Rebels tame the Fen Tigers
PUBLISHED: 10:18 18 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:53 24 May 2010
THE Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels secured their place in the end of season championship play-offs with a superb away victory at Mildenhall
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 40 Somerset Rebels 50(Aggregate bonus point score Somerset 92, Mildenhall 88)THE Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels secured their place in the end of season championship play-offs with a superb away victory at Mildenhall. Having lost the home match earlier in the season by six points, the omens for a victory were not good when the Rebels were forced to take to the track without the services of Glenn Cunningham, who was suffering from a foot injury, utilising the rider replacement facility in his absence.The dedicated band of Somerset fans who had made the long trip to Suffolk must have felt that it was not going to be their afternoon when Magnus Zetterstrom fell while leading the opening race, but taking advantage of the situation, his race partner Glen Phillips nipped through from last place to take the lead, holding off a strong challenge from home number one Jason Lyons to take the race victory. More drama ensued in the following heat as Somerset reserve Simon Walker came to grief in exactly the same spot on the first bend where Zorro had fallen. Although excluded from the re-run, the riders from both camps were far from happy with the condition of the West Row track and referee Mick Bates requested remedial work had to take place before he would let racing re-commence.From the re-run of Heat 2, the Fen Tigers took a two-point advantage, which, through a run of shared heats, was maintained by the time the meeting reached Heat 7. A maximum 5-1 heat victory to Mildenhall in that race opened up a six-point lead, much to the delight of the home fans, but the Rebels immediately replied in the following race with a 5-1 of their own, Ben Barker and Glen Phillips being the dynamic duo on this occasion. By Heat 10, the Rebels had drawn level and from there on in just pulled away from the Fen Tigers over the final five heats, outscoring them by 20 points to 10. Although the meeting was virtually secured by Heat 14, there was still the matter of the aggregate bonus point to be fought for, the Rebels still trailing by two points in this respect as the match entered the final two heats. What transpired next will surely rate as Somerset's heat of the season as Ben Barker and Emil Kramer took a crucial lead from the tapes over the Mildenhall pairing of Jason King and James Brundle. With Barker taking the outside line, Kramer rode a fantastic race alongside his young partner to thwart King's whole-hearted efforts to split the Somerset duo. It was a demonstration of team riding of the highest quality and one that had the Somerset fans cheering home the pair to a well deserved maximum heat win.Going into the final race, Somerset needed only to share the heat to take the bonus point and with Kramer and Zetterstrom taking the lead from the tapes, it was game over as far as the hapless Fen Tigers were concerned. Although Daniel King did manage to pip Zorro on the line for second place, it was too little to late for the home side, and the Rebels headed back to Somerset with a further three Premier League points in the bag, moving up to fifth place in the Premier League standings as a result.Fresh from securing their place in the end of season championship play-offs with this win, the Rebels turn their attention to Knockout Cup action this evening with the visit of the Sheffield Pirtek Tigers in the first leg of their semi-final encounter. The Rebels will, no doubt, be seeking revenge on the Tigers as the Sheffield outfit inflicted Somerset's first home defeat of the season back in May when the teams met in the Premier League. At the time the defeat appeared to represent a serious dent to the Rebels hopes of a play-off place, but since then they have become a real force to reckon with and will be looking to take a good lead back to Yorkshire for the return leg on September 28.With less than two weeks now until Matt Read's big night of speedway, a further two names have been announced as confirming their appearance at his meeting on September 22 at the Oak Tree Arena. Great Britain International Chris "Bomber" Harris who, in keeping with a number of others lining up on the 22nd, is an adversary of Matt's from their days riding junior grass track. In addition to Harris, Matt has also secured the services of one of the hottest young prospect currently riding in British speedway, Rye House's Steve Boxall. Matt would like to point out to fans who are planning to come to the meeting that due to the curfew at Somerset, the pre-meeting parade will commence at 7.15pm with the first race being started at 7.30pm.Fans are, therefore, advised to arrive in plenty of time to ensure that they do not miss any of the action as the start cannot be delayed to accommodate latecomers.