Tigers spoil Rebels' party celebrations
PUBLISHED: 10:15 15 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:16 24 May 2010
SHEFFIELD Tigers were the party poopers at Somerset's 150th meeting celebrations as they gave a demonstration in gating to inflict the first home defeat suffered by the Rebels this season
SHEFFIELD Tigers were the party poopers at Somerset's 150th meeting celebrations as they gave a demonstration in gating to inflict the first home defeat suffered by the Rebels this season in another action-packed evening of racing at the Oak Tree Arena. The difference between the sides could be summed up in just two words, Ashworth and Wilson, as the Tigers' duo combined to record three 5-1 heat advantages which knocked the stuffing out of Somerset at crucial times in the meeting, just when it looked as if a Rebel fight back could be on the cards.The home fans had an early indication that it was not going to be their night when Magnus Zetterstrom made a sluggish start in the opening heat to hand the advantage to the impressive Ashworth-Wilson combination, and Sheffield a lead that they were never to relinquish. The three points dropped by Zorro in this one race being as many as he has dropped at home to opposition riders in all matches so far this season.Although the Rebels halved the deficit in Heat 2, Sheffield continually applied pressure, extending their lead courtesy of maximum heat victories whenever Ricky Ashworth and the new British Under-21 champion Ben Wilson came to the tapes. Zetterstrom apart, Somerset had no real answer to the Tigers superior gating and speed into the first bend, and with Kyle Legault, who made an impressive debut at the Oak Tree Arena, and Paul Cooper adding a further 5-1 for good measure in Heat 12, the Rebels were staring a home defeat in the eyes for the first time.A last throw of the dice by the Rebels saw Zetterstrom come out on a tactical ride in Heat 13, and although he obliged with his third heat victory of the night, his partner, Glenn Cunningham, needed all his skill and knowledge of the Oak Tree Arena to snatch third place from Tiger skipper, Andre Compton, on the line. This left Somerset needing two maximum heat victories in the final two races to claim an improbable victory, but although Paul Fry showed a welcome resurgence in his form to take the chequered flag in Heat 14, by packing in for the minor places, Sheffield sealed a deserved victory on the night.Rebels early season injury victim Pavel Ondrasik has recently reported excellent progress in respect of the injury that is currently keeping out of the saddle. Ondrasik, who broke bones in his wrist at Rye House in early March, has had the plaster removed from the wrist and has started exercising the hand in order to build up muscle strength.Pavel would like to express his sincere thanks to all the fans who donated money at the recent collection held at the Oak Tree Arena.