King's Lynn Stars suffer more final heartache
Knockout Cup final second leg
King’s Lynn Stars 45 Somerset Rebels 45
(Rebels win 82-98 on aggregate)
King's Lynn Stars suffered their second speedway final heartbreak in the space of a week on Thursday at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Injury-hit Lynn bravely failed in their mission to overhaul a 16-point deficit following the previous night’s defeat at Somerset Rebels by 53-37 – the same amount of points they had to overturn last week against Poole in the league title decider – but scrapped to a draw.
Lynn needed an electric start but once they didn’t get this the overall result was somewhat inevitable.
A problem with the Somerset riders’ averages, which had ramifications about who could take rider replacement outings, delayed the tapes-up with Coty Garcia hastily put in as a guest in place of Jake Allen.
The Rebels fielded among their guests Chris Harris who was part of the Pirates’ Premiership championship-winning side. Also standing in the hosts’ way was reigning world champion Jason Doyle. The ultra-consistent Aussie has scored paid double figures in all but one of his 22 league meetings.
The Saddlebow Road stadium outfit needed a good start from top two riders Robert Lambert and Erik Riss. But skipper Lambert was just edged out by Doyle in a superb 3-3 shared race. When the visitors won the next three outings, including a 5-1 from Harris/Nico Covatti, Lynn were 16-8 down.
The Stars hit back with a sixth-heat first home maximum from Riss and R. Lambert over Harris and Garcia to make it 17-19 but Somerset replied with a 4-2.
At the midway stage Lynn were 22-26 behind after Riss ended Richard Lawson’s unbeaten spell while Covatti took third from Simon Lambert on the last lap.
When sparkling reserve Covatti and Harris took a Heat 9 maximum it looked all over, but Lynn again showed fighting spirit to come back with a Heat 10 maximum from Rob Lambert/Riss.
Niels-Kristian Iversen and captain Lambert gave Lynn some late cheer with their third 5-1 in Heat 13; swiftly followed by Thomas Jorgensen and reserve guest Tero Aarnio performing the same trick.
The nominated final heat went to skipper Lambert in the fastest time of the night to secure a draw and a 16-point aggregate loss.
King's Lynn: Robert Lambert 12+2, Erik Riss 10+2, Ty Proctor 6, Thomas Jorgensen 6, Niels-Kristian Iversen 7, Tero Aarnio (guest) 2+1, Simon Lambert 2. Fastest time: R.Lambert, Heat 15, 58.34
Thomas Jorgensen, Heat 14, 58.58.
R.Lambert, Heat 10, 58.65.
Somerset: Jason Doyle 9, Aaron Summers r/r, Paul Starke (guest) 6, Richard Lawson 9, Chris Harris (guest) 8+1, Jake Allen 1, Nico Covatti 12+3.
Norfolk-born skipper Robert Lambert said in the club programme he’d welcome a possible return to Lynn in 2019: “I’d probably say this is the happiest I’ve felt at King's Lynn and I definitely hope we can sort something out pretty quickly so that I’m back here next year.
“I’ve made a lot of progress this season and I think being captain and being at No.1 has helped with that.
“This is my local club and everything about it is just ideal for me.”