Rebels denied by the rain
Torrential downpour denies Rebels a final appearance
THE only winner at the Premier League Fours Championship at Leicester on Sunday was the weather, which prevented the Somerset Rebels lining up in the grand final.
After a delay of over an hour due to rain which arrived just as the pre-meeting rider parade was taking place, the two semi-final groups were eventually staged with Somerset finishing in second place in their side of the draw after a tense struggle with Glasgow. The Rebels just pipped the Tigers by a single point to claim their place in the final behind home favourites Leicester, with Ipswich and Workington progressing from the second semi-final.
Unfortunately it was at this point that the rain returned, and it was so intense that it left the organisers no option but to abandon the meeting before a wheel was turned in the final. It will now be run at Leicester at a date to be confirmed, with the four teams competing over 16 heats, as opposed to the 12 which were scheduled on Sunday.
In the meantime, the Rebels face another potentially tough encounter at the Oak Tree Arena tomorrow (Fri) when the Workington Comets provide the opposition, the original staging of this meeting falling foul of the weather back in June.
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Workington are currently lying in third place in the Premier League, one place ahead of Somerset, with both sides looking to close the gap on league leaders, Sheffield, and Glasgow.
While Somerset expect to be at full strength, Workington will be without their free scoring reserve, American Kenny Ingalls, who is out due to injury.
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“After our excellent performance against Berwick last Friday, it goes without saying that it will be a case of ‘more of the same’ when we face Workington,” said Rebels promoter Debbie Hancock.
“We need to keep the pressure on the top two in the league, and winning our home matches, claiming maximum points in the process, is a must from here on in.”
Somerset Rebels 59 Berwick Bandits 31
SINCE the Rebels last met Berwick at Shielfield, the Bandits have strengthened their line-up, bringing in Wolverhampton youngster Ludvig Lindgren. With Josef Franc also present, the Bandits were at full strength at the Oak Tree Arena.
The Rebels found themselves behind after the first two heats but in the third Christian Hefenbrock and Sam Masters punched in the first home maximum of the night and, over the next two heats, Somerset increased their lead as they took advantages in both races.
Berwick’s leader Lee Complin prevented the Rebels from taking a full complement of points in heat four, but his team mates in the fifth could not avoid the inevitable against the Hefenbrock/Masters combination who, for the second time on the night, rode to a bloodless victory.
In the next heat Complin took a nasty looking fall on the home straight, resulting in a re-run which finished shared. The Bandits then reduced the deficit in the seventh, when they took a maximum advantage of their own after the second re-run of the night.
The Bandits switched reserves in the eighth, replacing Jade Mudgway with two-time winner Mitchell Davey. But things went badly wrong for the visitors and the Rebels added a further five points to their total, increasing their lead to 28-20.
The Rebels dominated the rest of the meeting, clocking up maximums in heats 10 and 11. Heat 12 saw the Bandits, surprisingly; add a second maximum to their total to stop the slide, but it only proved temporary.
Any chance of a major Bandits revival was stopped as the Rebels closed out the final three heats of the meeting with a trio of full houses to complete the rout of the Borders battlers.