Controversy reigns on the island
PUBLISHED: 10:49 24 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:38 24 May 2010
Controversy surrounded last night s Premier League meeting between the Isle of Wight and the Somerset Rebels as the referee, Phil Griffin, called a halt to proceedings with one heat remaining and the match delicately poised with just two points separatin
Controversy surrounded last night's Premier League meeting between the Isle of Wight and the Somerset Rebels as the referee, Phil Griffin, called a halt to proceedings with one heat remaining and the match delicately poised with just two points separating the two teams. Unfortunately, due to lengthy delays due to a number of falls occurring during the early heats involving Nick Simmons and Chris Johnson from the home side, the meeting ran much later than normally expected and before the final heat could be run the track curfew time of 10pm clicked round, leaving Mr Griffin no option to abandon the meeting.As 12 heats were completed, the result will stand, much to the annoyance to the Rebels, who felt they would have been in with a good chance of snatching the meeting victory in the final race.Way back at the start of the meeting, however, the Rebels showed their statement of intent when Magnus Zetterstrom won the opening heat in a new track record for the Smallbrook circuit of 67.3 seconds, 0.3 seconds inside the previous record.The home side then provided the next three heat winners, but with the Rebels generally filling in for the minor places the Islanders had only pulled out a two point lead.To prove his first ride was no fluke, Zetterstrom then went out in heat 5 and although he could not better his time of the first race, his winning time of 67.5 seconds was, once again, inside the previous track record.There had already been a couple of lengthy delays by now as home reserve, Nick Simmons had taken two first bend falls in his opening two rides, both leading him to be excluded from the re-runs as well as leaving Simmons requiring medical attention.The second of these falls saw Simmons also send Somerset's Ben Barker crashing into the safety fence, but after a short delay he was able to walk back to the pits unaided, although his bike was looking decidedly 'second-hand!'A maximum 5-1 heat win to the Islanders in heat 6 saw them eke out a four point lead, but heat 7 saw a further lengthy delay as Islanders Chris Johnson was a victim of first bend bunching that saw him coming to grief, hitting the safety fence with some degree of force. Eventually Johnson was able to get to his feet. Obviously dazed, was taken from the track in the ambulance and was forced to retire from the meeting.Six points down after heat 8, the home side were unable to press home their advantage, the Rebels ensuring that the next four heats were all shared, Glenn Cunningham riding a great four laps in heat 9 to take the win ahead of Jason Doyle.Although home number 1, Chris Holder, gained revenge over Zetterstrom for his heat 1 defeat by beating the Swede in heat 11, the cost to the Australian was a blown motor to his bike as the riders completed their four laps.Holder was then unable to come to the tapes for the crucial heat 13, and with the Islanders tracking just one rider in the heat, the Rebels took full advantage with Cunningham and Zetterstrom storming away to register a 5-1 heat victory of their own and to bring the Rebels back to within two points of the Islanders. Although home skipper, Stojanowski, took his first race victory of the night in heat 14, the Somerset pairing of Kramer and Simon Walker claimed the minor places to set up a nail biting final heat - if only it had been able to take place!So, in far from satisfactory circumstances, the Isle of Wight claimed the meeting victory, and although the Rebels had the satisfaction of claiming the aggregate bonus point, they left the Isle of Wight convinced they had been robbed of a possible two vital away Premier League points.ISLE OF WIGHT 'WIGHTLINK' ISLANDERS 43SOMERSET 'MIKE MANNING AUDIO' REBELS 41(Meeting Abandoned After Heat 14 Due To Track Curfew-Result Stands)(SOMERSET WIN AGGREGATE BONUS POINT 95-85)THE Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels were in no mood to suffer another home slip-up following last week's defeat against Mildenhall and this showed as they took the lead in the opening heat with Rye House, courtesy of a Zetterstrom-Phillips 5-1, a lead they never looked like ever relinquishing.Although the Rockets kept things tight after conceding the opening 5-1 by providing the following three heat winners, they never seriously troubled the Rebels who then recorded three consecutive 4-2 heat advantages to take a 10-point lead into the second half of the meeting.Rye House hopes were raised in heat 8 when Boxall and Roynon took advantage of a poor start by both of the Somerset riders to post the Rocket's only true heat advantage of the night, but their joy was short lived as the impressive Katt and Kramer combined for a second maximum heat win for the home side. From thereon in, it was mainly a case of damage limitation for the visitors, and to a certain degree, they managed it, falling only a further two points behind the Rebels over the final six heats. Despite the Rebels appearing to be in control of this meeting from the off, there was no lack of action on the track, none more so than Glenn Cunningham's stalking of Kennett for third place in Heat 13. The Rocket's Number 1 thwarted Cunningham's renowned outside moves at every opportunity, until Cunningham suddenly produced a masterly cut-back on Kennett on the final lap to take a well deserved point for the home side.Somerset fans also had plenty to cheer in the following race as Simon Walker looked to be back to full fitness following his recent back injury by scorching to the heat win and in the process stopping Rye House's Tommy Allen taking full advantage of his tactical ride.The basis of the Rebel's success was their great all-round strength, all bar the battling Ben Barker scoring at least a paid win, whereas the Rockets were far too inconsistent, only Ross Brady taking more than one heat win for the visitors.In the final reckoning, the Somerset fans left the Oak Tree Arena well satisfied with their team's performance in returning to winning ways and claiming two further Premier League points, but no doubt the Rye House side of the pits will feel they have done enough to be in with more than a shout of the bonus point when the teams reconvene at Hoddesdon next month. The Rebels will be looking to collect a further three Premier League points when the Glasgow Premier Travel Inn Tigers visit the Oak Tree Arena this evening. The Rebels narrowly lost out when the teams met in Glasgow last month, eventually going down by 10 points, 50-40, but following their impressive victory over Rye House last week, the team will go into the match full of confidence not only for the victory on the night, but to recoup those 10 points and gain the all important aggregate bonus point on offer.