Another maximum for Zorro
PUBLISHED: 09:12 04 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:48 24 May 2010
THE Somerset Rebels secured their first away Premier League victory of the season, a win that puts them on the threshold of guaranteeing a top eight play-off place which will determine the Prem
Newport 43 Somerset 47(Aggregate: Newport 78, Somerset 105)THE Somerset Rebels secured their first away Premier League victory of the season, a win that puts them on the threshold of guaranteeing a top eight play-off place which will determine the Premier League Champions.Carrying a 23-point lead into this meeting, the bonus point was in little danger, but the Rebels were determined to break their away duck at the home of local rivals, Newport Wasps, and things started well for the hordes of travelling Somerset fans as skipper Magnus Zetterstrom streaked away to an opening race victory in the fastest time of the meeting. With race partner Glen Phillips gaining a vital third place, it gave the Rebels first blood in what was to be a thrilling encounter.Four drawn heats then followed, Somerset being slightly fortunate, however, in Heat 3 as Collins and Schramm had established a healthy lead over Somerset's Kramer and Katt, only for Schramm to lose control as the riders entered the back straight on the third lap which forced him from the race. At the half way stage, however, the home side had eked out a six-point lead, courtesy of two 5-1 heat advantages in Heats 6 and 8, leaving the Somerset fans fearing the worst, especially with Cunningham and Katt looking ill at ease on an unpredictable Newport track.Worse was to follow for the Rebels in Heat 9 as ex-Rebel Neil Collins blasted around the outside of Cunningham on the fourth bend as the riders were about to start their last laps, a stunning move by Newport's Number 4 that had Cunningham shaking his head in disbelief. Emil Kramer took the chequered flag in Heat 10 to stop the rot of Newport victories, but still trailing by those eight points with just five heats remaining, a victory was starting to look beyond Somerset's grasp.This, however, is a different Somerset to that seen in previous years, and the riders showed amazing determination and sheer riding ability to eat into that Newport lead. Magnus Zetterstrom won his third race of the day in Heat 11, and with Phillips again picking up a vital third place, Newport's advantage was cut to six points going into the final four races.The meeting was then turned on its head as Somerset recorded two successive 5-1 maximum heat advantages, Stephan Katt suddenly finding his gating boots just when they were needed to partner young Ben Barker to the first of these in Heat 12, to be followed by Zetterstrom and Cunningham taking the Rebels into the lead by two points with a 5-1 of their own in Heat 13.Emil Kramer ensured Somerset went into the final heat with that advantage as he took his second win of the afternoon in Heat 14, to set up a thrilling last heat decider for the match victory, the bonus point having gone Somerset's way much earlier on in the meeting. With the unbeaten Zetterstrom lining up for Somerset in the all-important last race, Rebel hopes were high of holding on to their two point lead, and so it proved as Somerset's Super Swedes Zetterstrom and Kramer took the advantage from the tapes, and although Kramer hit difficulties half way through the race to allow Wilkinson into second place, Somerset were home and dry, winning the meeting 47-43.The team were superbly led by maximum man Magnus Zetterstrom this being the 12th time this year that Zorro has finished a meeting unbeaten by an opposition rider, and their lap of honour was greeted with rapturous cheers from the Somerset fans. Another home defeat for Newport left them just one place off the bottom of the Premier League table as Somerset take a big step forward towards those championship play-offs.