MILDENHALL captain Dan Halsey won the National League Riders’ Championship at Rye House on Sunday. Halsey, who started his career at Hoddesdon in 2005, scored eleven points from his first four rides and needed another victory in Heat 20 to clinch the crown ahead of Cradley’s Steve Worrall. At the first attempt another Heathen, Paul Starke, was disqualified after falling and in the re-run Halsey fended off the third Cradley rider in the field, Max Clegg, to finish on 14 points. Worrall was second on 13 with Kent’s Ben Morley then beating Joe Jacobs (Mildenhall) in a run-off for third.
Hasley said: “Today has been a long time coming. I’ve been one of the favourites for this event a couple of times in the past, but today I was far from it, so I was able to come here with no pressure. “I wasn’t happy when the red light came on in the first staging of my last one, but when I came back into the pits my team told me to put my head down and not think about anything but getting focussed for the re-run, which I won in a real tussle. “I want to thank all the Mildenhall supporters who were here this afternoon. They make this sport worth doing, and they made a difference today.”
NEWCASTLE have set up a Knockout Cup semi-final clash with Edinburgh after winning 55-35 at Glasgow on Sunday. The Diamonds already led by 16 points going into the meeting and dominated the race wins at Ashfield, taking the flag on all but two occasions with Ludvig Lindgren scoring 14 and Danny King smashing the track record in Heat 1.
Newcastle boss George English said: “We were confident of making the semi, but the manner and size of our victory today even took us by surprise, and again Ludvig top scored, as he did in the first leg magnificently backed up by Danny and Stuart Robson. With the top three taking 11 wins between them and Lewis Kerr also taking two it only left two heat wins for the home side, who looked shell-shocked soon on in the night.”
Glasgow had been forced into several changes with late withdrawals of Kevin Wolbert, Rusty Harrison and Victor Palovaara, whilst Mason Campton and Tero Aarnio were unable to complete the meeting.
Tigers skipper Theo Pijper said: “We were always likely to struggle with the loss of Rusty and Kevin in particular, and we hoped that with Victor now down at reserve we could have seen a better points return from him. “Newcastle unfortunately had too much fire power for us today, on another day and with our own riders in the side I think we should certainly have won.”
KING’S Lynn have called upon Scott Nicholls to guest for the injured Niels-Kristian Iversen in the first leg of their Elite League play-off semi-final against Poole. The Pirates edged out the Stars at the top of the table on points difference and elected to travel to the Norfolk Arena for Monday’s encounter, with the visitors bringing in Danny King and Craig Cook to replace Darcy Ward (suspended) and Josh Grajczonek (injured). Kenneth Bjerre is set to return for King’s Lynn, who led the regular league competition for much of the campaign.
Stars boss Rob Lyon said: “We know it will be a hard task and it would have been even with a full team of our own riders, but we will be giving it everything we can to achieve our goals for this season. “I know Scott will be giving it everything to help us reach the final stages of the competition.”
Poole promoter Matt Ford said: “Both clubs would prefer to be fielding their usual one-to-sevens but the incidents of the last six weeks or so have hit us both hard. “We will be looking for a solid all-round team performance. A win will certainly be our ultimate goal but these play-offs are all about aggregate points and so it is important that, if we can't pull off the victory, we keep the scores as close as possible, ideally to within six points.”
COVENTRY and Swindon meet at Brandon on Monday in the first leg of their Elite League play-off semi-final tie. The Bees finished nine points ahead of the Robins in the regular table but the visitors go into the play-offs at full strength and are listed as title favourites by many observers. Kyle Howarth returns for Coventry, who bring in Aaron Summers to guest for the injured Ben Barker. The last Brandon clash between the clubs produced plenty of controversy as Coventry won 53-40, whilst when they met at Blunsdon three weeks ago Swindon raced to an emphatic 60-31 victory.
Bees boss Gary Havelock said: “It’s definitely a meeting we can win. Swindon have been here twice and won once, and we’ve been there and the same has happened. “Last time at Swindon was a bit of a freak result, and I know we won’t lose as badly there again next week, but the home leg is massively important – we’re not putting any sort of figures on a lead, but we want to win the meeting.”
Swindon manager Alun Rossiter said: “I’m feeling good about it, we’ve had a good run but it all starts again now. “We have to feel confident with the form we’ve run into, not over-confident but we should be feeling good.”
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 29: ELITE LEAGUE PLAY-OFF S/F 1st leg: Coventry v Swindon 7.30, King’s Lynn v Poole 7.30
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 30: NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAY-OFF S/F 1st leg: Cradley v Mildenhall 7.30
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1: PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Somerset v Scunthorpe 7.30
THURSDAY OCTOBER 2: PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Ipswich v Somerset 7.30
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3: PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Scunthorpe v Ipswich 7.30 PREMIER LEAGUE KO CUP S/F 1st leg: Edinburgh v Newcastle 7.30 NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAY-OFF S/F 2nd leg: Coventry v Kent 7.30