Rebels edged out of maiden Premiership play-off final
PUBLISHED: 15:37 03 October 2018
The Cases Somerset Rebels just missed out on a maiden Premiership play-off final when the Poole Pirates won the final heat of the night.
Somerset Rebels dreams of a maiden Premiership play-off final appearance was denied them by a piece of sheer brilliance by Pirates’ mid-campaign recruit Chris Harris, on a night when the Rebels were further hit by injuries.
Already without Bradley Wilson-Dean and Aaron Summers, they found themselves having to ride their second leg of the semi-final without Jack Holder, who became the innocent victim of a spectacular heat three crash that placed a 75-minute delay on the meeting as he and fellow Aussie Brady Kurtz were transported to Poole Hospital with shoulder injuries.
It left team manager Garry May needing to carefully deploy reserves Jake Allen and Nico Covatti as he tried to defend the early advantage the Rebels had built up.
With heat advantages from heats one and two the Rebels found themselves extending their lead and when Allen and Covatti filed another 5-1 in the heat three re-start, May had been delivered the kind of start he had hoped for.
Poole turned the tie on its head as they hit back with four maximum heat scores, aided by a harsh decision by Christina Turnbull to disqualify Jason Doyle from heat 11 after he was a victim of a first turn incident.
Covatti and Allen however showed true fighting spirit to win heat 12 and level the aggregate scores and with Somerset sending out only one rider in heat 13, due to the maximum ride rule they were reliant on Doyle who duly delivered.
Klindt repeated his first leg exploits by winning heat 14 which meant a heat advantage in 15 would send either side through.
For most of the race a shared heat looked on the cards, but Harris produced a piece of brilliance to utilise the track fully, close in on Doyle and find the speed off the final turn to steal the victory on the line which sent Poole into their 10th play-off final and left Rebels fans wondering what might have been.
Garry May, Jack Holder and Jake Allen after the heat four crash. Picture: Dave Fairbrother.