Saturday September 08, 2007
A BRILLIANT 18-point maximum from Birmingham skipper Jason Lyons helped lead his Brummies team to a superb 48-45 Premier League win at Stoke on Saturday evening.

The victory for Birmingham, along with the aggregate bonus point, takes them to the top of the Premier League table and does their championship play-off hopes no harm at all in the process.

It was excellent all-round performance from the Midland side, who had to survive the tension of a last-heat decider before claiming victory. As well as Lyons’ full-house, there was good backing from Manuel Hauzinger 11 and Henning Bager 8 (paid 9).

It was a tense match with the lead changing hands several times in the first half of the meeting . The scores were tied at 21-21 after seven races and with the teams then exchanging 4-2s it saw the scores level again at 30-30 after heat 10. Hauzinger and Ben Powell then put the Brummies in front with a 4-2 in heat 11, and another four points from Lyons and Lee Smart in heat 12 saw the Brummies edge in front by four points with three races remaining.

Hauzinger and Bager looked to have wrapped up the points for Birmingham when a 5-1 in heat 13 put them eight-points ahead, but with the assistance of some tactical moves the Potters came fighting back in heat 14. Lee Complin was nominated for a tactical-substitute ride off a 15-metre handicap, with the double-point ride reaping the maximum reward. Powell fell and was excluded in the original running of the race, and in the re-run Complin fought his way past Birmingham’s Henrik Moller on the second lap to link up with Stoke team-mate Rusty Harrison for an 8-1. This reduced the Brummies lead to just a single point (44-43) with one race remaining.

Thankfully when the tapes lifted in the last heat decider, Lyons and Hauzinger held their nerve and much to the delight of the large travelling army of Brummies supporters, secured a match-winning 4-2 over the Stoke duo of Complin and Glenn Cunningham.

STOKE: Lee Complin 17, Glen Cunningham 8+1, Rusty Harrison 6+2, Ben Barker 6+1, Claus Vissing 6, Jamie Smith 2+1, Benji Compton 0

BIRMINGHAM: Jason Lyons 18, Manuel Hauzinger 11, Henning Bager 8+1, Ben Powell 5+1, Lee Smart 3+1, Henrik Moller 3, Emiliano Sanchez R/R

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