Rebels knocked out of the cup

SPEEDWAY - Rye House 56 (93) Somerset 34 (87) The Somerset Sharp Rebels quest for a fourth consecutive Knockout Cup final appearance, and the chance to retain the trophy, came to an end.

Rye House 56 (93)

Somerset 34 (87)

The Somerset Sharp Rebels quest for a fourth consecutive Knockout Cup final appearance, and the chance to retain the trophy, came to an end on the dry, dusty, shaleless, and hard baked surface of the Hoddesdon, home of the Rye House Silver Ski Rockets.

Although the Rebels had arrived with a 16-point lead, it was always going to be a tight affair, as the Rockets are always more of a handful at home than they have been in recent season when visiting the Oak Tree Arena.

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The Rebels needed to keep it tight early on, but things started badly as early as Heat 1, with Simon Walker's machine stopping as he reached the start. The two minutes ticked away, and Walker was excluded to be replaced by Justin Sedgmen, who fell and was excluded from the re-run. The re-start saw a level break, but Emil Kramer finished last.

Sedgmen was back out immediately in the reserves heat with Tom Brown and the points were shared.

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Another shared heat followed for Cory Gathercole and Jay Herne. In Heat 4 Steve Johnston was quickly away inside Linus Sundstr�m and won from Andrew Silver with Sundstr�m in third..

Heat 5 saw the field break fairly level, but Emil Kramer finished third for a Rockets 5-1. Heat 6 was another 5-1 for the home side.

For the first time in this leg the Rebels took the opportunity to use the new tactical gate choice rule, and nominate the use of Gates 1 and 2 in Heat 7 and after three attempts at starting, the heat was shared.

In Heat 8, the Rockets immediately increased their lead, cutting the Rebels overall advantage to just two points with an easy 5-1.

Steve Johnston won Heat 9 in a re-run, with Chris Heath second and Tom Brown in third. Cory Gathercole made the best of a level break in Heat 10 but was passed by Tommy Allen and Jason Lyons as the Rockets took another maximum, putting the Rebels behind on aggregate for the first time.

The next two heats both went to the home side, as they pushed the Rebels further behind on aggregate. Linus Sundstr�m took the race, with Luke Bowen in second. Heat 12 was another maximum for the Rockets to put the Rebels eight points behind on aggregate.

In Heat 13 the Rebels again used the tactical gate rule, and for a second time chose to ride from gates 1 and 2. This time the ploy worked perfectly, as Steve Johnston and Emil Kramer posted a maximum.

With the Rockets advantage cut to four points, the Rebels needed to take two 4-2 advantages to get at least a tie. If one of those advantages were converted to a 5-1 the Rebels would go through in dramatic circumstance for the second time in consecutive rounds.

Cory Gathercole and Tom Brown were the two riders who had to contest the first of the vital heats. The very least that was required to give the Rebels a chance to salvage the tie was a 3-3, which would leave them needing a full house in the last heat to take an aggregate draw.

Unfortunately, the Rockets took a 5-1, which gave them the passage into the next round, but the drama was not over, as the result was put on hold, as the Rebels team manager put in a protest.

It appeared that Luke Bowen's chain guard had fallen off at the start, and he had completed the race without it. After deliberating Chris Gay threw out the protest.

The final heat was something of an anti-climax, but for the record it went to the Rebels 4-2. Steve Johnston was the winner with Cory Gathercole in third. On Friday, the Rebels next opponents will be the Newcastle Diamonds, and after the previous Sunday's fixture at Brough Park, the Rebels will be out for revenge. The match will also see the return to the Oak Tree Arena, of former Rebel, and fans favourite Jason King.

Somerset Rebels 53

Rye House Rockets 37

THE Rebels' quest to retain the Premier League Knockout Cup took another step nearer to becoming a reality, with their 16-point victory over the Rye House Silver Ski Rockets.

The Rebels may have taken a reasonable lead from this quarter-final first leg encounter, but no one should be under any illusions about the difficulty of the task they still face. The Rockets on their home shale will be a totally different proposition to the one that finally succumbed to a powerful second half performance from the Rebels.

The home side were without the services of Jay Herne, who had been recalled to the Bournemouth line-up at Scunthorpe. Brendan Johnson was again drafted in to replace Herne, as he had done last weekend at Newcastle.

The Rockets had problems of their own, with the continued absence of Robert Mear, although the blow was softened by the inclusion of Ty Proctor as their guest, and the quick return of injury victims Linus Sundstrom and Luke Bowen to the line-up.

For the first nine heats there was never more than two points between the teams with first the Rebels taking a narrow lead, then the Rockets returned the complement by levelling the scores, before the Rebels nipped back into the lead only for the Rockets to quickly level the match again.

In Heat 1 the Rebels were quickly off the mark with a 4-2 advantage. Emil Kramer took the win from Tommy Allen with Simon Walker in third. Neither side could establish any kind of superiority over the next four heats, which were all shared. Tom Brown won Heat 2 with Andrew Silver in second and Justin Sedgmen in third.

