STEFAN Nielsen swept to a 15-point maximum as Storm moved back to second place in the National League with a hard-fought 52-38 win at King’s Lynn.
Nielsen reeled off five straight wins and stand-in captain Oliver Greenwood dropped just one point as Storm overcame the early loss of Luke Crang to injury to add four big league points to their total on Friday evening.
With Dan Halsey proving an excellent guest for unavailable skipper James Sarjeant, the Storm dominated the heat wins at the Norfolk Arena – and Crang’s early withdrawal meant the decision to use a guest rather than rider replacement was certainly vindicated.
“It was a bit topsy-turvy early on but we pulled away in the end with the three 5-1s.” said Storm manager, Laurence Rogers.
“Stef (Stefan Nielsen) was absolutely superb – that’s just what he needed at the right time, and Olly only dropped just one point. It was a good performance and it puts us back in the top two.
“It was a 50/50 call with Dan Halsey and James Cockle, that could have gone either way, and give Ryan his due for winning the re-run – I told him I needed a hero!
“But I think what got boys got fired up was when Martin got excluded in Heat 11 when he was going round Josh Bailey and Josh rode up him to bring him down.”
Crang came to grief on the fourth bend in Heat 1, having made a fast start with Greenwood, and although he took one further outing he pulled out during that race with a knee/upper leg injury which is thankfully not thought to be too serious.
A close contest developed with the home reserves making an early breakthrough with a 5-1, only for Nielsen and Dan Greenwood to respond in the next race.
Halsey’s first win and a third place from Martin Knuckey in Heat 4 saw the Storm edge ahead, but they could never extend the margin beyond four points through the middle stages of the meeting.
The Young Stars looked set to draw level in Heat 8 only for Knuckey to pass Scott Campos on the run to the line, and fellow reserve Ryan Terry-Daley then came up with a vital win in Heat 9.
With three races to go there were still only two points in it, but the Storm then went into overdrive and finished with three successive 5-1s.