Belle Vue sunk by Pirates





Belle Vue hopes of a playoff place took a blow Monday night as the Poole Pirates came to Manchester and plundered the points from the Aces, as a makeshift line up of guest riders including an Ex-Aces rider and an Aces asset in their team saw the Pirates take the spoils 50-40.

Things started off fantastic for the home side though, as Matej Zagar got the jump on fellow Grand Prix star Chris Holder in the first heat as he pulled away from the Poole number one to beat the World Champion with a very quick time, as the Aces got a 4-2 heat win and hoped to build on it.




Sadly for the Aces, two heats in a row saw a home rider touch the tapes and having to start off 15 metres back. First off it was new signing Danish rider Ulrich Ostergaard touching the tapes and in the re run the Guest riders for the Pirates in Ex- Aces rider Josh Grajczonek and Micky Dyer saw the Australian duo score a 5-1 heat win.
Then in Heat 3 it saw exactly the same situation, as this time it was Craig Cook that broke the tapes and was put back in to go 15 metres back as well.
In the rerun Kauko Nieminen took a heavy tumble as his bike locked up on first bend and he went high side over it landing heavily on the track.
The Finnish rider was excluded in the race but was ok to get up and walk away within a minute of the accident.




The second re-run of heat 3 saw Richie Worrall make the gate along with Rohan Tungate as the Pirates scored a 5-1 for a 12-6 lead.
Belle Vue then started to chip away at the visitors lead, as they picked up a 4-2 with Magnus Zetterstrom and Ales Dryml in heat 4 and in heat 5 saw a fortunate 4-2 score line for the Aces as well.
As Poole were on a 5-1 with Holder shepherding Tungate round the track till he fell on the second bend with Holder having to take action in which to avoid crashing into his team mate.
Craig Cook had been all over Holder for the whole race and had the speed on him too.once Holder took action to avoid Tungate Cook happily swooped by to take the lead and gifted the Cumbrian the race win as Nieminen took 3rd place, as the Aces turned a 1-5 into a 4-2 heat advantage.


Three shared heat scores made it still a 2 point match till heat 9, When Maciej Janowski took the heat win as Ulrich Ostergaard battle hard to try and gain on the Polish rider, but lacked the speed and power of Janowski to catch up as Dyer came in third place and meant the Pirates extended their lead in the meeting to 4 points.


Heat 10 got better for Poole, as Chris Holder came in as a Rider replacement for the “Injured” Przemyslaw Pawlicki and Poole grabbed a 5-1 advantage, with Richie Worrall blocking off fantastically Matej Zagar for the whole four laps and earned his second place as the advantage grew to 8 points now in Poole`s favour with 5 races to go.



Heat 11 seen Zetterstrom have a great ride as he looked like his old self, when he  went neck and neck with Holder down the back straight,  before Grajczonek, who then made the error of looking behind to see where his opponent was till he saw Zorro speed past him and take the lead.
Heat 12 the Pirates came back with Richie Worrall showing Aces fans want they hope to see from him next season in an Aces Bid, as he is pencilled in to ride for the Manchester club in the 2014 season at the planned new stadium. Worrall took the race ahead of Cook as Dyer filled in third place for a 4-2 score line. 



The final 3 remaining heats saw a share of the points as Poole had the winners in the rest of the heats with Chris Holder getting the better of Zetterstrom and Zagar on two consecutive occasions.

The Aces now travel to Wimborne Road on Wednesday night to face the Pirates in what looks like a very tall order to get anything from the meeting at all. But the Pirates will be delighted to take the 4 points back down to Dorset and hope to add the 3 points on their track when they have the return fixture there.











Belle Vue Aces: 








1.Matej Zagar 3 3 1 1* 1* =9+2
2.Kevin Wolbert 1 0 3 0 =4
3.Craig Cook 1 3 2 2 =8
4.Kauko Nieminen EXC 1 0 1* =2+1
5.Magnus Zetterstrom 3 1* 3 2 2 =11+1
6.Ulrich Ostergaard 0 2 0 2 =4
7.Ales Dryml 1 1 0 0 =2


Poole Pirates:






1.Chris Holder 2 2 3 1* 3 3 =14+1
2.Rohan Tungate 0 2* f 1* =3+2
3.Przemyslaw Pawlicki (R/R) (RT 2* MJ 3 CH 3 RW 3)
4.Richie Worrall (G) 3 0 2* 3 0 =8+1
5.Maciej Janowski 0 2 3 3 1 0 =8
6.Micky Dyer (G) 2* 1* 1 1 =5+2
7.Josh Grajczonek (G) 3 2 2 2 3 =12






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THE LIONS ROAR DOWN UNDER..but only just!





PIC : Reuters











BRITISH & IRISH LIONS   23                  AUSTRALIA   21




Brisbane`s Suncorp Stadium was the sight for the opening test match of the British & Irish Lions series with Australia, As Warren Gatland`s men took victory in the first test of the three match series. Winning an enthralling and heart stopping match, beating the hosts Australia 23-21. Though it could have been all so different after Beale last gasp kick.
The British & Irish Lions tried to get over their 14-12 loss to the Brumbies on Tuesday; But the Lions welcomed back to the line up George North and picked Alex Corbisiero ahead of his England team mate Mako Vunipola.
For Australia they had three players making their debuts, with Christian Leali`ifano, Israel Folau and Ben Mowen.
After the Australian national anthem was played the anticipation for the game grown, Johnny Sexton kicked off and we got the First test underway.
Sadly it didn`t start the way anyone wanted to see, As Debutant for the Wallabies Christian Leali`ifano was stretchered off after he collided with Jonathon Davies elbow, when he tried to make a tackle on the Wales star.
Davies noticed as soon as he got up for the play that the Aussie player was badly injured and so Davies alerted the referee, getting his attention to let him know that he was hurt bad and ask for the medical team to come on.

