Rebels off to a dream start

AFTER a successful and well attended press and practice day, the Somerset Sharp Rebels set off for Newport and beat the Wasps 46 points to 44.

AFTER a successful and well attended press and practice day, the Somerset Sharp Rebels set off for Newport and got a firm grip on one handle of the Severn Bridge Trophy with a Heat 15 decider that saw them beat the Wasps 46 points to 44.Rebel's general manage, David Croucher described the afternoon as a dream start to the season."I thought the boys worked well together, and for a first outing of the season, with effectively two riders missing, we put up a pretty good show."Away wins are scarce in our sport, and I always figured we might have the edge after the unfortunate accident that stopped Craig Watson riding, but the news that Justin Sedgmen wouldn't arrive in time, and then the further withdrawal of Simon Walker on Sunday morning, definitely levelled the playing field a bit."But, as is always the case, there is absolutely no point in going to any meeting if you don't believe you can win. We went to Newport looking for a victory, and we got one.""Johno was the skipper I was sure we were getting, with some great team riding, Emil (Kramer) was just awesome, and Cory Gathercole looked to be back in the tip top form that he achieved middle of last summer."Our 2 reserves, Tom Brown and Jay Herne scored 5 +1 and 6 respectively and young Brendan Johnson, thrown in at the deep end with the No 5 race-jacket on, put up a good fight, and stayed on the pace despite failing to score."The original plan was to feed Brendan in to a home meeting once we were up and running and blood him gently, instead of which, he got a heat leader position in the first meeting of the season, and our local derby to boot. The lad did very well and I know the rest of the team feel that way too."So, with a six-man team, of whom half were just raw three-point reserves, I think that was an excellent performance from a Rebels side that very few people fancy the chances of this year."It was a strange feeling not seeing Tim Stone there, as I don't recall, over the last 10 years or so, ever having been to Newport and Tim not being around."But, as always, it was great to see some friendly and familiar faces at the Hayley Stadium, with many of the old guard returned to their positions in the pits, as has been the case for so many years. Steve and Nick Mallett have clearly put considerable effort and finance into the stadium and it was a pleasure seeing the place buzzing, if you will forgive the pun and speedway running once again at a venue many thought was lost to the sport for ever."As is always the case around a rider's injury, it was also a sobering afternoon knowing that Craig Watson was badly hurt the previous week, and it was great to see Craig in the pits prior to the meeting. Once again, Craig has been dealt a very cruel blow, in this most dangerous of sports, and I am sure I join every speedway fan in the country when I wish him well for a speedy and full recovery."So, we now look forward to the return leg this Friday back at the Oak Tree Arena, when we hope to pull the sting out of the Wasps tail for the second time in a week and put the first piece of silverware behind the bar in the Oak Tree Clubhouse.

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