Speedway: Crunch time for Somerset Rebels
PUBLISHED: 15:29 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:29 23 September 2019
It is crunch time for the 'Cases' Somerset Rebels with their end-of-season play-off semi-final being contested over two legs in the space of 48 hours.
SGB Championship table-toppers Leicester selected Redcar as their opponents, leaving the Rebels to be involved in a 'Four By Two' contest with the Glasgow Tigers.
Somerset finished fourth after their 20-match regular league programme whilst the Scottish club were placed second. Equally, the Rebels were triumphant in the league's Fours competition and, only on Friday, Glasgow secured the Pairs trophy.
Rebels owner Debbie Hancock is looking forward to a tough week of speedway, saying: "Glasgow are a good solid side, very much like we are so I think we should be in for a real showdown.
"As Glasgow finished second and we ended up fourth many will believe that we are the underdogs. That is fine by me to be honest.
"The numbers four and two can sum up the two clubs season so far, so perhaps we can score plenty of four-two heat advantages and put ourselves in the final!"
The Rebels will be hoping that their solid top four of Nick Morris, Rory Schlein, captain Chris Harris and ever reliable Nico Covatti will offer a strong foundation across the two meetings, which starts on Wednesday at the Oaktree, concluding with the second leg on Friday in Scotland.
Looking to counter the Rebels will be Craig Cook and Rasmus Jensen, who both showed their liking for the Oaktree Arena on Friday when they lifted the Pairs title.
The Tigers will have a slightly different look to the side that inflicted a 48-42 defeat on the Rebels when they last visited at the end of July when they were operating rider replacement for the injured ex-Rebel Paul Starke.
They have since brought on board young Danes Sam Jensen and Mikkel B Andersen to join Claus Vissing in the main body of the side with Kyle Bickley and Connor Bailey occupying the reserve berths.
The Rebels' defeat came on the night they first presented their current make-up as Morris, Stoneman and Luke Harris made their season debuts, a factor that is not lost on team boss Garry May who said: "We had to make the changes when we did and the lads were coming in raw against a very good side, so at least this now gives us the opportunity to make amends for that result.
"It's going to be tough but then play-offs always are. We are up for it, though, we've reached this far and now it is a question of doing enough to get to the final. I say, Bring it on!".
Teams, Somerset Rebels: 1 Rory Schlein 2 Anders Rowe 3 Nick Morris 4 Nico Covatti 5 Chris Harris 6 Nathan Stoneman 7 Luke Harris. Team Manager Garry May.
Glasgow Tigers: 1 Craig Cook 2 Mikkel B Andersen 3 Claus Vissing 4 Sam Jensen 5 Rasmus Jensen 6 Connor Bailey 7 Kyle Bickley. Team Manager Cameron Brown.