After a delay, everyone in the stadium gave him a good applause as he was being driven off the pitch on the medical buggy and he put his thumb up to acknowledge the crowd as he went off the field wearing a neck brace to be checked out by the medical staff.
Play resumed with Australia or James O`Connor in particular, missing two chances. O`Connor missed two penalties both coming from Brian O`Driscoll being penalised for playing the ball off his feet.
The Lions were having the majority of possession and were camped in the Wallabies half as they pushed the men in gold back in there half.
PIC :ESPN SCRUM
Match official Chris Pollack from New Zealand then gave the hosts a penalty at the breakdown, with Will Genia then taking a quick tap kick and flying up field on a counter attack.
He was joined in attack with Israel Folau while he turned the Lions defenders inside out with his zig sagging down the right channel. Genia then put a weighted little grubber kick through and Folau picked up and ran it over for a try giving the Home side first blood.
James O`Connor finally made a successful kick count as he made it a 7-0 score for the hosts.
The Lions then got awarded a penalty themselves, when Aussie Captain James Horwill came in at the side of the ruck and so “MR 100%” Leigh Halfpenny was given the task to kick the first points on the board for the Tourists as he made it 7-3.
Moments later Berrick Barnes put a high kick up and was caught by George North just inside the Lions 22metre line.
North then proceeded to run it back at the home side, as he beat the attempted ankle tap of James O`Connor and then used his pace to beat Barnes ,before seeing off Genia with his ankle tap too as went over for the try.
It will go down as one of the greatest Solo tries in British & Irish Lions history too, Leigh Halfpenny then added the conversion for Gatland`s men as they took the lead 10-7.
PIC :ESPN SCRUM
They nearly added to the lead minutes later too, when the Lions had possession right near the Australian try line and so they worked among the short side, as they played it left to George North who crashed over the line, with Folau trying to hold the ball up and Genia holding on to North`s leg trying to stop his momentum too.
The Touch judge wasn`t completely sure if he had hit the white line before grounding it, so it was left to the TMO to review the play and based on the replays show, North`s elbow touched the whitewash just before the ball carrying arm came down also he didn`t manage to ground the ball either.
Result was a penalty to the Lions as advantage was being played prior to the try incident, so Halfpenny took the ball and started to set up for the penalty. Lions Captain Sam Warburton then decided to go for the three points, much to the disappointment of his forwards who wanted to go the try, but the Lions captain made the correct decision in taking the three points on offer.
Halfpenny kicked over and gave them a 6 points lead now for 13-7.
Australia responded straight away as the Wallabies play drawn the Lions players over to one side leading to them spraying the ball out wide to Ben Mowen, Whose pass found Folau waiting by the touchline.
Folau then ran at the Lions defence skipping past Johnny Sexton and then fending off two Lions challenges before going over, Folau scored his second try of the game and he was having a debut to remember.
It went upstairs to check for a forward pass, but replays shown it was fine and the conversion was once again missed by O`Connor who was having a shocker of a game with his kicking.
PIC :ESPN SCRUM
Australia then found themselves with more injury problems as this time Berrick Barnes was on the floor injured, as a collision with his team mate Folau knocked him down and out. It was caused when North chased a ball with Folau and the Lions player gave a slight shove to him to in the back, causing the Aussie debutant head and shoulder to connect with Barnes, knocking him to the deck and as he lay injured on the touchline.
He was replaced by Kurtley Beale as he was stretchered off down the tunnel and the Wallabies players were dropping like flies now.   
The Lions then had a great chance to extend their lead once again as the Aussies were penalised with feet off the ground, as they took Davies out of the play by the Wallabies 5 metre line.
Leigh Halfpenny was given the role of kicking over but pushing it just wide of the uprights, so as the hooter sounded the players went off the pitch to a massive ovation by all supporters inside the Suncorp stadium as the Lions held a slim 13-12 lead over the hosts at half time.
Second half got underway, with Australia having the lion share of possession in the early stages as they were camped in their opponent half.
Wallabies then found themselves with yet more injury problems as McCabe was then hurt, when an accidental stray knee from Alex Cuthbert went right in between the shoulder blades of McCabe and the stretcher bearers were called out yet again, as he was the third Wallaby victim to be carted off in this game.
PIC :YAHOO SPORTS
Moments later the Lions exploited the frailties in the Australian back line with players in foreign positions to what they normal play in, When they extended their lead with some good play lead to the red shirts spraying the ball wide to where huge gaps were appearing.
Johnny Sexton then spotted Alex Cuthbert after O`Driscoll had made a decoy run for the Lions and so Cuthbert spotted the gap and ran into it going over for the Lions Second try of the game. The Referee asked for the Video ref to make sure there wasn`t any problem with it, to which their wasn`t and so with the added points it was 20-12 score and the Lions were Roaring!
Australia responded from the restart when they won a penalty straight away, giving James O`Connor the chance to kick the Aussies right back into this game and his kick was successful and made it a 5 point ball game with the score 20-15.
The Lions then wasted a great opportunity with quick passes and good movement, when a move with a “Celtic connection” gave them the opening. It was Mike Phillips of Wales who started the move before finding Irish duo Sexton & Heaslip before playing to Welshman Jonathon Davies his Ball was then played to Tom Croft, who tried a pass over the head of an oncoming Wallabies player but his pass went slightly forwards and O`Driscoll couldn`t handle the pass and knocked it even further on to which North took it, but about 3 yards ahead of him and so play was brought back.
Australia then got awarded a penalty to which Kurtley Beale took over kicking duties from James O`Connor and his kick from 46m out which was straight and in front of the posts went over, to cut the lead down to 2 points for an 18-20 score line.
Johnny Sexton then created a chance, as the Irishman collected a long kick down field to which he then put a little chip kick over the head`s of the Australians and the ball bounced kindly for Sexton, who continued his run passing to his Ireland team mate Paul O`Connell and the from the following play brought a Lions penalty.
With less than 15 minutes remaining Halfpenny took resulting kick from just outside the Australian 22 metre line. Halfpenny dispatched it for a 23-18 lead and restores the 5 point advantage.
Kurtley Beale then ran at the heart of the Lions defence cutting them open and if it hadn`t been for Halfpenny`s intervention, then the Aussies would have had an almost certain try.
The ref then awarded a penalty to the Home side as play was slowed down and killed by the Lions as they stopped the Wallabies from playing, but gave them a kick to which Kurtley Beale stepped up and kicked over.
That meant the final 10 minutes of this riveting contest would be more tense with the team with the better composure would see them over the line.
Sexton who had a great game at Number 10, then put up a great up and under kick in the Wallabies half with Davies unable to take the catch and with the men in Green & Gold quickly pounced upon by the Lions forwards the official then awarded the tourists a penalty near the 5m line giving the Lions great field possession to try and close out the game with under 10 minutes left.
The Lions somehow managed to produce a horrible scrum as Genia stole the ball for Australia and his kick up field was chased by a Lion and Folau, To which Folau collected on the bounce and Australia poured forwards as the Lions defense had to hold firm now.
Australia then won another penalty when Vunipola was adjudged to have come into the ruck from the side. That meant it gave Beale the chance to kick the Wallabies into a lead with 7 minutes left on the clock.
Beale`s kick went horribly wide of the posts and the Lions breathed a huge sigh of relief at being let off. Australia then knocked on and gave the Lions the chance again to try and kill the game off once again.
As the players set up for the scrum formation there was 4 minutes left to play in this absorbing game and after two collapsing scrums, time was ticking away now and it looked like the Lions were nearly home and dry now.
However there would be one more twist to come. The Lions pack once again shot themselves in the foot as the Australian pack drove the Lions back and the tourist got in to a tangle causing them to concede a penalty with 2 minutes on the clock.
With the whole build up to the kick, it meant Beale would use up the whole time left in the game to full use as it came all down to this one last kick.
Surely this wouldn`t be a repeat of the Second test 4 years ago in South Africa, When the Lions were in a similar situation, they had done the hard work pulling level only to concede a penalty right at the death lose to Morne Steyn kick.
This was similarly in the same position that Steyn kicked over to condemn the Lions to defeat back in 2009, Would history repeat it`s self 4 years on. Beale composed himself as he walked up to the ball and just at the point of contact on the ball. He lost his footing and slipped over causing his kick to drift towards the posts but fall short and roll out of play for a dead ball.
PIC :YAHOO SPORTS
Lions fans and players urged the referee to blow his whistle and he did meaning the wave of red shirts could celebrate the victory and gave the Lions a step closer to history, as they took a 1-0 series lead with the Second test match to be played in Melbourne next Saturday.
The Lions will know they have to play better and equally know, the Aussies will come back harder next game to draw the series up and force a decider.





