Coventry Buildbase Bees are through to the Knock Out Cup final after holding Birmingham to a draw in the second leg at Perry Barr on Tuesday.
With the weather still affecting the remaining fixtures Bees will once again not know who their opponents will be until tomorrow (Friday), which is scheduled for their leg of the tie.
Birmingham 45, Bees 45.
K.O.Cup semi-final, second leg.
Both teams were similar to those in the first leg, the only change being Adam Roynon returning to the Bee’s reserve berth after injury.
Holding a six-point lead from the first leg Bees did not make the start they had wanted after Chris Harris fell on turn four when under pressure from Josh Auty. Although Aaron Summers rode a good race to take second place in the rerun which was won by Danny King, the home side had already pulled back a third of the deficit.
There were further worries in the Bees camp when Roynon fell after a hectic first turn to heat two. Fortunately he was O.K. and partnered Michel Szczepniak to a comfortable 5-1 in the rerun.
Kenni Larsen led from the start in heat three but both he and Scott Nicholls were overtaken by King on turn two. Nicholls gave chase and after a good race got the verdict over the Brummies skipper on the line.
Bees now led by four points on the night, but the home side hit back in heat four. Szczepaniak led until a third lap mistake let Ben Barker by on the second turn. Edward Kennett’s efforts to overtake Martin Smolinski came to an end after a third lap fall.
Auty was excluded from heat five after a second turn fall. In the rerun good work by Harris in clamping down on Sebastian Ulamek allowed Summers to come through for second place with the 5-1 restoring Bees six point advantage.
A two in one heat seven saw Nicholls get the better of Barker but with Larsen losing out to Smolinski the points were shared.
Nicolas Covetti won a shared heat eight before Ulamek and Barker brought the home side back in contention with an easy heat nine maximum.
King made the start to heat ten but a slight mix-up between Nicholls and Larsen allowed him to get clear and record his third race win of the night.
The next two heats were shared leaving Bees two ahead on the night and eight overall with three races left.
Harris and Larsen took a 4-2 in heat thirteen to virtually seal the tie.
Smolinski and Covatti took maximum points in heat fourteen but it was too late.
Harris finished off a good night by winning heat fifteen despite a good effort by King, leaving the scores level on the night.
A draw was a fair result for what was an entertaining meeting in far from ideal conditions. All of Bees contributed to the score with only Larsen (four) and in particular Kennett, who only managed a solitary third place, having below par nights.
Bee’s scorers; Harris 10(1), Szczepaniak 9(1), Nicholls 8(2), Summers 8(1), Roynon 5(1), Larsen 4, Kennett 1(1)
Chris Harris took third spot in Saturday’s Elite League Riders championship at Swindon.
In a field hit by a crop of late withdrawals, Harris rode steadily in the qualifying rounds to score eleven points. Scott Nicholls scored one less but it was enough to put both men in the semi-final, two of which went through to join Chris Holder and Niles Kristian Iversen, who went directly to the final.
Harris beat Rory Schlein to clinch his final place but Nicholls finished at the back.
The final itself was an incident packed affair who Schlein having the most problems. At the first attempt bunching from the tapes saw Schlein take a tumble before entering the first turn. After a lengthy delay he was able to take part in the rerun only to come down again when attempting to overtake on the tricky third and fourth bends. At the third attempt to run it was newly crowned World Champion Holder from Iversen, with Harris having to be content with third place.
Bee’s outstanding Elite League fixture at Belle Vue on Monday was once again postponed due to bad weather. No new date has been fixed and with the season drawing to a close, there must be serious doubts as to whether it will ever get ridden.
Bees are scheduled to ride their leg of the Knock Out Cup tomorrow (Friday). Once again their opponents have still to race their semi-final so fans are advised to watch the local press for details. Their opponents are either Poole or Peterborough, with the two legs due to be ridden on Wednesday and Thursday.