Monday September 17, 2018
BATTLING King’s Lynn scraped through to the Knockout Cup Final in a dramatic encounter against Swindon at the Adrian Flux Arena.

Skipper Robert Lambert and Erik Riss were the last heat heroes as the duo raced to a final 5-1 to secure a 51-39 win on home ground.

It was a fourth heat advantage of the night for the No.1 and 2 pairing as the Tru Plant Stars successfully overturned a six-point deficit from the first leg.

The win may have come at a cost ahead of next week’s Play-Off Semi-Final first leg at Belle Vue though, with Danish star Niels-Kristian Iversen forced to pull out with a suspected knee problem after a spill in heat seven.

The hosts looked in control early doors and were back level on aggregate as early as the second race thanks to a Lambert double.

Skipper Robert worked his way past an out of control David Bellego to lead a 4-2 in the first before reserve Simon got the better of Swindon guest Theo Pijper to claim second behind team-mate Michael Palm Toft for an early, important maximum in Heat Two.

And Simon Lambert again used all of his Adrian Flux Arena knowledge to send Australian International Nick Morris wide in the opening bends, creating a gap for Iversen as the hosts registered another 5-1 to move back in front overall.

But the ding-dong battle continued when Bellego and former King’s Lynn man Troy Batchelor responded with a maximum of their own in the fifth before Riss and Robert Lambert rode superbly together in the next to restore the four point aggregate lead.

But then would come the race which saw Iversen take a tumble on his own in the seventh as he was escorted off track by paramedics.

Neither side were willing to go down without a fight though and there was hardly anything to separate the sides as the contest sat on a knife edge.

The Stars headed into the last race knowing a shared heat would be enough, but hearts were in their mouths when Robert Lambert took a heavy tumble after colliding with Batchelor in the opening bends.

But the skipper picked himself up from the dirt to ride home with Riss again as the Stars kept their dream of a league and cup double alive on an unforgettable night in Norfolk.

Stars boss Dale Allitt said: “It may have been a bit closer than we’d have ideally liked but when you think it wasn’t all plain sailing, we’ll take it.

“To think we were again without Ty Proctor, to think we lost Niels in heat seven – that just makes this even more impressive once again.

“Back in the pits Niels put his weight on the bike after his crash, it wasn’t right, so we had to go with Injury Rider Replacement for the remainder of the night because we’ve still got a lot of matches to go and we need Niels full fit for those.

“It got a bit nervy towards the end and it was a really bad crash with Robert in Heat 15.

“I’m not completely convinced that there wasn’t a little bit to it and I think we were a little bit harshly done to that we ended up with all four back for the re-run.

“But Robert got himself up off the floor with a knock and a completely destroyed bike and epitomised the whole team spirit once again; we don’t give up, we don’t lie down and roll over, we fight until the very end.

“We’re already in the play-offs, now we’re in the Knockout Cup Final – what a fantastic season we’re having!”

KING’S LYNN 51: Robert Lambert 14+1, Erik Riss 12+3, Michael Palm Toft 12+1, Simon Lambert 7+1, Thomas Jorgensen 4+2, Niels-Kristian Iversen 2+1, Ty Proctor R/R.
SWINDON 39: Tobiasz Musielak 13, Troy Batchelor 9+2, David Bellego 9, Nick Morris 6+1, Theo Pijper 2+1, Scott Campos 0, Adam Ellis R/R.
King’s Lynn win 93-87 on aggregate.

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