Rebels shoot down the Comets
PUBLISHED: 10:34 08 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 24 May 2010
SOMERSET Mike Manning Audio Rebels opened their Premier League campaign with a hard fought victory over a determined
SOMERSET Mike Manning Audio Rebels opened their Premier League campaign with a hard fought victory over a determined Workington outfit. For the first ten heats of this encounter there was never more than two points between the sides, with the Rebels taking the early advantage, holding that two-point advantage at the halfway stage of the meeting. In some respects the Comets were fortunate to only be trailing by such a slender margin as in Heat 1, Glen Phillips suffered a puncture on the final lap, after superbly coming from the back to pass Piszcz and Thorp, this allowing Thorp to snatch second place on the line. Then in the following heat, Barker suffered mechanical problems while on a clear 5-1 with his reserve partner Simon Walker.The visitors took full advantage of these misfortunes. They rocked the home fans with a 5-1 heat advantage in Heat 8 to take the lead for the first time on the night, and although the Rebels immediately hit back in the following race to level the scores, with just five heats remaining and the scores even, the match could have swung either way.The turning point came in Heat 11, when, after an unusually quick start by Cunningham, he was brought down as the riders entered the first bend by Piszcz in a move that could only be described as reckless in the extreme. With the Pole justifiably excluded from the re-run, Cunningham stormed into an early lead, but the real action was happening behind him as Somerset reserve Simon Walker made a pass on Thorp and then rode a mature three laps to hold off the vastly more experienced Comet No 1. The resultant 5-1 took the Rebels into a four-point lead, and galvanised the team to pull away in the final few heats, which included a further maximum heat win in Heat 13, and run out deserved winners by 10 points.Once again, Magnus Zetterstrom led from the front with a faultless maximum, ably supported by Glenn Cunningham and Stephan Katt, the home crowd reserving a special cheer for Paul Fry in Heat 14 as he looked more like his old self after his recent run of mechanical problems, taking a well deserved victory over James Wright. For the Comets, only Ritchie Hawkins, on his return to the Oak Tree Arena, showed any consistency, Thorp and Stead both having their moments, taking a heat victory each, but both tailed off in the latter stages, which allowed the Rebels to inflict only the Comets' second defeat of the season so far in taking the two Premier League points, as well as maintaining their unbeaten home record.