British & Irish Lions hope to ROAR in Australia

pic via BBC SPORT


This Saturday will see the British & Irish Lions face Australia for the first time in 12 years, as they look to win their first series in 16 years since the Lions of 1997 in South Africa won 2-1. They will hope to defeat the Wallabies down under, as the tour back in 2001 saw the Lions lose 2-1 to the Aussies after they had won the opening test match.

This time around though the Lions hope to avenge the series loss and see them win a series in Australia for the first time since 1989 when the British Lions beat the Australians 2-1 on home territory back then.



The Lions of 2013 had been on an unbeaten run till this past week, when their winning streak was broken by the ACT Brumbies of the Australian Super Rugby, as the Lions fell 14-12 to the league leaders of Super rugby and put in a pretty poor performance by the Lions .
They had found themselves 14-3 down, till they clawed their way back in the match making it a 2 point game with Scotland`s Stuart Hogg and England`s Owen Farrell kicking penalties for the tourists, as they crawled inch by inch closer to the Brumbies total but they never looked like beating them.



WARREN GATLAND   pic via Guardian.com 
It will be the second successive tour for a Lions touring party to have a New Zealander in charge when playing the Aussies, as back in the last tour there in 2001 the British and Irish Lions were coached by Graham Henry and the tour was dogged by unrest in the camp as players voiced concerns over preparations for the series which they lost.
On this current tour though the man in charge of the Lions is New Zealander Warren Gatland, who is head coach of the current Six Nations champions Wales.



So far on this tour the Lions have played against inferior opposition and build up to the test series has been hampered by the Australian sides resting key players instead of playing stronger squads in the warm up games.
Australian management have said during this tour that they are not in position to help their opponents out before the series, as it`s not their prerogative to help them out.



Gatland`s men started out this tour with a couple of comfortable victories over the Barbarians in Hong Kong, before flying over to Australia where they faced Western Force and thrashed them both fairly easily.
The first test they faced while down under was against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, where they were given a real game winning 22-12 against the hosts as they overcame a very spirited Reds side. 



pic via getty images
They then faced a Combined New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD) Country side in Newcastle, That contained a Medical student, engineer, Electrician and an apprentice plumber in their ranks alongside a few players from Super rugby too.
It came as no surprise when the Lions torn their opponents apart as they led 38-0 at half time and should have piled the points on more, however that never happened in the second half as they became complacent and sloppy as they started to be over confident.



It led to Gatland being displeased with the performance of the second 40, as they should have been aiming for nearer the 80 to 90 points mark due to the quality of the side they were playing. Also the side they had out on the field too should have put that type of score up to.
With all due respect to the their opponents, they did try their utter most to make it as competitive as they could but they weren`t in the same league as the Tourists as experience and quality shown, as the Lions hit 64 points and shut out the opposition in the process.



pic via getty images
There second real test of the tour came when they faced stern opposition against the New South Wales Waratahs.
Previous encounters against the Waratahs had seen fireworks take place between both sides including the last meeting back in 2001.
Ronan O Gara was punched 11 times by full-back Duncan McRae with an unprovoked attack on the Irish player as he was pinned him down and rained blow after blow upon O Gara, As it looked liked he had been in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson after the beating was stopped.
O Gara had sustained a cut below his eye and bruising too around the eye, as the beating he took told the full story. McRae was given his marching orders as the referee shown him the red card and the match even involved a few yellow cards handed out to both sides too. 



