Elite League: Birmingham to face Wolverhampton in play-offs after finishing top
Last Updated: 17/09/13 3:25pm
Birmingham beat King's Lynn in the final heat to win 47 - 43.
Birmingham Brummies made sure they would finish the Sky Sports Elite League regular season on top of the table with a 47-43 victory over King's Lynn Stars.
Jason Doyle (13+1) won the 15th heat to secure a home win for the Brummies, though they were pushed all the way by the visitors at Perry Barr Stadium.
"We've got a good team spirit - we are disappointed tonight, we all are as a team - but it's better to happen now than in the play-offs"
The Stars showed they would not make things easy for their hosts when they moved 15-9 courtesy of a victory in the fourth heat from Rory Schlein. Birmingham did peg them back to 18 apiece, but Mads Korneliussen responded to push King's Lynn back in front.
However their hopes of a shock result on their travels suffered a blow when Korneliussen came off his bike in the next heat and ended up in the air fence.
Not only was he ruled out of the rest of the meeting but Ben Barker led home Josh Auty in the re-run to record a 5-1 result in Birmingham's favour.
Yet the Stars dragged themselves level with a 5-1 of their own in the 13th heat thanks to Niels-Kristian Iversen and Schlein, setting up a thrilling finish in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
In the end, though, Doyle continued his dominant performance by winning the final two races, while the Brummies also benefited from picking up a fortunate point in the 14th when Auty was adjudged to have left his bike on the track after it had cut out.
Afterwards manager Phil Morris announced that Birmingham had selected to face Wolverhampton in the play-offs, with the table-toppers opting to travel away for the first leg.
"We've done well against them home and away, so we believe we can hopefully do a better job than we did tonight," he told Sky Sports.
"We've got a good team spirit - we are disappointed tonight, we all are as a team - but it's better to happen now than in the play-offs."
In the other semi-final Swindon will face Poole after the former finished off Lakeside's hopes of reaching the last four with a 54-38 triumph over the Hammers. Hans Andersen managed a maximum 15-point haul for the Robins.