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Semi-final showdown is set for Wolves and Tigers

The semi-finals of the Premiership play-offs will see Wolverhampton face Sheffield – with the first leg at Monmore Green on Monday.

Wolves: Jeff Davies
Wolves: Jeff Davies

The Tigers confirmed top spot in the table as at last night’s cut-off with a 57-33 home victory over Belle Vue, meaning they will be the opponents for the fourth-placed Parrys International Wolves.

And Wolves will go into the meeting off the back of their heaviest defeat of the season as they were beaten 63-27 at King’s Lynn.

It was a night with little to cheer for the Monmore men, who clearly have a far bigger match to focus on next week, and it showed in their overall performance. Wolves collected just one race win, courtesy of Nick Morris in Heat 4, as the Stars struck a rich vein of form which has been absent for much of the campaign, leading to their own failure to reach the play-offs.

Richie Worrall struck a five-ride paid maximum for the hosts whilst Danish international Frederik Jakobsen showed the value of a powerful reserve with paid-17 from a six-ride stint – and former Wolves man Nicolai Klindt only missed out in Heat 15 after opening up with four straight wins.

For Wolves there were problems aplenty with skipper Sam Masters twice retiring from races whilst Steve Worrall crashed out of Heat 5 as he tried to get on terms with Josh Pickering. The Stars went 14-4 up after three races including a surprise 5-1 involving guest reserve Ryan Kinsley in Heat 2, before Morris pulled off Wolves’ ride of the night to re-pass Richard Lawson for a fine win in Heat 4.

Morris was involved in another big battle, this time with Klindt, in Heat 6, but the Danish rider prevailed and Jakobsen quickly cleared a faster-starting Luke Becker in Heat 7.

It was all one-way traffic in mid-meeting with Morris defeated by Pickering and Worrall for a 5-1 in Heat 9, although Becker worked hard to split Klindt and Thomas Jorgensen in the next.

The Stars then slammed in four successive 5-1s, albeit with a touch of fortune about the first of those as Masters broke down at the end of the first lap of Heat 11 allowing Lawson through for second place, with the home side then putting on an exhibition of fast gating to reach the 60-point mark with a race still remaining.

Masters and Becker did manage to stem the tide by sharing Heat 15 ahead of Klindt, with Worrall completing his paid maximum for the Stars.

But overall it was a night where the most important outcome was all seven Wolves riders leaving the meeting fit and healthy, with a massive showdown with Sheffield to come on Monday.

King’s Lynn 63: Frederik Jakobsen 16+1, Richie Worrall 12+3, Nicolai Klindt 12, Josh Pickering 9+1, Richard Lawson 6+2, Thomas Jorgensen 6, Ryan Kinsley 2+1.

Wolverhampton 27: Nick Morris 6, Luke Becker 5+2, Sam Masters 5, Steve Worrall 5, Ryan Douglas 4, Leon Flint 2+1, Drew Kemp 0.

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