Rebels gain bonus by narrow margin
PUBLISHED: 14:38 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:46 24 May 2010
THE Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels claimed their sixth bonus point of the season in a nail-biting encounter at Premier League new-boys, the Redcar Bears. Taking a 16-point advantage from the ho
REDCAR 54 SOMERSET 39(Aggregate Somerset 96, Redcar 95)THE Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels claimed their sixth bonus point of the season in a nail-biting encounter at Premier League new-boys, the Redcar Bears.Taking a 16-point advantage from the home meeting into this return fixture, things looked good for the Rebels in the early exchanges as they kept pace with the Bears, the scores being level at 21-all after the first seven heats. The home side, however, turned on the power in the second half of the meeting, gradually pulling away to ensure the Rebels were not going to claim their first away win of the season in the Premier League. With the meeting out of reach, the Rebels concentrated their efforts to win the aggregate bonus point, their hopes raised when Magnus Zetterstrom inflicted his second defeat of the night over Redcar's ex-world champion, Gary Havelock, in Heat 13 while on a double point tactical ride. With the equally impressive Emil Kramer also out on a tactical ride in Heat 14, the bonus point looked safe, the more so as Kramer sped into an early lead.Misfortune, however, is never far away and the Swede's dash for the chequered flag was cut short as he suffered a puncture that forced him from the race, gifting Redcar a maximum 5-1 heat advantage, and at the same time cutting Somerset's aggregate lead to just three points with just one race remaining.Although Havelock exacted revenge for the two earlier defeats he suffered at hands of Zetterstrom, the Somerset skipper rode a calculated race to ensure second place which gave the Rebels the aggregate bonus point by the narrowest of margins. SOMERSET 58, NEWPORT 35THIS meeting was as one-sided as the score suggests as the Rebels easily disposed of a disappointing Newport outfit.Despite torrential rain in the morning of the meeting and a further heavy down pour just 45 minutes before the scheduled start, the track was in good condition as Magnus Zetterstrom proved when he powered away in the opening heat to win in one of the fastest times seen at the Oak Tree Arena this season.An early onslaught by the Rebels took them into a 12-point advantage after the opening four heats, leaving the Wasps no option but to reach for the black and white helmet colour as early as the fifth heat. While guest Chris Neath duly obliged with the six points, he received no back up from his partner, Tony Atkin, as Somerset's deadly duo of Katt and Kramer ensured the tactical move was of limited success.Heat 5 just about summed up the Newport effort against a Somerset side that was determined to take a good lead back over the Severn Bridge for Bank Holiday Sunday's return leg, an occasional good ride, with Collins and Parsons being the only other visitors to take the chequered flag, but with no support from the rest of the team.The Wasps did provide a mini revival during the midway point of the meeting when Collins and Parsons won consecutive races, but this was to be a false dawn for the Newport fans as Somerset showed no mercy in the latter stages, recording six heat advantages in the final seven races, to take the meeting by 23 points on the night.While the Wasps were, to say the least, generally poor opposition, nothing should be taken away from the Rebels who rode with much greater determination than their opponents, Zetterstrom being largely untroubled on his way to a fourth consecutive home maximum. His only set-back came in the final heat when the lively Neath beat him out of the traps, but this was to prove no problem for the Super Swede as he stormed around the outside of the third bend to pass Neath as if he were standing still. As in keeping with recent home matches, however, Zetterstrom received excellent back-up from the rest of the team, with only the machinery-plagued Glen Phillips not taking a race victory for Somerset.All in all, the Rebels can be well pleased with the ease with which they not only took the two points on offer, but also in the way they kept racking up the points to give them a realistic chance of another bonus point when they visit the Hayley Stadium at the end of the month.* With the Rebels' defence of their Premier League Fours title falling foul of the weather at the weekend, the new date for this prestigious meeting will be Saturday, October 7, with Workington's Derwent Park again being the venue. Heavy overnight rain last Friday left the Workington staff precious little time to prepare the track for Saturday night's meeting.Further rain on the Saturday morning left the organisers no option but to call off the meeting early in an attempt to stop as many travelling fans as possible from making the unnecessarily long trip to Cumbria.* Somerset's away match with Stoke in the Premier League, which was originally due to take place in July, has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 16.September's fixtures: Friday 1, Swindon (h), Challenge Match; Friday 8, to be confirmed (h); Saturday 9, Mildenhall (a), Premier League; Friday 15, Sheffield (h), Knockout Cup semi-final first leg; Saturday 16, Stoke (a), Premier League; Friday 22, Matt Read's farewell meeting at the Oak Tree Arena; Thursday 28, Sheffield (a), Knockout Cup semi-final second leg.