Friday June 29, 2007
CHRIS Holder and Jason Bunyan were celebrating on Friday night at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena, as the Isle of Wight duo raced to a dramatic victory against Glasgow’s Shane Parker and Craig Watson in the Grand Final of the 2007 Premier League Pairs Championship.

The Island pair looked set to finish in the runners-up spot on the rostrum, but in a thrilling finish to the final they both came from behind to snatch victory against the Tigers duo of Parker and Watson.

It wasn’t a good night for the Sheffield Tigers pair of Andre Compton and Ricky Ashworth though as they finished in last place in Group A with just 8 points. Isle of Wight 24 and Glasgow 22 progressed from the Tigers group, where they then competed against the top two from group B in Workington and Newcastle.

The meeting adopted the regular pairs meeting scoring system of 4 points for a win, 3 for second, two for third and zero for last place.

In their first ride the Sheffield duo were on the wrong end of a 7-2 from the Isle of Wight pair of Holder and Bunyan. Unfortunately it was more of the same in their second ride when Rye House’s Chris Neath and Tommy Allen took maximum points.

Next time out the home pairing of Emil Kramer and Magnus Zetterstrom jumped out of the start and managed to keep out the challenges of Ashworth and Compton for another 7-2 heat advantage. Glasgow’s Watson and Parker finished off a disappointing evening for the Tigers when they linked up for a 7-2 in Sheffield’s final ride of the night.

The group stage was now complete so the bumper Somerset crowd settled back in anticipation of the drama of the sudden-death semi-finals and Grand Final.

In the first semi-final Josef Franc took the chequered flag for Newcastle, but with Isle of Wight’s Holder and Bunyan second and third, it was the Islanders who qualified for the Grand Final with a slender 5-4 advantage. Workington’s Kauko Nieminen won the second semi-final, but with Glasgow’s Parker and Watson filling in behind the Comets rider, the 5 points were enough to see the Scottish side progress through to the final against the Isle of Wight.

Newcastle won the consolation final 6-3 against Workington to finish in third place.

In the Grand Final Parker was first away for Glasgow, with Islander Holder in hot pursuit ahead of Watson and Bunyan. On the third lap Holder fought his way past Parker to take the win, but with Watson holding third place ahead of Bunyan the Tigers still looked set for victory. However, they hadn’t accounted for Bunyan’s fighting qualities as he passed the Australian on the final lap. This wrapped up a great night for the travelling Isle of Wight supporters, as their team clinched the Premier League Pairs title in dramatic style with a last-gasp 6-3 advantage over the 2006 winners Glasgow Tigers.

GROUP A: Isle of Wight 24(Chris Holder 16, Jason Bunyan 8), Glasgow 22 (Shane Parker 12, Craig Watson 10), Somerset 21 (Magnus Zetterstrom 13, Emil Kramer 8), Rye House 15 (Tommy Allen 5, Chris Neath 10), Sheffield 10 (Andre Compton 2, Ricky Ashworth 6),
GROUP B: Workington 24 (James Wright 9, Kauko Nieminen 15), Newcastle 21 (Christian Henry 8, Josef Franc 13), King's Lynn 17 (Daniel Nermark 9, Tomas Topinka 8), Birmingham 16 (Emiliano Sanchez 4, Ulrich Ostergaard 12), Redcar 12 (Gary Havelock 10, James Grieves 2),

Semi-Final 1: Isle of Wight beat Newcastle (5-4)
Semi Final 2: Glasgow beat Workington (5-4)
Consolation Final: Newcastle beat Workington (6-3)
Grand Final: Isle of Wight beat Glasgow (6-3)

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