COVENTRY Storm secured their first win at National League level with a terrific performance to take three points from their trip to the Norfolk Arena.
The Storm had impressed in their previous away match at Mildenhall, but on this occasion they finished the job thanks to a last-heat 5-1 from Joe Jacobs and Robert Branford.
There was sad news earlier in the day when Martin Knuckey withdrew from the meeting due to the death of his grandfather, and the club extend sympathy to Martin and his family whilst also thanking Lee Geary for stepping in at short notice.
There were never more than two points between the sides throughout the first nine races, but the Young Stars suffered a blow when James Cockle crashed out of the meeting in Heat 3, suffering a suspected broken arm.
Jacobs and Branford were quickly into their stride and there was also an excellent win from recent signing Tommy Fenwick in Heat 8, whilst skipper James Sarjeant took the flag in the next.
At that stage the scores were level but Branford and Brendan Johnson collected a big 5-1 over home No.1 Darren Mallett in Heat 10, although the four-point margin was halved two races later when Branford lost out to Jake Knight as Fenwick took a heavy fall.
Jacobs, though, rode a superb race to end the unbeaten run of Lewis Kerr, coming from the back to win Heat 13 with Sarjeant holding third place – but the pressure increased again with a Young Stars 4-2 in the penultimate race, Johnson splitting the Young Stars combination.
Storm therefore led 43-41 going into Heat 15 but Jacobs and Branford flew from the gate to race clear of Kerr and Jake Knight and spark celebrations in the visiting pits.
Co-boss Blayne Scroggins said: “I’m really proud of the boys. King’s Lynn was always going to be a tough place to come but the boys were up for it from the word go, and to get three points is excellent.
“The win is so important because had we ridden well again and not got the win then it could have started to knock confidence. But it’s a great result, and thoroughly deserved.
“Lewis Kerr was really on it for them but Joe finished the meeting really strongly, and we’d said to him and Rob that all we needed from Heat 15 was a 3-3. We were expecting they might have to sit in second and third and let Lewis go – but they were out of the gate like a couple of greyhounds, they put their heads down and Lewis was nowhere near them.
“The news from Martin earlier was so sad. He’d already turned back to Cornwall to drop his Dad home when they heard of the illness, and then he set off for King’s Lynn again before getting the call that his grandfather had passed away, so he had to turn round and go back again. The boys all wanted to do their best for him as well, and it was a good all-round show.”
KING’S LYNN 42: Lewis Kerr 12, Shane Hazelden 9+1, Jake Knight 7+1, Darren Mallett 6, Lewis Rose 5, Shane Waldron 3+1, James Cockle 0.
COVENTRY 48: Joe Jacobs 13, Robert Branford 12+1, James Sarjeant 8, Brendan Johnson 7+3, Tommy Fenwick 6+1, Lee Geary 2+2, Richard Franklin 0.
KING’S LYNN 42 Darren Mallett 3 3 0 0 = 6 Shane Waldron 1 0 1* 1 = 3+1 Jake Knight 1 2 1* 3 0 = 7+1 James Cockle X = 0 Lewis Kerr 3 3 3 2 1 = 12 Lewis Rose 0 F 2 X 3 = 5 Shane Hazelden 3 1 1* 2 1 1 = 9+1
COVENTRY STORM 48 Joe Jacobs 2 3 2 3 3 = 13 Richard Franklin 0 0 0 = 0 Robert Branford 3 2 3 2 2* = 12+1 Brendan Johnson 2* 1* 2* 2 = 7+3 James Sarjeant 2 2 3 1 = 8 Tommy Fenwick 2 1* 3 0 F 0 = 6+1 Lee Geary 1* 0 1* = 2+2