In this contest Warren Gatland’s men came out flying from the start and had put 10 points on the scoreboard after 7 minutes of play as they looked to get into a rhythm a week before they faced Australia in the opening test.
Every time the Waratahs seemed to get closer to the Lions score, the tourists then pulled away again.
pic via getty images
As we went into the break the Tourist went 23-10 up, in the second half the Lions then carried on their good play and upped their work rate as they went from 30-17 to 47-17 up. They were playing some great rugby along the way as well as scoring some well worked tries too. 



pic via yahoo sport
As mentioned the recent loss to the Brumbies in Canberra this week be looked upon as a setback for Gatland and his men, but will also add to the argument that that been mentioned a lot over this Lions tour, as maybe they will be coming into this 3 match series under-prepared due to the way Australia have treated the touring Lions. A Lions tour is looked upon by people in the rugby world as a famous tradition and one to be excited about and celebrate, as it only happens every four years.
But the way Australia have treated this 2013 tour along with the organisation of putting fixtures together, especially as this is the 125th anniversary of the British Lions this year has been disgraceful to the Lions name. 
It`s also been discussed in some corners that maybe future series down under in Australia maybe stopped due to the lack of competitiveness of sides there and the distinct lack of interest shown by the them down under. 



In the test match starting this weekend, If the British Lions can use their power in the scrums and use the turnovers wisely then there is no reason why the Lions can`t roar to victory come full time at Brisbane. Plus with the two new comers to the squad in Shane Williams coming out of retirement to help the injured Lions out he will miss out on the first test. England Prop Alex Corbisiero who joined the squad late is a shock inclusion to the starting line up for the game. 

Aces play “Get out of Jail” card!


BELLE VUE ACES 46

SWINDON ROBINS 44




Belle Vue engineered one of the most unlikeliest of comebacks, as they beat the reigning league champions the Swindon Robins 46-44 in a last heat decider at Kirky lane Monday night.
Champions Swindon were without their number 1 rider Hans Andersen as the Danish rider had been injured riding for his Polish league club on the Sunday, so they swiftly brought in guest rider Rory Schlein to replace Andersen.
It was good move as the Australian rider Schlein was Belle Vue Aces number 1 rider last year and had suffered from mixed fortunes in the 2 year spell at the Manchester club.
Swindon drew first blood in the contest, after winning the opening race when Rory Schlein and Nick Morris scored a shock maximum 5-1 heat advantage with Matej Zagar struggling to find any drive against the Robins pair at all.
Swindon extended their lead on a very slick track early on in the meeting it has to be said, Edward Kennett and Peter Kildemand made a fantastic gate to get away from Craig Cook and Kevin Wolbert as the visitors scored another maximum heat win to lead 13-5 after 3 heats.
Heat 4 saw the Aces finally put up a brief reply, as Magnus Zetterstrom and Ales Dryml got out ahead of the two Swindon riders, however Troy Batchelor came under Dryml and then went around Zetterstrom like they were in slow motion as the Aussie took the race win.
Belle Vue were poor as they struggled to make any gates and when they did they couldn`t make advantage count, as Swindon were too fast and aggressive for them. 
In the following heat, heat 5 it saw an almost identical race as in the previous race, as the Aces once again got out on a 5-1 with Cook and Wolbert, But Morris and Schlein got in front of the German rider on the back straight of the first lap and as much as Morris tried to chase the Cumbrian rider down, it was neon impossible due to lack of material on the track.
Matej Zagar then made up for his opening race taking victory in his next one, as  Troy Batchelor and Ashley Birks made the start on the Slovenian but Zagar moved Batchelor out towards the fence and then cut up the inside of Birks and then pulled away for the win, while his partner Artur Mroczka struggled once again as twice he passed both Swindon riders due to them making mistakes. Mroczka it seemed ,just kept giving up his place easily on both occasions which will set alarm bells ringing for the Team manager Jason Attwood.  
Belle Vue started to mount a comeback in heat 8 as Attwood made a change to the line-up taking Mroczka out and putting Kauko Nieminen in his place instead. It was a move that paid off , as the Belle Vue got their first heat advantage of the evening with Nieminen and Dryml teaming up for a 5-1 to cover the damaged of a 4-2 they had suffered in the previous heat.
It was the turn then of Wolbert and Cook to continue the road to recovery as they got a 4-2 with Troy Batchelor passing Cook into second spot on the first lap ,but the German held on to first place and so reduced the gap to 4 points on the Robins lead now.
Matej Zagar shown once again that he has come on leaps and bounds on his return to British speedway this season, as he was out gated by the Robins best pairing of Kildemand and Kennett.  The Slovenian however then cut through them both and never looked back now, Mroczka trailed off by a distance at the back of the field once again with the Pole looking disinterested , as it summed up his performances this season as he has been the biggest weak link for the Aces this year.
Swindon hit back in the next race,with Nick Morris and Rory Schlein getting an easy 5-1 maximum heat win to open up a 8 point lead for the Robins, as they were still in no danger at all of losing this meeting , as they looked to have full control of it.
Heat 12 then saw Great Britain`s rising star Craig Cook split the Robins pair before he passed Peter Kildemand on the fourth bend of the first lap, then Ales Dryml battled his way past Ashley Birks and saw him move into third position as the Aces held onto a 4-2 position and cut the lead back down to 6 points.
Belle Vue then had the advantage in the heat 13 when Zagar and Zetterstrom got out ahead of Schlein and Batchelor from the gate, it looked like at one point the Aces would be just two points behind with two races to go in the meeting.
Then Zorro hit a hole on the third bend and narrowly missed colliding with Schlein on the fourth bend and so the Pairing of the visitors passed him by and while the following lap saw Rory Schlein do the exact thing as Zetterstrom had done, in hitting the same hole he managed to control the bike and carry on. 
It looked like the meeting was all but over now, as Swindon now just needing three points to win the meeting from the final two remaining heats and it seemed a nailed on certainty from the way the match had gone on that it would be a foregone conclusion.
However Belle Vue wasn`t going to lie down to the champions and they produced a comeback of Lazarus proportions to get back. The Home side needed two 5-1`s to win the meeting and it was an extremely tall order to do that in all honesty, but they completed part of it, as Nieminen or “NEMO” dubbed by speedway fans, led from the gate with Kevin Wolbert joining him at the front after he passed Eddie Kennett on the third lap to grab second and held onto it, to give the Aces maximum points in the penultimate race and set up a deciding heat. 
Heading into the final race the score was 41-43 in favour of the Swindon Robins, Robins team manager Alun Rossiter , decided to put Troy Batchelor in ahead of Peter Kildemand. Kildemand seemed the most nailed on choice for Swindon along with Schlein as they were the best two riders for the away side.
Aces Team manager Jason Attwood put his faith in Craig Cook and Matej Zagar in the final heat to try and get the maximum heat win needed to give Belle Vue the most unlikeliest of victories.


