WOLVES BOOK PLAY-OFF PLACE

Thursday September 05, 2019
WOLVERHAMPTON sensationally booked their place in the Premiership play-offs with a stunning performance at Poole.
Parrys International Wolves took all four league points with a storming 49-41 victory - and with Belle Vue dropping a point at Peterborough, that confirmed a top four finish.

Even on a night when skipper Rory Schlein was withdrawn with a shoulder injury, the Monmore men were bouncing in the pits after a spirited performance at Wimborne Road.

They sent a message out to the high flying Pirates from the off by winning the opening four races.

That allowed them to open up an early eight-point lead with three of them advantages over the Dorset side.

American talent Luke Becker featured in all three too on a brilliant show of maturity and class from the 20-year-old as he quickly put Monday’s individual night to forget in the win over King’s Lynn well and truly behind him.

He took the chequered flag in Heats 1 and 4, making the most of two excellent starts from the inside gate and riding a brilliant line to hold off the fast charging Jack Holder in the latter.

In between those races he settled in behind reserve partner Ryan Douglas in the second for a 5-1 maximum before Schlein found some much needed drive into the first turn to get ahead of his rivals in Heat 3.

The hosts provided their first race winner of the night in Heat 5 when former Wolf Nicolai Klindt reacted quickest, but Douglas and Sam Masters kept Poole skipper Josh Grajczonek behind them for a share of the spoils.

Heat 6 saw Wolves’ lead temporarily halved as they conceded their first maximum of the night before an awkward moment in the seventh saw Holder tangle with Schlein with both riders eventually hitting the deck.

Both took their place in the re-run and were involved in a thrilling tussle, exchanging places on more than one occasion. Holder eventually got his nose back in front to finish second while Nick Morris recovered from a last place in his opening ride to lead the 4-2.

Morris then combined with Becker for a 5-1 in the ninth, both coming either side of Nico Covatti into bend three after the home man got away with a huge flyer as the Wolves moved 10 up.

The hosts responded with back-to-back maximums though to crank up the pressure – but that was soaked up well by No.1 Sam Masters who recorded successive race wins in Heats 11 and 13 to to deny the visitors the chance to close the gap.

Wolves thought they’d got it won in the penultimate race when Tomas H Jonasson fell after clouting the back of Morris, but Grajczonek flew around the two Wolves to set up a last heat decider.

Masters and Morris piled on the pressure of a fast starting Klindt and forced two errors from the Dane to seal a dramatic last gasp 5-1 to keep their title dreams alive.

Team boss Peter Adams said: “We’ve come up with one of our best performances of the season at just the right time.

“For once Poole’s reserves were a bit of a let down for them with only one point between them all night whereas we had the star of the show in Luke Becker and Dougy (Ryan Douglas) was very good early on in the meeting.

“But I don’t want to single anyone out; everyone did their level best and they all contributed to what is a fantastic result for us.

“We’ve done it with only five-and-a-half fit riders as well when you think we were already without Kyle Howarth and then Rory who has ended up with a very sore shoulder and will need x-rays so we know what’s up with him.

“But this is another fantastic result like I say and it confirms our place in the play-offs.

“I’ve been saying for some time now that the team is gradually improving meeting by meeting and now to keep that going.”

Wolves will aim to keep their momentum going with a final regular league trip to Peterborough on Tuesday, September 17 (7.30).

POOLE 41: Nicolai Klindt 15, Brady Kurtz 8+2, Jack Holder 8, Josh Grajczonek 6+2, Nico Covatti 3+1, Ricky Wells 1, Tomas H Jonasson 0.
WOLVERHAMPTON 49: Luke Becker 15+1, Nick Morris 11+3, Sam Masters 10+2, Ryan Douglas 5, Jacob Thorssell 4, Rory Schlein 4, Kyle Howarth R/R.

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