Rebels gain a bonus point

SPEEDWAY - Berwick Bandits 48 Somerset Rebels 42  - AFTERthe previous night s match at Edinburgh fell victim to the weather, the Rebels travelled to Berwick for their Premier League encounter with the Bandits.

Berwick Bandits 48

Somerset Rebels 42

AFTERthe previous night's match at Edinburgh fell victim to the weather, the Rebels travelled to Berwick for their Premier League encounter with the Bandits.

In what was a close fought affair, Somerset drew first blood when after a shared opening heat, Berwick's Makovsky headed home the Simon Walker and Steve Johnston combination, Tom Brown sped to victory in Heat 2, and with Justin Sedgmen passing Greg Blair for third place, the Rebels took an early two-point lead.

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Berwick immediately hit back with a maximum 5-1 heat advantage courtesy of Franc and Clews. Trailing now by two points, Somerset levelled the scores in Heat 4, Cory Gathercole taking the race victory ahead of Burza for the Bandits, the Czech just pipping Justin Sedgmen for second place.

By the time the meeting moved into its second half, the scores were still tied at 24-all, but Heat 9 was to be one of two pivotal heats that finally decided the outcome.

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The hitherto unbeaten Gathercole was squeezed out by the Bandits duo of Clews and Franc as the home side hit a vital maximum 5-1 heat advantage to give them a fou- point lead.

Three drawn heats followed before the Rebels were to suffer cruel misfortune in Heat 13 that virtually sealed the match the way of the Bandits.

After coming to the tapes for the start of the heat, Steve Johnston's bike gave up the ghost, and as he was unable to get it started within the allotted time allowance, he was excluded by the meeting referee.

With passing at a premium on the narrow Shielfield Park track, Somerset decided to send out reserve Tom Brown as replacement for Johnston rather than start him off a 15-metre handicap, hoping that Gathercole could take the heat win to at least keep the Rebels within striking distance of the opposition.

Unfortunately it was not to be, as Gathercole was outpaced from the gate by the home duo and the Rebels now found themselves eight points in arrears with just two heats remaining.

A share of the spoils in Heat 14 left Somerset needing a heat advantage in the final heat to earn themselves a point from this match, and iJohnston played the captain's role by sweeping round the outside of Berwick's Franc and Burza to take the lead. Behind him Gathercole edged in front of Burza for third place, and with Johnston holding on for the race victory it brought Somerset to within six points of the Bandits and with it a well deserved league point.

The Rebels return to the Oak Tree Arena on Friday to face the Stoke Potters in a Premier League meeting, and the Rebels will be hoping to make it a win double over the Potters, having already beaten Stoke on their visit to the Oak Tree Arena in the Premier Trophy at the start of the season.

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