As the riders approached the tapes, the atmosphere had grown as the home fans greeted the home riders to massive cheer and support. This meant a lot to the home fans generated a surge of noise as the Aces fans hadn`t been this vocal for a long time,due mainly to not much to get a excited in recent season.


As the tapes flew up the home side riders flew away from the gate and was greeted with an amazing roar by the Aces supporters as they encouraged their heroes round on every lap and as they both came off the last bend they were cheered home by the fans as they crossed the line in first and second place to give the Belle Vue Aces as 46-44 win and was a played the biggest Get out of jail card possible with this match in particular, the victory will be a welcome boost ahead of the meeting next week against the Poole Pirates. As the Dorset side are struggling this season too, due mainly to the injury of Darcy Ward.
However a great victory by the Aces and moves them to 6th in the table and 6 points outside the playoff places with still over half a season left to run.





Belle Vue ‘Rentruck’ Aces:
Matej Zagar 13;
Craig Cook 10+1;
Kauko Nieminen 10;
Ales Dryml 5+3; 
Kevin Wölbert 5+1;
Magnus Zetterström 3
Artur Mroczka  0


Swindon ‘Excalibur Communication’ Robins:
Peter Kildemand 9+1; 
Troy Batchelor 8+2;
Rory Schlein (G) 8+2;
Nick Morris 8+1;
Edward Kennett 6+1;
Ashley Birks 5;
Kacper Gomolski 0




2013 STANLEY CUP FINAL has Arrived






Well after 65 games for the Chicago Blackhawks and 66 games overall for the Boston Bruins it comes down to 7 more games possibly to decide the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Champions. Both sides have gone through the pain barrier and pushed themselves to get the chance to hold aloft Lord Stanley Cup once again as the two teams from the Eastern and Western Conference respectively meet for Game One at the United Center in Downtown Chicago on Wednesday evening.


This however will not be a new experience for the two teams and clubs as both have played in recent Stanley Cup finals, Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup back in 2010 when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of a very physical series as the battle between Chris Pronger and Dustin Byfuglien was a highlight as both gave as good as they got.











chicago in 2010
It also ended in bizarre fashion as Patrick Kane shot from a tight angle and led Kane to throw his helmet, gloves and stick in the air along with his team mate to celebrate the goal. Problem was no one saw it go in apart from Kane himself who skated the whole length of the ice to celebrate with Antti Niemi , who himself looked very confused over the events. Play was reviewed and shown it did go but lodged it`s self under the padding in the nets. Chicago had broken the curse of 49 years and finally brought the cup back to Chicago.



For the Black and Gold of the Boston Bruins it was 2011 that saw them lift the Cup as they beat the Vancouver Canucks in a deciding Game 7 which was a bad tempered final to be fair, As we had the Canucks forward Alex Burrows alleged to have a bite on Patrice Bergeron finger in Game 2 and Game 3 when a scrum by the nets happens Milan Lucic then stuck his glove near Burrows mouth to try and wind him up over the incident and Burrows laughed it off as you could say he didn`t “bite”!




In the same game Aaron Rome of Vancouver was given a game misconduct as he levelled Nathan Horton at mid ice and gave the Bruins forward a severe concussion to which he didn`t play another game in the series after the hit to the head. Even though the Welland Ontario native was ruled out of the playoffs, that didn`t mean he wasn`t going to be involved somehow in these finals and so when reach Game 7 in Vancouver. He was given a bottle of water that was some of the ice from Boston arena melted into water and emptied the contents on to the ice as a way of trying to use it as a way of playing on home ice when away.


boston in 2011
That hit he received Horton, swung the series in Boston favour as they seemed energised and focused more from then on, and so they took it a game 7 and went on to win 4-0 at the Rogers Center in Vancouver after a 21 year cup drought they had won it. Also it was contrast of emotions as while the players celebrated inside the arena, outside saw the arena saw a massive scale Riot in Vancouver as they failed to win the Cup once again.





This shortened season has seen the Hawks look incredible and the stats back it up with them being ranked first in the NHL overall as they were superior in all departments on the ice and they carried that form into the playoffs too as they overcome a spirited Minnesota Wild team as beat them in the first 4 – 1 in the best of Seven series. As Minnesota netminder Josh Harding was the story of the series as the goaltender had been told five minutes before game 1 he was playing , as the Regina Saskatchewan native has been dealing with M.S (Multiple Sclerosis) and missed lot of the season over it but he played excellently all series.


Boston was took all the way by their fellow North Eastern Division rival the Toronto Maple Leafs as they went to a Seven game series with them pulling off one of the most dramatic comebacks in Playoffs history, as they were 4-1 down in the final period and looked dead and buried till 10 minutes from the end Nathan Horton started the recovery off with further goals by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron tying the game with 51 seconds to go. It was left to Bergeron to score the goal that took the Bruins through as he scored the Overtime winner to send the Bruins through to the Eastern Semi finals against the New York Rangers.



