Somerset put up a good fight
PUBLISHED: 10:57 11 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 24 May 2010
MAKE no bones about it, this was a full-blooded encounter and great entertainment for a large Oak Tree Arena crowd
Somerset 39.5 Swindon 54.5MAKE no bones about it, this was a full-blooded encounter and great entertainment for a large Oak Tree Arena crowd, and although Swindon took the expected victory in this inter-league challenge match, the Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels gave a good account of themselves and provided much stiffer opposition than many might have anticipated.Leigh Adams was the class one would expect of a World Number 3, but other than the Aussie, every other member of this full-strength Swindon septet had to yield at one point or another during the match to a home rider. Over eagerness got the better of Zetterstrom in his highly anticipated opening race with Adams as he was forced to start of a 15-metre handicap for a tapes infringement, but making light of this, Zorro passed Chrzanowski before the end of the first lap, and although the Pole pulled up later in the heat, he was well beaten by then.The home fans were soon cheering their first race winner of the night as reserve Simon Walker flew from the tapes to take an early advantage. First, Korneliussen tried to find a way past Walker but to no avail. Robin's guest Lewis Bridger took up the chase, but Walker was not to relinquish his lead and took a well deserved three points.The Robins then showed their superiority as they provided the heat winners of the next six races, Somerset's only heat advantage coming courtesy of a tactical 5-3 by Zetterstrom and Collins in Heat 6. The home riders stuck to their task, though, and Kramer's win over Bridger and Richardson in Heat 9 was quickly followed in the following heat with Zetterstrom inflicting the first of two wins he was to have over Travis McGowan.The measure of the night's racing was probably summed up in Heats 13 and 14 with Somerset's Glenn Cunningham refusing to accept last place and driving off the final bend to catch Richardson on the line, the finish being so close that referee Mick Posselwhite could not separate the two and called it a dead heat for third place.In the penultimate race, Kramer, who was out on a tactical ride, rode elbow to elbow down the back straight with Korneliussen before coming out on top, the Dane then retiring with what looked to be a lost chain. With Simon Walker picking up third place, it maintained Swindon's 15-point advantage going into the final heat, which was to be their final margin of victory as Zetterstrom headed the otherwise impressive McGowan home for a second time in the match.In the final analysis, the Somerset camp can be well pleased with their performance, especially at reserve where Walker and Barker were the equal of their Elite League counterparts, ahead of their push for a Premier League play-off berth.* Glen Phillips had a good meeting in the world longtrack in France on Saturday night. He had a mechanical problem during the heats which resulted in him missing out on the A final, but he then won the B final, leaving him holding sixth place in the current longtrack Grand Prix standings. Following his recent run of impressive scores for the Rebels, Ben Barker was called to guest for Reading in their Elite League match on Wednesday against Wolverhampton.