King's Lynn Premiership Pairs hopes suffer a blow at Wolverhampton
King's Lynn’s Premiership Pairs hopes suffered a serious blow as they were restricted to a fourth-place finish in the fourth round at Wolverhampton.
The Minors & Brady Stars had gone into the meeting third overall, and whilst fellow contenders Sheffield suffered a disaster and finished sixth, Ipswich took the opportunity to extend their overall advantage with a third successive victory.
It does mean Lynn move into second place in the standings, but the Witches are now 12 points clear.
Stars duo Josh Pickering and Richard Lawson made a strong start to the meeting with a 6-3 over Peterborough in Heat 1.
But they then frequently found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time on a baking hot night in the West Midlands.
Lawson was a convincing winner of the opener with Pickering just missing out to Scott Nicholls for second place as the Panthers’ Chris Harris came to grief.
But they then conceded a 6-3 to the home side in their next outing despite the efforts of Pickering, who surged inside Nick Morris on the third bend in a move which almost created space for Lawson to follow him through.
The clash with Ipswich, though, in Heat 9, was where things really went wrong as Lawson got out of shape on turn one and Troy Batchelor shot through to join Jason Doyle up front and then completed a strong defence of second place ahead of Pickering.
Heat 11 saw the Stars face Belle Vue with both sides using that race for the compulsory outing for their reserves, and whilst the impressive Max Fricke held off Pickering for the win, Tom Brennan got the better of Jason Edwards for third place.
By now Wolves, Belle Vue and Ipswich had pulled clear at the top of the standings, but the Stars still had the opportunity to finish best of the rest.
A stunning ride by Harris to pass Doyle and Batchelor in Heat 13 left the Panthers on 20 points, but Pickering and Lawson took a big 7-2 over Sheffield in the next to edge back ahead of their A47 rivals.
But Ipswich enjoyed a huge stroke of fortune when Wolverhampton’s Morris crashed in the semi-final, and Doyle and Batchelor went on to out-gate the Belle Vue pairing in the Final to put them 12 points clear overall with two rounds remaining.
Belle Vue 31: Max Fricke 20, Brady Kurtz 9, Tom Brennan 2.
Ipswich 27: Jason Doyle 18, Troy Batchelor 9, Danyon Hume 0.
Wolverhampton 24: Sam Masters 16, Nick Morris 8, Joe Thompson 0.
King's Lynn 21: Josh Pickering 14, Richard Lawson 7, Jason Edwards 0.
Peterborough 20: Chris Harris 13, Scott Nicholls 7, Jordan Jenkins 0.
Sheffield 12: Adam Ellis 8, Jack Holder 2, Connor Mountain 2.
Semi-final: Ipswich beat Wolverhampton 6-3.
Final: Ipswich beat Belle Vue 7-2.
Round Four: Ipswich 12, Belle Vue 8, Wolverhampton 6, King’s Lynn 4, Peterborough 2, Sheffield 0.
Standings: Ipswich 38, King’s Lynn 26, Sheffield 24, Belle Vue 22, Wolverhampton 10, Peterborough 8.