European Preview

Great Britain’s Tai Woffinden takes a break from his World title bid as the race for the Ekstraliga play-off reaches its most critical time.

Image courtesy of Darren Bott

Woffinden’s Wroclaw side are now sixth in the table but have at least one match in hand on all of their rivals – with recent results setting up a frantic scrap for three qualifying places.
Leaders Leszno are safely in the play-offs with 25 points, but just four points cover the next five clubs, and two will be left disappointed.

Gorzow made no mistakes with a win and a bonus point in their re-arranged home meeting against Zielona Gora on Wednesday, shooting them up to second place on 18 points, but they have just one match remaining. ZG are on 17 with Czestochowa and Lublin both on 16, all with two matches to go, whilst Wroclaw have 14 but crucially with three matches remaining.

Those matches start with a hugely important home clash with Gorzow on Sunday, which offers the possibility of more action between Woffinden and Bartosz Zmarzlk on the same circuit where their sensational GP semi-final tussle took place. It is Gorzow’s final fixture, and they will expect the bonus point at least as they lead 55-35 from the home match staged in mid-August.

By the time that meeting takes place, Czestochowa are likely to have advanced to 19 points as they host relegation-doomed Rybnik on Friday evening, with Robert Lambert named in the main body of the team for the visitors. Lambert has been the only consistent scorer for the bottom club all season, and whilst their future is destined to be back in Division One next year, he will surely be attracting interest from other Ekstraliga clubs.

He can press those claims further on Friday when he goes up against current GP riders Leon Madsen, Jason Doyle and Fredrik Lindgren with the home side on a high following their win at Lublin on Monday.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Zielona Gora host Leszno knowing that a home defeat could put their top-four place in severe jeopardy, whilst the round will be completed by a re-arranged clash between Grudziadz and Lublin on Tuesday, the meeting having been an early postponement due to the weather forecast. That means two home matches in 24 hours for Grudziadz, as their delayed Round 12 fixture against Wroclaw has been re-scheduled yet again and will now be raced on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Anders Rowe is back in action for Rawicz on Friday afternoon when they travel to Rzeszow. It’s the return fixture from last weekend when Rawicz collected a 54-35 home win, although Rowe missed that fixture. On Friday, however, they will not be tracking Ekstraliga regulars Bartosz Smektala, Jaimon Lidsey and Szymon Slauderbach.