81 on aggregate)
Cal McDade's suspected broken thigh injury marred the Young Stars' National League KO Cup final, second leg win over worthy champions Buxton last night at the Norfolk Arena.
McDade was taken to hospital after hitting the deck in the penultimate tour before Lewis Dallerway was unable to avoid the stricken home racer. Dallerway walked back to the pits but McDade needed lengthy treatment trackside by paramedics during a 25 minute delay to the meeting. Buxton had already secured the aggregate win but Dale Allitt's youngsters closed out victory on the night in the re-run. Allitt's septet had always faced an uphill task against a Buxton side hunting on a clean sweep of the sport's third tier this season.
Skipper Simon Lambert's win in the opener followed by Jake Knight triumphing in the reserves briefly raised home hopes of overturning a 23 point first leg deficit but Hitmen captain Adam Allott led his troops superbly from the front. The Lynn old boy could count on solid support from reigning National League riders' champion Craig Cook and Robert Branford.
Darren Mallett and Lambert spearheaded the hosts' challenge but the Young Stars were unable to build on early momentum. Oliver Rayson dipped inside Cook to chase home Lambert in a perfect start for the home side. Knight then pounced when Ritchie Worrall glided wide in the reserves with McDade grabbing a priceless point. Adam Lowe slammed into the top boards in the next - forcing the first of a series of delays whilst track staff replaced the battered panel. Outnumbered team mate Lewis Kerr stalked Branford in the re-run but had to settle for second. Mallett and Allott diced for supremacy in heat four with Knight briefly jousting with Worrall. Cook trapped smoothly for the first Buxton heat advantage as the visitors look to quell the early onslaught.
Mallett's heat seven flag aided by McDade's cool defensive line to repel Branford cut Buxton's aggregate lead to 17 points but only Rayson's last bend assault prevented the champions hitting back in kind.
Lowe produced similar heroics to foil Dallerway with the Young Stars' primary objective now to win the second leg. Lambert secured the first home heat advantage since the second tour in heat ten to underline Buxton's dogged determination to preserve their first leg lead.
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Mallett's colours were lowered in the next to mathematically secure Buxton the crown but Lynn's Premier League racer and Lambert exacted a measure of revenge in a high class heat 13 duel. McDade's spill brought proceedings to a temporary halt but Buxton signed off in style with a maximum in the finale.
Young Stars: Lambert 12, Rayson 6+2, Kerr 2, Lowe 7, Mallett 9+1, McDade 3+1, Knight 7.
Buxton: Cook 9+1, Branford 13+1, Garrity 3+1, Allott 12, Dallerway 1, Worrall 6+1.
Buxton completed a quickfire double with a 39-32 win in the National League meeting that followed the final. The league fixture was held over 12 heats after the lengthy delays in the final that preceeded the meeting.