King's Lynn Stars battle back to secure draw in final home Premiership meeting of the season
Lewis Kerr starred as King’s Lynn Stars drew 45-45 in a last-heat decider in their final home SGB Premiership meeting of the season versus Sheffield tonight (Thursday).
Guest Michael Palm Toft and Dersingham’s Kerr (14+1 points), who relinquished the captaincy for the evening, followed home final Heat 15 winner Josh Pickering as the hosts belied their basement status.
Lynn were behind virtually all night until levelling matters in the penultimate race on an evening where they revealed two of their line-up for next season.
Palm Toft, who almost helped guide Lynn to the league title in a memorable 2018 campaign, was the guest for number one Richard Lawson, who suffered a collarbone injury earlier in the week at Wolverhampton.
One of the highlights of the season, Thomas Jorgensen was made captain for the night.
Jack Holder won the opening race for play-offs qualifiers Sheffield, followed by Palm Toft and ex-Star Troy Batchelor just ahead of Ben Barker on the line.
Visitor Danyon Hume won the reserves’ race ahead of home pair Kasper Andersen and Connor Mountain in a shared result.
So impressive last time here at the Adrian Flux Arena, Pickering blazed to a tapes-to-flag Heat 3 victory ahead of usual Lynn skipper Lewis Kerr ahead of Kyle Howarth and Star Erik Riss to go 7-11 ahead.
Sheffield stretched this lead to six points with their third 4-2 heat advantage via winner Adam Ellis with Jorgensen battling into second.
Holder notched his second win in a shared 3-3 with Kerr and Riss occupying the scoring places.
British champion Ellis joined Holder in the double winners’ enclosure and meant an away rider provided the first six race victors in another 3-3: Barker and Palm Toft came next.
After some track grading, Pickering won Heat 7 in Sheffield’s fourth 4-2 - Jorgensen and third-spot Howarth somehow stayed on the bike.
Battling Barker broke the Sheffield winning sequence to grab Lynn’s opening heat advantage, with Anderson in third to leave the scores 21-27 at the midway stage.
Then Kerr sped out of the traps and Lynn looked good for a first 5-1 until Ellis found speed from somewhere to pass Riss on the third straight to grab the runners-up slot.
Winner Palm Toft and third-spot Barker closed the deficit to two (29-31) before the Heat 10 interval when Lynn confirmed Lawson and dashing Dane Jorgensen will return for the 2022 Premiership season.
But the away side hit back with the first 5-1 via Holder and Batchelor.
However Howarth fell in Heat 12 and tactical sub Kerr and Andersen bagged a 5-1 in return to take advantage in the three-man re-run.
Heat 13 was awarded and shared as Ellis fell on the final lap, and Kerr bagged his thord win for a vital Heat 14 4-2 which left the scores all-square at 42-42.
Lynn Stars: Michael Palm Toft (guest) 10+1, Ben Barker 6, Erik Riss 2+1, Lewis Kerr 14+1, Thomas Jorgensen (captain) 5+1, Connor Mountain 2+1, Kasper Andersen 6+1.
Sheffield Tigers: Jack Holder 12, Troy Batchelor 5+1, Kyle Howarth 2, Josh Pickering 13, Adam Ellis (capt.) 8, Danyon Hume 4, Jack Thomas 1.
Fastest time: Ellis, Heat 6, 59.13 seconds.