As we moved to the Semi finals stages, Boston saw off the challenge of the New York Rangers winning the series 4-1 as the Rangers were out played all series as they were bullied and were controlled by the Bruins as Rangers Forwards struggled to find any firepower especially Rick Nash, so when they did they found netminder Tuukka Rask in the Boston nets in miserly mood.  It took Game 4 for the Rangers to get a glimmer of hope in the series as they won at Madison Square Garden 4-3 in Overtime to get to a game 5.



Chicago had a tough second round series as they came up against an “Original 6” side in the rejuvenated Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings had only just qualified for these playoffs having had to secure their spot on the final week of the regular season, so the series kicked off in Chicago and the Blackhawks made a good start as they took game 1 at the United Center 4-1 as Detroit looked outclassed by their Central Division rival.



Detroit though, struck back with a 4-1 win of their own in Game 2 and with further wins coming at home in games 3 & 4 for the Red Wings that saw them move to within one win of the Conference finals, it was also Game 4 that was the turning point in ther series as well.

As after the Blackhawks were blanked by the Red Wings 2-0 at the Joe Louis Arena, It meant the Hawks mentality had to change and it did. As they came out for game 5 a different side for the rest of the series.
With them overturning a 3-1 deficit ,as they came back to win the series in a game 7 decider with Brent Seabrook scoring the Overtime series winner and dumped the Red Wings out of the playoffs ,after it looked nailed on for Detroit to sail through.






The Conference finals saw both Stanley Cup finalist have relatively easy passages to the big dance.

COREY CRAWFORD
As Chicago faced the reigning and Defending Stanley Cup Champions the Los Angeles Kings, in was proved to be a series with the spotlight on the net minders. As Corey Crawford put in a great performance for the Blackhawks while at the other end of the ice, LA Kings goaltender Jonathon Quick had a series and if honest a playoffs he`d like to forget. He was far from the confidence goalie of last season where Quick was their go to guy a lot last year ,This year he has a poor run of form in the playoffs and error strewn one too, even though he was ranked in the top 5 net minders of the playoffs. 




PATRICK KANE


Chicago controlled the series from game 1,as their fast attacking play brought them their rewards after they took a 2-0 series lead at home and although they dropped game 3 in LA, they made up for it taking the next 2 games including the clinching game 5 where it went to double overtime and saw Patrick Kane score a hat trick to put his Chicago Blackhawks side back in the Stanley Cup finals with a quick one time release past Quick for a 4-3 victory.



In the Eastern conference e finals, Boston faced the daunting task of taking on the Second seeded Pittsburgh Penguins, where it was predicted that Pittsburgh was far too strong for the Bruins and they`d knock them off in 5 games maybe.

However “NO ONE”! could have predicted the outcome of this series at all, as Game 1 and 2 in Pittsburgh was won by an organised, hard working and efficient Boston side, as they restricted the Penguins shots and was making the most of their chances that the Bruins had made ,as they took Game 1 with a shutout of the Pens in their own barn.


Game 2 saw the Bruins crushed the home side with a stunning 6-1 victory at the Consol Energy Center , as they took a commanding 2-0 series lead back to TD Gardens in Boston.

TUUKKA RASK
As the series moved to Boston the series was all but ended when Boston won a thrilling and exciting Game 3 in Double Overtime to see off the Penguins 2-1 and so made Pittsburgh lose heart .
It was now all but left to put the final nail in the coffin in game 4 as they swept this attacking Penguins side and with the forwards they had capable of firing goals in like Jerome Iginla, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, All these forwards were kept quiet by Zdeno Chara and back checking forwards and not forgetting Tuukka Rask , who was a revelation in the nets for the Bruins and his run in these playoffs has been a mirror image to Tim Thomas performances back in their Cup winning season.
ZDENO CHARA


This upcoming STANLEY CUP FINALS will see “Speed v Strength”. As Chicago will use their quickness to try and frustrate the Bruins, while Boston will use their physical play to stop Chicago fast play and rely on Rask and the forwards to do their duty and hope their power play can click too. 

Chicago had their points spread around the team in these playoffs , while Boston had David Krejci lead the Offensive leaders in these playoffs with 21 Points and 9 goals, along with team mate Nathan Horton scoring 7. The Blackhawks had Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell joint top for Chicago on 8 goals apiece. 



So this should be a very entertaining and intriguing series to say to the least, all we need now is for the puck to drop as we await the countdown to the series start now.






Belle Vue get back to winning ways

BELLE VUE  ACES  49 


PETERBOROUGH  PANTHERS  41

Ace star :Matej Zagar
Belle Vue returned back to winning ways after their dreadful display at Perry Barr last Wednesday night where they were thrashed by the Birmingham Brummies . Only Matej Zagar and Craig Cook put up any kind of resistance for the Aces, So Monday saw the Aces at home to face the Peterborough Panthers for the 3rd time this season with Belle Vue holding two victories over the East Anglian side this season, having previously beat them down on their travels at the East of England Showground a few months back.
Belle Vue almost got the perfect start in the opening race when Matej Zagar was continuing his good form this season , as he launched out of the gates along with his team mate Artur Mroczka. The Aces looked to be heading to a 5-1 score line when Mroczka hit a rut and moved out wide towards the fence allowing Dane and ex-Ace Kenneth Bjerre to pass up the inside of him and make it a 4-2 instead.
In the reserves race another former Aces rider in Patrick Hougaard made his return, As he wanted to prove a point, as he has had a woeful season this year and was terrible earlier in the season when the Panthers came to town last.
But in recent weeks there had been signs of getting back to the old Patrick as he got a maximum against the Poole Pirates not long ago.
Hougaard is currently on loan to the Panthers from Belle Vue for the season and the young Danish rider made a fantastic gate with his team mate Dakota North in heat 2, had it not been for North doing a wheelie down the back straight then Peterborough would have took maximum points, As it was the Aces pair of Kauko Nieminen and Ales Dryml passed to make it a shared heat as North lifting relegated him to the back.
Heat 4 saw a horrific crash involving Hougaard, The Dane was took to hospital following a tumble he took with his team mate as Peterborough once again made the gate and his front wheel caught the back wheel of partner Kenni Larsen who came across him, which led to Hougaard clipping Larsen back wheel and bounced on the track, against the fence and leading him to be motionless on the track as he was knocked unconscious from the crash. 
Paramedics rushed to him along with riders and the ambulance was immediately called for by the track people working on him, he was loaded into the back of the ambulance after a 10 minute delay and it was another bit of bad luck for the poor Danish rider.
In heat 6 Zagar was left to fend for himself as his Polish team mate Mroczka was having yet another stinker of a meeting for Belle Vue, Matej Zagar chased down Kenni Larsen for 3 laps getting closer and closer till he eventually passed him up the inside, sending the hosts fans into raptures as the Slovenian rider then went on to win the race and keep the 6 point lead for the hosts, with the score at 21-15. 
Dakota North was then forced to take 4 races on the trot, as he came in for Ryan Fisher who broke the tapes and so North was drafted into the line up as he his fellow reserve Hougaard was withdrawn due to the crash earlier.

