Full house for Kramer

PUBLISHED: 09:18 04 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:48 24 May 2010

Somerset's Ben Barker leads Stoke's Barrie Evans during heat 8.

Somerset's Ben Barker leads Stoke's Barrie Evans during heat 8.

WHAT, on paper at least, looked a potentially tricky encounter for Somerset proved to be anything but, as they cruised to another home victory, and put themselves in pole position for the bonus point when the teams meet back at Loome

Somerset 58 Stoke 34WHAT, on paper at least, looked a potentially tricky encounter for Somerset proved to be anything but, as they cruised to another home victory, and put themselves in pole position for the bonus point when the teams meet back at Loomer Road next month.The Somerset fans must have been wondering, however, if it was going to be one of those nights as Stoke's Paul Thorp raced to victory in Heat 1, inflicting the first defeat by an opposition rider on Somerset's Magnus Zetterstrom since July 14, an unbeaten run of 22 races.Normal services was resumed in Heat 2 as Walker and the impressive Ben Barker raced away to an easy 5-1, and from there the Rebels took a lead that was never seriously threatened. The Potters did manage to keep things tight for the first half of the meeting, Leverington's slowing up of Katt in Heat 5 to allow Thorp to make light of his 15-metre handicap for a tape offence being typical of their resilience in these early stages.Eight points to the good at the half-way stage, the Rebels just powered away, recording heat advantages in five of the final seven heats, the exception to the rule being Heat 10 as Kessler blocked Phillips' attempt on an inside pass to allow Paul Clews to earn a third place, and again in the penultimate race when Kessler got double points to share the race, finishing a distant second behind Somerset's maximum man Emil Kramer.Prior to that Thorp took the first of the Potter's tactical rides in Heat 11, but this proved to be a disaster as he made a real mess of the start, only to be held up at the back by his race partner in an attempt to salvage something from the race.All that was left for the visitors was to try and restrict the deficit ready for the return match, and when Clews sped out of the gate in Heat 12, Stoke's hopes for just their third race winner were raised, only for these hopes to be dashed as, before the first lap was out, Katt and Barker went either side of the hapless Clews to record Somerset's third 5-1 in four races.With Mark Lemon withdrawing from the meeting after three rides suffering from a virus, Somerset just piled on the pressure, their determination being typified by Cunningham's refusal to accept fourth place in the final race by sweeping past Kessler off the final bend in the race for the line.Yet again, Somerset showed their strength in depth, and although Zetterstrom missed out on his customary home maximum, it was his fellow countryman, Emil Kramer, who had the perfect racecard to register his first full house for the Rebels and a healthy 24-point lead to defend in the return fixture.

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