King's Lynn Stars demolish Ipswich Witches to reach League Cup final
New Stars skipper, paid-maximum man Josh Pickering, beat former world champion Jason Doyle three times as King’s Lynn reached the league cup final in style by demolishing depleted visitors Ipswich 56-34 tonight (Monday).
A Heat 13 5-1 triumph at the Adrian Flux Arena by Lynn's Niels-Kristian Iversen and Richard Lawson over Danny King and Australian Doyle to make the scores 48-30 confirmed what had become clear midway through the meeting.
The Witches were without illness victims Cameron Heeps and Paul Starke plus they operated rider-replacement for former Lynn rider Erik Riss – flying Finn Tero Aarnio came in for Heeps while another ex-Star, Kasper Andersen, replaced Starke at reserve.
Danyon Hume, Witches number eight, took the first away 'r/r' in the opening outing and bagged a useful third spot behind winner Jason Doyle, the former world champion, and Iversen in an Ipswich 2-4.
Victor Richie Worrall ensured a shared reserves' race while the Minors & Brady Stars' new winning skipper Josh Pickering and Dersingham's Lewi Kerr, third, levelled matters at 9-9.
Kerr and Pickering took the Heat 5 scalp of Doyle on the night's opening 5-1 maximum victory as Lynn led for the first time, 17-13.
Two more shared outings followed then the Saddlebow Road stadium side claimed their second 5-1 from Thomas Jorgensen and birthday boy Jack Thomas.
This prompted Ipswich to insert Doyle as a tactical sub but Aussie Pickering again took his compatriot's scalp in a thrilling position-swapping battle which Lynn's captain took on the line.
Jorgensen won his second race in a row in Lynn's second successive 4-2 with fellow Dane Iversen in third to open up a 36-24 lead after Heat 10.
Doyle led from the front to remind fans of his class, but Worrall and team-mate Lawson filled the next two places to minimise the damage.
Already a fans' favourite, Pickering completed his hat-trick with Thomas third to make it 43-29.
Local rider Kerr bagged his second win in the penultimate race alongside Worrall, Lynn's fourth maximum.
Kerr joined Pickering in Heat 15 versus Aussie duo Batchelor and Doyle. Pickering swapped places once with Doyle before surging to his fourth win.
The Minors & Brady Stars made the final with a Southern group stage meeting to spare and on Thursday they travel to Ipswich for the return at Foxhall.
King's Lynn Stars: Niels-Kristian Iversen 7+1, Thomas Jorgensen 8, Josh Pickering (captain) 14+1, Lewis Kerr 8, Richard Lawson 7+2, Richie Worrall 8+2, Jack Thomas 4+2.
Ipswich Witches: Jason Doyle 11, Erik Riss R/R, Troy Batchelor 10+1, Tero Aarnio 0, Danny King (capt) 7, Kasper Andersen 1+1, Anders Rowe 4; No.8 Danyon Hume 1.
Fastest time: Pickering, Heat 3, 59.28 seconds.