North won with ease as Nieminen followed behind him, with Magnus Zetterstrom struggling in 3rd place trying to stop Linus Sundstrom from getting through, but the Swede out raced him to the line and so gave the Panthers their first heat advantage of the night picking up a 4 – 2.
In the following race North was proving to be useful reserve as he took the next race as well with Mroczka and Dryml packing into the minor places for a 3-3.
His good work came undone though, as he came last in his 4th race in a row which saw Kenni Larsen picking up the win for the Panthers and Aces Craig Cook and Kevin Wolbert grabbing second and third place after they both passed the Aussie.
Jason Attwood the Aces team manager , then made a change as he took out Artur Mroczka for Ales Dryml and the move paid off. As the Captain and Zagar got an easy 5-1 to make the score 34 – 26 for the hosts. Both riders had ridden together on Saturday night in the World Pairs so they had a good idea of how to team ride.
Craig Cook then won heat 12 with that man Dakota North there once again , as the Aces took a 4 – 2 heat win with Dryml grabbing third place and made it a ten point lead, meaning Peterborough chance to do a tactical was too late now.
In the penultimate race, Dakota North finished off his night with a win as he and Sundstrom got a 4 – 2 and saw them trailing by 8 points. This gave the Panthers a good chance of getting something from the meeting, as if the away side loses by 7 or under you gets a bonus point.

It came down to Cook and Zagar to avoid a heat loss for the Aces to take all 3 points on offer. And that`s just what they did, as Kenneth Bjerre took the race win to deny Zagar a maximum , but Cook had a good go at Bjerre for the 4 laps chasing him down but just couldn`t find the speed to pass him. Belle Vue took all three points on offer and seen them move above the Poole Pirates in the table and face the challenge of the reigning champions in the Swindon Robins next week at home.

BELLE VUE  ACES 










1. Matej Zagar: 3 3 3 3 1* =13+1
2. Artur Mroczka: 1 0 1* =2+1
3. Craig Cook: 2 3 1* 3 2 =11+1
4. Kevin Wolbert: 1* 1 2 0 =4+1
5. Magnus Zetterstrom: 1 0 2 R =3
————————–
6. Kauko Nieminen: 2 2 1* 2 =7+1
7. Ales Dryml : 1* 3 2 2* 1=9+2


PETERBOROUGH  PANTHERS














1. Kenneth Bjerre: 2 2 3 2 3 =12
2. Nicolai Klindt: 0 0 0 0=0
3. Ryan Fisher: 3 exct 0 0 =3
4. Linus Sundstrom: 0 1 1 1=3
5. Kenni Larsen:2 2 3 1* 0 =8+1
————————– 
6. Dakota North: 0 1* 3 3 0 2 3 =12+1
7. Patrick Hougaard: 3 f=3 withdrawn

“ZORRO” & ACES Clip the Eagles wings





Pic from: MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS.CO.UK

BELLE VUE ACES 54 – 34  EASTBOURNE EAGLES 





Monday evening saw the imperious Belle Vue Aces turn on the style as Maximum man Magnus Zetterstrom nicknamed “Zorro” in Speedway circles, notched up a full house as the rampant Aces thrashed the Eastbourne Eagles at Kirkmanshulme Lane on Monday night winning 54 – 34.



Eastbourne travelled up north with a guest pairing of ex-Aces in the the shape of Morten Risager and Kevin Doolan in their side, as replacements for Adam Shields who has chosen to quit speedway once again due to problems and the injured Russian rider Denis Gizatullin.




Belle Vue were hoping to get back to winning ways after they had lost to Lakeside a couple weeks ago, so a win at home was crucial due to the sides around them in the league had ridden more matches than the Aces, as they have found themselves nearer the bottom of the league after a Miserable month of May for the Manchester outfit.



Weather for the meeting was sunshine along with blue skies and with the tractor going round spraying the track with water, it was hoped to keep the dust down as it was a very warm evening and apart from that it looked a good track once again.




In the Opening heat it saw a shared heat as the Eastbourne pair of Bjarne Pedersen & Lukas Dryml make the start, as both got out of the gate and on a 5-1, That was till Dryml fell whilst in second place. Matej Zagar and Artur Mroczka took the opporunity to get by for a 3-3 and with another 3-3 in heat 2 it took the 3rd Heat to finally see a side gain an advantage in the contest.
Sadly for the Aces it was the Visitors who went in front, as after Timo Lahti and Simon Gustafsson scored a 4-2 heat win with Simon Gustafsson coming under Craig Cook for the race to the line and and made the score line 10-8 in favour of the Eagles.



Belle Vue responded and then took control of the meeting from then on, as in the next heat Magnus Zetterstrom made the gate and was joined up front by his team mate Ales Dryml, as he out raced Cameron Woodward down the back straight getting the drive ahead of the 3rd & 4th bend on the first lap.





