Monday April 24, 2023
KING’S Lynn are out of the Premiership KO Cup after a 56-34 home defeat at the hands of Sheffield at the Adrian Flux Arena on Monday.

The Tigers, who have an outstanding record of success in Norfolk over recent years, already held a 26-point lead going into the meeting but showed no mercy as they raced to an emphatic victory.

Grand Prix rider Jack Holder stormed to a five-ride paid maximum and former Stars man Richard Lawson was also unbeaten from four outings having come in at late notice as a guest for the injured Tobiasz Musielak.

In all truth the Tigers were always strong favourites to progress with or without a guest, with the Stars further hampered by the absence due to injury of skipper Josh Pickering just as he was set to be a high-scoring reserve.

As it was, the main late resistance came from Krzysztof Kasprzak as he won his third and fourth rides and came close to spoiling Holder’s maximum in Heat 15 before the Australian surged through on the inside.

But before Kasprzak even took to the track on the night, the Stars were 10-2 down as the Tigers carded 5-1 advantages in the first two races, with Michael Palm Toft becoming the first home winner in Heat 4.

The battling Thomas Jorgensen split Adam Ellis and Lewis Kerr in Heat 6 to prevent another possible 5-1, but Lawson and David Bellego did race to maximum points in Heat 7 as the Tigers moved clear on the night.

A win for Kasprzak over Kerr and Ellis in Heat 9 came in the first of two successive shared heats, before Holder and Kyle Howarth collected their second 5-1 as a combination and were quickly backed up by Lawson and Kerr ahead of Frederik Jakobsen in the next race.

Holder quickly worked his way to the front at the expense of stand-in captain Nicolai Klindt in Heat 13 before the Stars gained some minor late consolation with a 5-1 from Kasprzak and guest Simon Lambert in the penultimate race.

Team manager Alex Brady said: “Preparation was good today, the riders on track walk were saying it was the perfect track, and it’s difficult to put into words exactly how I’m feeling.

“I apologise to everyone who came and to summarise the one word I’d use is gutless. There were a couple of decent performances but beyond that it was pathetic.

“I’m not afraid to pull my punches, I let the riders know my feelings during the meeting and I’ve let them know again in the changing rooms afterwards.

“All I can say is I hope they can produce a reaction, because we seriously need one. We knew it would be tough to qualify because we didn’t do ourselves justice away, but the expectation was to come here and win, and run it as close as we could, and even from Heat 1 onwards we weren’t in contention.

“You can’t ride the way we rode tonight and expect to win, it’s that simple, and some people need a wake-up call very quickly.”

The Stars switch their attentions back to the league on Thursday when they head to Leicester, with Craig Cook and Steve Worrall booked to make guest appearances.

Cook replaces Pickering, whose initial scans showed no broken bones although he is seeking a second opinion, whilst Worrall comes in for Kasprzak who has a re-arranged Polish Ekstraliga fixture.

KING’S LYNN 34: Krzysztof Kasprzak 9+1, Thomas Jorgensen 8+1, Frederik Jakobsen 5, Simon Lambert 4+1, Michael Palm Toft 4, Nicolai Klindt 3+1, Jason Edwards 1.
SHEFFIELD 56: Jack Holder 14+1, Richard Lawson 11+1, Kyle Howarth 9+1, Lewis Kerr 7+2, Adam Ellis 7+1, Dan Gilkes 5, David Bellego 3.
Sheffield win 114-66 on aggregate

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