Brave King's Lynn Stars suffer play-off heartache
PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL SECOND LEG
King's Lynn Stars 51 Poole Pirates 39
(Poole win 92-88 on aggregate)
Losing their Danish duo proved a step too far for King’s Lynn in their quest to win the top flight title for the first time in their history on Wednesday.
Poole won the title on aggregate with one heat remaining in a 3-3 result headed by Lynn's Thomas Jorgensen and a final heat 5-1 from Erik Riss and skipper Robert Lambert – both paid maximum men – was a late but scant consolation by beating Josh Grajczonek and the stalling Chris Harris.
Depleted hosts Lynn put up a brave fight in a bid to claw back a 16-point first leg deficit in front of both a massive crowd – which caused the meeting to start 15 minutes late – and the BT Sport cameras.
However a solid Poole one-to seven had just too much left in the bank and it took Lynn until Heat 12 to get the deficit down to single figures with a 5-1 maximum race win from vice-skipper Ty Proctor and reserve Simon Lambert, who had swapped bikes.
Spearheads Robert Lambert and the following Riss had got Lynn off to a perfect start with a 5-1 maximum heat win, heading off opposite numbers Harris and Grajczonek.
However ex-Lynn rider Richie Worrall won Heat 2 in a 4-2 away result to stem the Stars’ tide. Jorgensen backed up Proctor in a Heat 3 maximum.
The Tru Plant Stars had lost multiple national title-winner Niels-Kristian Iversen before the championship-deciding Premiership Grand Final first leg at Poole on Monday.
Furthermore, double disaster befell Lynn in that opening salvo at Wimborne Road when key reserve rider Michael Palm Toft broke his hand in a controversial Heat 12 that also saw him excluded.
The Stars had a crumb of comfort in the fact they soared to a 58-32 victory when the sides last met at the Adrian Flux Arena in late August. But that was with Iversen and Palm Toft in a full strength side.
Former Poole man Adam Ellis – guesting for Iversen – had a good previous experience of riding in West Norfolk; he guested for Lynn at the Saddlebow Road stadium in a double-header against Leicester in September and scored 9 and 11 points. But he did not score in three out of four outings, and other guest Kyle Howarth also struggled.
Grand Prix ace Iversen had crashed in Tomasz Gollob’s Benefit meeting in Bydgoszcz, Poland, while Poole were missing Brady Kurtz.
King's Lynn Stars: Robert Lambert 12+2, Erik Riss 13+2, Ty Proctor 10, Thomas Jorgensen 6+1, Adam Ellis (guest) 3, Kyle Howarth (guest) 3, Simon Lambert 4+1. Fastest time: R.Lambert, 58.31secs, Heat 6.
Poole Pirates: Chris Harris 5+1, Josh Grajczonek 8, Kacper Woryna 2+1, Nicolai Klindt 6+1, Nick Morris 7, Richie Worrall 6, Frederik Jakobsen 5+1.