Dryml did well to hold off the advancing Woodward for the whole race as he was all over the Aces Captain, but the Czech man held on in doing so helped his side take the lead in the meeting with a 5-1 race win. In the following race it saw Craig Cook & Kevin Wolbert score another a big 5-1 as they beat the Eagles Bjarne Pedersen and Ales Dryml brother Lukas, as they got a maximum heat advantage and saw the Cumbrian rider Cook, clock the quickest time of the season on the Belle Vue track in a time of 58.4



Heat 6 Saw GP Star Matej Zagar pull off a magnificent move as he went round Cam Woodward on the 3rd bend and had the cut back under Kevin Doolan on the 4th bend, as he powered to the front and clocked up an impressive 58.9 in the race too considering he was in 3rd place for the first lap, it also seemed the Slovenian had certainly got to grips to the Belle Vue Circuit this season as it was reminiscent of ex World Champion Jason Crump in the way he carved through the field too. However it was Polish rider Artur Mroczka having yet another inconsistent meeting as he rode well in couple of races then finished last and looked like a novice at other times too.



It was Seventh heaven for the home side, as the Aces grabbed yet another Maximum heat advantage, With Zetterstrom speeding round the outside of Gustafsson and got him on the 3rd bend of the opening lap and with Zorro pulling away, his team mate Kauko Nieminen passed fellow Finnish rider Timo Lahti for second place and as they entered the last lap.
Simon Gustafsson then hit a bump and slid off towards the safety fence and looked at one point as if the Swedish rider would stay down and try to force a re-run, seeing as his team mate was in last place. He tried to get off the track and reach halfway across the track before the red lights came on for the race to be stopped, in the interest of safety.

The referee awarded the result to the Aces with yet another 5-1 coming home to the hosts, and they were building up a good lead as it was 10 points the lead at this stage as it was 26-16 and they were flying, no pun intended!



Things got even better as Arthur Mroczka came to the party finally as he made the gate and took off into the sunset as Morten Risager tried to put a challenge together, but the Danish reserve for Eastbourne couldn`t put anything together in way of a challenging the Pole, While at the back the Dryml brothers battled out who would scored the 1 point as Ales held off his brother trying to pass him and held on to 3rd spot as they extended the lead to 12 points now.
Heat 9 saw the Australian Cam Woodward get a jet propelled start from the gate leaving the other riders trailing in his wake, as the field was a bit spilt with Doolan nowhere at the back as his team mate won the race to give Eastbourne only their 3rd heat win of the match.



Belle Vue struck back in what was a bitter sweet heat for the Aces, As the pair of Zagar and Mroczka were on a 5-1 together and looked in no danger as Lahti was no threat at all, Mroczka messed up on the final bend as went too wide and let Lahti happily swoop up the inside of him as he raced him for the line and beat Artur to make it a 4-2 instead of a maximum 5-1.

Artur wasn`t happy at all ,as he came round shaking his head and no doubt was using some colourful language in his native Polish.



That then brought out Bjarne Pedersen going for double points as he donned the black and white helmet colour in Heat 11.
Pedersen had got out the gate alongside Zorro and it was the Swede that managed to get the drive ahead of Bjarne coming out of turns 1 &2 as managed to hold off the Eastbourne number 1 rider, so for 4 laps held a good good racing line blocking him off and stopped him getting the 6 points, Belle Vue managed to limit the damage for a 4 – 4 heat score line.  




Eagles management made the decision to put Simon Gustafsson in as their final double points rider in the next race, This time around it worked to some extent, as they got a 5-3 heat advantage out of it. Craig Cook had made a great gate and the rising British star held off Gustafsson on the back straight getting the drive and never looked back as he held on to the lead and was never challenged after that. Kevin Doolan took the third minor place as they got their first heat advantage since heat 3.



Heat 13 saw a re-run ,as in the first attempt it was deemed Matej Zagar was a bit too quick for the referee liking from the gate, however as the red lights came on Zetterstrom reared up and nearly had the bike hit him as he went backwards.

Magnus Zetterstrom does a flip!

In the re-run, The Eagles pair of Pedersen and Woodward got out before the Aces did, however Magnus Zetterstrom passed them both coming off bend 2 as Zagar cruised past both Eagles as well to set up a 5-1 for the Aces and thanks to Zorro he guided Zagar round to which the Slovenian slowed and let the Swede get the win and take full points to make the score 54-34.



Heat 14 Timo Lahti was kicked out for moving twice in a row as his back wheel was spinning while the tapes were down, which isn`t allowed and so the referee put the red lights on to disqualify him and in came Kevin Doolan to replace him in the race.
Kauko Nieminen and Kevin Wolbert both made a great start ahead of the Eagles and then Wolbert lost 2nd place to Doolan, till he stormed up the inside of Doolan and got into back in second position with a fantastic move indeed.


Heat 15 saw the nominated riders race and had the Eastbourne pair of Bjarne Pedersen and Cam Woodward ride against the home pairing of Matej Zagar and Kevin Wolbert.
Zagar shot out of the traps and went off, Wolbert had two near crashes as he nearly hit the fence when he hit a rut on the 4th bend and scraped the air fence and did the same next lap on the 4th again trying to gain on the Eagle rider, How managed to stay on was amazing as Woodward took second place and relegated him to the back ,so the meeting finished like it start off with the a share of the points and the Aces won the meeting with an incredible 20 point difference in the score line.




Belle Vue: 


Matej Zagar 12+2, 

Magnus Zetterstrom 12 (MAX) 

Craig Cook 8 

Kevin Wolbert 7+3

Kauko Nieminen 6+1 

Ales Dryml 6+1

Artur Mroczka 6










Eastbourne: 


Bjarne Pedersen 11


Cameron Woodward 6+2

Kevin Doolan (G) 6+1

Timo Lahti 6

Simon Gustafsson 5

Morten Risager (G) 3+1

Lukas Dryml 0