Rebels capture Premier League crown

The triumphant Somerset Rebels team.

The triumphant Somerset Rebels team. - Credit: Archant

The Somerset Rebels defeated Edinburgh over two legs to be crowned Premier League champions.

THE Cases Somerset Rebels are the 2013 Premier League champions after they beat the Edinburgh Monarchs at the Oaktree Arena in the second leg of the grand final 49-44, to win 92-89 on aggregate.

Going into the second leg two points down, Somerset quickly wiped out the deficit with a 5-1 heat win in the opening race, courtesy of Kyle Newman and Jason Doyle, but Edinburgh refused to yield and it not being until the final race of the night that Somerset were finally confirmed as the new champions.

By heat four Somerset had moved themselves into a six-point lead on the night, but were immediately pegged back by the Monarchs, Craig Cook and Max Fricke combining for a maximum 5-1 heat advantage.

The Rebels gradually started to pull clear and by the halfway stage had opened up a six-point lead on the night, which they extended to 10 points with their second 5-1 race win of the night in heat nine, with Nick Morris and Alex Davies doing the honours.

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Needing to stem the Somerset tide, Edinburgh sent their number one, Craig Cook, out on a double point tactical ride in heat 11, and while the Cumbrian duly obliged, the move was only a partial success as Charles Wright kept Cook’s race-partner Max Fricke at the back.

A 4-2 race win in heat 13 saw Somerset with one hand on the Championship trophy, with Josh Grajczonek and Jason Doyle picking up the points, extending Somerset’s aggregate lead to seven points with just two heats remaining.

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In heat 14, the Edinburgh duo of Vissing and Sneddon hit the front, but as the race progressed, Alex Davies passed Sneddon, his second place virtually assuring Somerset of the championship crown.

By now the rain that had threatened the meeting an hour or so prior to the scheduled start had returned with a vengeance, but all that was required from the final race was for Somerset to ensure that either of their two representatives, Jason Doyle and Josh Grajczonek, finished the race for Somerset to win their first-ever championship title.

Although the Edinburgh duo of Cook and Vissing held the initial sway from the tapes, Doyle nipped past Vissing to clinch the honours.

“After coming so close to winning the title last year you wonder if you will ever get the chance again, but we have now laid that ghost to rest,” said a delighted Debbie Hancock, the Somerset promoter.

“The guys have been absolutely brilliant all year, and they did it again for once last time. Edinburgh really made us work hard for our win, as we knew they would.”

SOMERSET 49: Jason Doyle 11+1, Josh Grajczonek 9+1, Ales Davies 8+1, Kyle Newman 7, Charles Wright 6+1, Nick Morris 6, Oliver Greenwood 2+2.

EDINBURGH 44: Craig Cook 14, Claus Vissing 12+1, Derek Sneddon 6+1, Theo Pijper 5, Liam Carr 4, Max Fricke 3+1, József Tabaka R/R.

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