In Heat 3, Cory Gathercole won from the Rockets pair of Chris Neath and Tommy Allen.

The Rockets took their first heat win in Heat 4, when Linus Sundstrom snuffed out the challenge of Rebels skipper Steve Johnston with Justin Sedgmen in second.

Cory Gathercole added his second victory of the night in Heat 5 from Ty Proctor and Tommy Allen.

Linus Sundstrom make it two wins from two as he took Heat 6 with Emil Kramer in second and Luke Bowen in third. The resulting 4-2 advantage to the Rockets brought the scores level at 18-points each.

The Rebels restored their slender lead immediately as Steve Johnston took the next heat at the second attempt, with Linus Sundstrom heading Tom Brown into third.

In Heat 8 the Rockets levelled the scores for a second time, Tommy Allen heading Simon Walker with Andrew Silver in third.

Neither side could gain advantage in Heat 9, but Cory Gathercole posted his hat-trick of wins from Linus Sundstrom and Brendan Johnson.

From this point on the Rebels never allowed the visitors back into the meeting, and took the advantage in every remaining heat. First up, in Heat 10, the Kramer-Walker pairing beat Luke and Chris Neath. In Heat 11, Steve Johnston won from Ty Proctor, with Tom Brown in third and Tommy Allen last.

Tom Brown was straight back out in Heat 12 with a good start in the restarted heat, after Chris Neath jumped the start in the original attempt. Justin Sedgmen recovered from a slow start to take second and Luke Bowen in third and Chris Neath last.

The Rockets used the tactical gate move in Heat 13 taking gates 1 and 3, but for a second time it failed to pay off. Ty Proctor broke quickly, with Emil Kramer behind and Steve Johnston in third and Linus Sundstrom at the rear.

Cory Gathercole added win number four to his tally in Heat 14, Luke Bowen in second and Tom Brown and Andrew Silver at the back.

Gathercole did not have time to rest on his laurels, as he was back out immediately in the nominated heat. Steve Johnston joined him, and the Rockets sent out Linus Sundstrom and Ty Proctor off gates 1 and 3. Gatercole won with Johnston in second to give the Rebels a 16-point lead to take to Hoddesdon for the return leg the following night.

For the Rebels there were good performances throughout the team, but two in particular prompted the Rebels management to take the unprecedented step of awarding two Rider of the Night awards to Cory Gathercole and Tom Brown,

Scunthorpe Scorpions 47

Somerset Rebels 43

IN their last visit to the Eddie Wright Raceway, the Somerset Sharp Rebels were unlucky to come away without a point.

In that Premier Trophy encounter the Rebels performance over the opening three heats proved their undoing, but this time they kept it tight in the early exchanges, and in the end were unfortunate not to come away with more than just a single point.

The first three heats were shared, with the Scorpions supplying two winners to the Rebels one. In Heat 1, Magnus Karlsson made the best of a re-start to lead all the way from Emil Kramer and Jay Herne, who had fallen in the original start, causing the re-run.

The Rebels took Heat 2 with Tom Brown coming from behind to pass Byron Bekker to share the points with Jerran Hart in second and Justin Sedgmen in third spot.

Heat 3 was also re-run after Carl Wilkinson fell, and was excluded, trying to get around Jay Herne. In the second running, Simon Lambert led, before Cory Gathercole passed him on the second lap, but Gathercole fell on the penultimate bend of the final lap, gifting the race to Lambert.

The Scorpions took a slender two-point lead in Heat 4, and the following three heats were shared, before the Rebels levelled the scores at the halfway point in the match.

Steve Johnston made a great start in Heat 4 to lead away, but advantage David Howe grabbed the win with Jerran Hart in third place.

The Scorpions looked to have increased the lead when Simon Lambert led Heat 5 from Emil Kramer. Carl Wilkinson took third place on the fourth bend to put the home side on a 4-2, but Kramer plugged away and took up the running on the second last bend to share the points. Steve Johnston led all the way in Heat 6, with the Scorpions pair filling the minor places, and Tom Brown never being able to get in a blow.

Jay Herne challenged David Howe for the lead of Heat 7, until Howe eased into a lead and Cory Gathercole took second from Herne, and Byron Bekker never got in a blow at the rear of the field.

The Rebels brought the match level in Heat 8, with Cory Gathercole taking the win, Viktor Bergstrom in second and Justin Sedgmen accounting for Jerran Hart.

Another shared heat followed as Steve Johnston battled side by side with Simon Lambert in Heat 9, before he edged into the lead starting. The Rebels might have had another heat advantage, but Carl Wilkinson denied Tom Brown third place.

In Heat 10 the Rebels chances of taking points from the tie were dealt a crushing blow, as the Scorpions hammered in a 5-1 to move four points clear. The home riders fired out of the gate to lead from Cory Gathercole and Emil Kramer.

