This Ekstraliga Final 1 was rescheduled from Sunday where rain in Lublin prevented the match against favourites, Wroclaw going ahead. And even tonight there were showers and umbrellas a-plenty as the tie took place in a damp Lublin with the home side using Riders' Replacement for the injured Grigory Laguta.
However, it was Wroclaw who started best with a 2:4 in the first heat. And whilst there was little overtaking until the first track grading pause, it always seemed like the black-yellow-red visitors who were the ones in the ascendency. They went into the break just two points ahead. But with the home side's Mikkel Michelsen (12) losing his first heat and junior, Wiktor Lampart (3) also scoring 0 pts on his first heat against senior opposition, it looked like Sparta might be about to walk this match home.
Not surprisingly in a match of this cailbre, there were a large number of 3:3 heats. However, it was the British pairing of Daniel Bewley (10+1) and Tai Woffinden (7) who finally extended the visitors' lead when they gained a 2:4 in Heat 11, damping the enthusiasm of already soaking home crowd.
Wroclaw then held this four point lead to go into the evening's final heat ahead by 40:44.
Then, at the crucial time, the 2021 European Champion, Michelsen gated perfectly, ably followed by the home team's rider-of-the-night, Dominik Kubera (pictured). The pair lead out of turn one, refused to let Maciej Janowski (11+1) spoil the party, and took an epic 5:1 to level the scores at 45:45. Lublin's 2020 Junior World Championship Silver Medallist top scored with an impressive 16+1 from 7 heats.
Understandably, the riders and fans alike went completely wild, celebrating this last home game of the season as though they had already won the championship.
Both teams will now go to Wroclaw with a sense that they can win the title. But surely Wroclaw's SGP riders, Woffinden and Artem Laguta (5+1) will do better than scoring 12 pts between them at home and will probably still be the bookies favourites to take the 2021 Ekstraliga title on Sunday.
Full scores from Zuzelend.