First away point for Rebels
PUBLISHED: 11:43 07 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 24 May 2010
SOMERSET Mike Manning Audio Rebels did not get their weekend of three away matches in three days off to a good start with a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Edinburgh Monarchs. The home side hit the Rebels hard in the opening races, recording five
SOMERSET Mike Manning Audio Rebels did not get their weekend of three away matches in three days off to a good start with a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Edinburgh Monarchs.The home side hit the Rebels hard in the opening races, recording five maximum 5-1 heat victories in the opening eight heats, an onslaught from which Somerset never recovered.With skipper Magnus Zetterstrom finding it difficult to come to terms with the faster starting home riders in those early heats, one would excuse the Somerset fans from fearing a record away defeat.However, in the second half of the match, the Rebels staged some sort of fight back and although they could not close the gap on the Monarchs, they managed to contain the home side, courtesy of Zetterstrom running unbeaten in his final three rides and a big 8-1 tactical heat victory in Heat 14 by Emil Kramer and Ben Barker.Despite an immaculate five-ride maximum from skipper Magnus Zetterstrom, the Rebels not only suffered their second defeat in as many days, but also let the bonus point slip from their grasp in this Premier League encounter with Berwick.Although Somerset were forced to take to the track minus Stephan Katt, who was away in Austria riding in the European championship semi-final, things looked good for the Rebels as they managed to contain the Bandits to a mere four-point lead after the opening six heats, but then the floodgates opened as the home side hit Somerset with four consecutive maximum 5-1 heat wins.A 7-2 tactical heat victory by Zetterstrom and Phillips gave Somerset some hope of at least coming away from Shieldfield Park with the bonus point, but a further 5-1 to the Bandits in Heat 12 swung the pendulum back to the way of the home side.Going into the final race, Somerset required a 5-1 heat victory of their own to snatch the bonus point away from the Bandits, but although Zetterstrom completed his maximum with his fifth win of the night, his partner, fellow Swede Emil Kramer, could not find a way past the Bandits' skipper Michal Makovsky and had to settle for third place, leaving the Bandits to collect the three Premier League points.One could understand if the Rebels approached the match with Newcastle with some trepidation given the results of the previous two evenings, but as this team has shown already this year, they are made of sterner stuff and set about rectifying matters from the off.Skipper Magnus Zetterstrom carried on where he left off the previous night in Berwick with a heat victory in the opening race, and with Glen Phillips picking up a vital third place, it put the Rebels into the lead.Although the home side hit back in Heat 2 with a maximum heat advantage, they had some degree of fortune as Somerset's Ben Barker was holding a comfortable second place as the riders headed for the line, only for his bike to suffer an engine failure and the youngster finishing last.The Rebels regained the lead when Glenn Cunningham, who had one of his best away meetings this season, and Ben Barker recorded a 5-1 of their own in Heat 4 to put Somerset two points to the good.Some tight races ensued in the following heats, but entering the last third of the meeting Somerset had stretched their lead to a slender four points.Just when it looked as if a first Premier League away victory was there for the taking, Newcastle hit back in Heat 13, hitting the Rebels with their second 5-1 of the match to bring the scores level.A shared heat in Heat 14 meant the sides entered the final race with the scores all tied in at 42-all and everything to ride for. Once again Zetterstrom proved to be the Somerset hero as he took the race victory, but try as he might, Emil Kramer was unable to find a way past the Newcastle duo of Stancl and Franc and the match ended in a draw 45-45 and Somerset's first away point of the season, which could be crucial in the final reckoning for a top eight play off spot.Somerset Rebel number 1, Magnus Zetterstrom, will be making his 11th appearance in the Swedish Speed-way Championship when he lines up in the final at Matala.Zorro will be looking to improve on his best ever finish of fourth place in last year's final.Zetterstrom's joy at making the final yet again is tempered by the fact that the Rebels will be without his services for Saturday's Premier League meeting at Rye House which is taking place the same night.The Somerset management have moved quickly, however, to secure the services of King's Lynn's Czech international, Tomas Topinka, as a guest rider to cover for Zetterstrom's absence.
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