Rebels hit back to snatch a draw

Somerset Rebels drew with the Plymouth Devils, just a day after they beat them at home.

THE Somerset Rebels recorded an excellent draw away at Plymouth, a day after winning 48-42 at the Oak Tree Arena.

In heat one, after a re-run when Anders Mellgren was excluded, Travis McGowan pulled clear to take an easy win. Heat two was shared as former Rebel Kyle Hughes took the victory.

Over the next two heats the Rebels opened up an eight-point lead, as they took full advantage of the gate choice with two full houses. Sam Masters and Joe Haines blasted from the gates to claim a heat three maximum. The next heat, Cory Gathercole and James Holder powered from the gates and led every yard of the way.

In heat five the Devils took a maximum as they reduced the deficit to four points. Heat six was shared as Cory Gathercole led from the tapes.

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The match moved into a spell of four heats where the home side had the inner gates, and they made it pay by adding three maximums, and turning a four point deficit into an eight point lead in the process.

Heat 11 came with a switch of gates, bringing a change of fortunes the Rebels way. McGowan and Mellgren made the inside pay with a blinding start to lead off the gates to the close.

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Both side switched reserves in heat 12, with Hughes and Holder coming in for Pickard and Davies. Jesper Kristiansen led all the way ahead of a fast starting Haines, with Holder taking the minor place.

McGowan overcame his gate disadvantage as he made a fast start in heat 13, to lead at the first turn, and with Gathercole caught at the back, the heat was shared.

The Rebels needed a big victory in heat 14, as they were still four points adrift. The Rebels were awarded a maximum after Hughes clipped Masters while he was in the lead, levelling the scores at 42-42.

In the nominated heat, Steve Bishop and Garry May tracked McGowan and the fired up Masters. For the Devils it was Parker and Kristiansen who took to the shale. With gate advantage the Devils looked assured of a win, but the Rebels pair outgated Parker and gave chase to Kristiansen.

Despite chasing hard, Masters was unable to close on the Dane, but he and McGowan took the minor honours to keep the scores level, and two deserved points for the draw.

The performance of the night came from Travis McGowan, who was fantastic at the gate, when it was needed, posting a 10+2 return. He was backed up by Sam Masters’ 10-point return and good scores from Cory Gathercole and James Holder.

Somerset 48 Plymouth 42

A COMBINATION of the vagaries of the British weather, and some high profile events, has kept the Somerset Dickies Rebels off the Oak Tree Arena track since their defeat at the hands of Sheffield on May 31.

This was a first-ever league meeting with the Plymouth Devils and the Rebels registered a 48-42 victory.

The Rebels saw the return of Travis McGowan, but have lost Dakota North (hand) and Christian Hefenbrock (shoulder and ankle) to injury, and Alex Davies has replaced the departed Hughes. The absence of North and Hefenbrock has been covered by the signings, in the last week, of Anders Mellgren and Joe Haines as injury replacements.

The action got underway for new boy Mellgren in the best possible way as he blasted off the line to lead all the way over Shane Parker and Devils skipper Mark Simmonds in heat one.

In heat two, Kyle Hughes led from the start, with James Holder and Alex Davies picking up the next two spots. Heat three saw the Devils take an early advantage in the fixture as they took a 2-4 win, with Jesper Kristiansen taking the honours, followed home by Sam Masters.

The Devils lead was short lived as Cory Gathercole and James Holder led before the opening turn in heat four and went on to record a maximum. Masters won the next heat at a canter to keep up the momentum.

The next two heats completed three shared races that kept the Devils in the hunt. Firstly heat six saw Stichauer take the honours, edging out Mellgren. Heat seven saw Gathercole win easily.

The Rebels broke the deadlock in heat eight with Anders and Holder riding home to a full house over Simmonds and Pickard, to open up a six point lead for the home side.

Two more shared heats followed as the Rebels struggled to break free of the Devils. Sam Masters took a stunning heat nine and in heat 10, Mellgren took first place from Kristiansen after McGowan had crashed out.

The Devils shocked the home fans in the next two heats as they took advantages in both. Firstly, Park, won heat 11 with Gathercole in second. In heat 12, the Devils took a maximum with Kristiansen and Hughes beating Haines and Holder.

The Rebels got back on track in the next, taking a 4-2, with McGowan finally posting a win, with Gathercole third. The home side restored their six point lead as they posted a full house in heat 14, when Holder, who was in for Davies, made a terrific start to lead up from Sam Masters. The pair then rode Simmonds and reserve switch, Kyle Hughes out of the race.

The nominated heat saw Mellgren take one of the places to cap a dazzling debut for the Rebels, with Sam Masters coming to the tapes alongside him. For the Devils it was Shane Parker and Jesper Kristiansen taking to the tapes.

When they rose, Parker shot to the front from Mellgren, and led into the first bend, a lead he kept to the end, with Mellgren and Masters taking the next two spots.

Mellgren top scored for the Rebels with 13 to earn him the Rider of the Night award from match sponsors Whitepack Network Servies. He was backed up by good performances from Holder with 10+1, Gathercole (9) and Masters (11+2).

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