In Heat 12, Jay Herne led from the tapes to take the win, but the Rebels were denied a 5-1 when Jerran Hart took second place from Tom Brown.

The Rebels led for the first time in Heat 13, as Kramer and Johnston rocketed from the gate to lead all the way. Viktor Bergstrom ran the pair down, after Howe had tried but failed, but in the final analysis he had no answer to the Rebels early pace.

The visitors lead was short lived as the Scorpions took a 4-2 advantage in Heat 14 to tie up the scores, and set up a tense last heat.

In Heat 14, Magnus Karlsson flew from the tapes to lead all the way from David Howe with Emil Kramer in third

Workington Comets 50

Somerset Rebels 45

WORKINGTON's team manager Ian Thomas is a magician of some repute and a member of the Magic Circle, but his Somerset counterpart, Ronnie Russell, pulled the rabbit out of the hat as far as this match was concerned. The Rebels looked dead and buried when a Comets 5-1 in heat 13 left them 15 points adrift of their hosts with just two heats remaining, but somehow they conjured up a final two heats that left the Derwent Park crowd shell-shocked as Somerset closed to within five points at the finish to take a vital point from this meeting, a point that looked a forlorn hope for the vast majority of the match.

In the opening race Kevin Doolan and Craig Cook, in as replacement for Workington guest Paul Cooper who was excluded for a tapes infringement, shot from the tapes leaving Somerset's Emil Kramer and Jay Herne trailing.

With Kramer suffering from a back injury sustained the previous evening at Scunthorpe and looking ill at ease, the omens did not look good for the Rebels, but their young Aussie recruit, Justin Sedgmen, gave them some cheer in Hat 2 with an impressive victory.

Workington soon doubled their lead, with Rymel and Lawson beating Cory Gathercole. While Somerset skipper Steve Johnston won Heat 4, it only provided the Rebels with a share of the spoils to still leave them eight points in arrears, which was increased to 10 points just a heat later with Rymel taking his second win of the night.

Johnston was out again in Heat 6 on a double point tactical. Johnston did not disappoint and took the win, but with his race partner Tom Brown was unable to make an impression at the back.

After a shared Heat 7, a third Comets maximum race win of the night in Heat 8 stretched their lead out to 11 points, and things were starting to look decidedly grim for the Rebels.

With the points being shared in each of the following four heats, it did at least give Somerset some hope, albeit slim, of taking something from this match, but those hopes were given a massive knock in Heat 13 when Doolan and Compton hit the Rebels with the fourth 5-1 heat advantage of the match.

Fifteen points to the good and with just two heats remaining, the Comets must have felt that all three Premier League points would be heading their way, but they reckoned without the Rebels fighting spirit.

Heat 14 saw Cory Gathercole out for the Rebels second double point tactical ride of the night, and the moved looked to have worked a treat as Justin Sedgmen got the lead from the tapes, Gathercole moving through into second place behind his team-mate.

To maximise the tactical move, Somerset needed Gathercole to finish in front of Sedgmen, but as the race unfolded Sedgmen showed no signs of slowing to allow his partner through into the lead and he crossed the line to win with a somewhat bemused Gathercole finishing second.

Although the resultant 7-1 race win to Somerset still gave them a chance of finishing within six points of the Comets and take a league point away with them, but only a 5-1 heat win for the Rebels in the last race would be good enough.

As the tapes rose, Gathercole made it into the first bend in the lead, but crucially for the Rebels, Johnston had come between the Workington duo of Rymel and Compton into second place.

Gathercole and Johnson crossed the line to give Somerset that all important 5-1 heat win, and to literally snatch a league point from under the Comets' noses.

Newcastle Diamonds 55

Somerset Rebels 37

AFTER their heroics of the previous two evenings at Scunthorpe and Workington, a third road meeting in as many days was probably a match too far for Somerset as they succumbed to this heavy defeat against Newcastle.

In truth, the Rebels were never really in the match mainly due to letting good positions slip away, handing points to the Diamonds, which they could ill-afford to do if they were to take anything away from this match.

Already eight points in arrears after the first five heats, perhaps the Rebels knew that it was not going to be their night when skipper Steve Johnston fell in Heat 6 when challenging Newcastle guest William Lawson on the final turn, the lost two points adding to a dropped point when Justin Sedgmen got caught on the line for second place by the fast-finishing Lee Complin two races earlier.

Twelve points down going into Heat 8 even Somerset's double point tactical move failed to pay any dividends as Cory Gathercole's bike struggled away from the start, and although Johnston stopped the rot somewhat in picking up four points for a tactical ride second place in Heat 9, Newcastle were almost home and dry.

Although Somerset staged a remarkable fight-back the previous evening at Workington to earn themselves a point, a repeat performance against the Diamonds was never really on the cards, the Rebels only real consolation being that they managed to hold Newcastle in the latter stages of the meeting to avoid a heavier margin of defeat.

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