Rebels on top form
Somerset Rebels 48 Stoke Potters 42 - IT WAS just as well that the Somerset top three were on top form as Stoke pushed the Rebels all the way.
Somerset Rebels 48 Stoke Potters 42 IT WAS just as well that the Somerset top three were on top form as Stoke pushed the Rebels all the way, their point for finishing within six points of their hosts being just rewards for the part they played in this a match.Every time Somerset thought they had got themselves some sort of advantage, so the Potters would hit back, heat 15 epitomising their attitude, Bunyan never giving up on trying to find a way past Gathercole for third place that was to ensure that Stoke took something away from this meeting.Even though the racing was top quality, the main talking point was to revolve around two separate incidents that saw both teams lose a rider from the action. The first of these came in heat 6, which saw Sedgmen and Morris racing wheel to wheel for third place when, as Sedgmen pulled alongside Morris as they headed down the home straight, Morris started to lean all over Somerset's young Australian, causing him to lift. Not one to be easily intimidated however, Sedgmen maintained his line as best he could, which resulted in Morris hitting the deck on the first turn.Referee Christina Turnbull had no hesitation in rightly excluding Morris from the re-run, on top of which the Welshman was forced to withdraw from the meeting suffering from mild concussion.Three heats later and it was Somerset's turn to lose a rider, Simon Walker joining Morris on the sidelines.Chasing down Kristiansen for second place, Walker went for a gap on the outside of the as the pair entered the home straight, only for the Dane to forcibly close the door on his adversary, leaving Walker no option but to shut off the power to avoid coming to grief.After the riders crossed the finishing line, Walker, right on Kristiansen's tail, clipped his back wheel, throwing the Rebel over the handlebars, landing heavily on his shoulder. Despite lengthy on-track treatment, Walker was ferried to hospital with a suspected collar bone injury.As for the match itself, whilst they were never headed, the Rebels could not shake off the Potters, six points being the most daylight they could put on the visitors, in fact Stoke might well have harboured thoughts of another away win when they got themselves within two points of Somerset with just three heats remaining.But with their 'big three' out in each of those final three heats, the home side were not going to let this match slip, and so it proved, though with Johnston completing his maximum ahead of Madsen, it left Bunyan to make the telling move on Gathercole that saw the visitors take a well deserved point from this match.Birmingham Brummies 47Somerset Rebels 43THE Rebels came agonisingly close to break their away day duck for the season in going down by just four points at Birmingham in the Premier Trophy, though they did have the consolation of taking a point from this match courtesy of losing by less than seven points, their first away point of the season.They drew the first heat with skipper Steve Johnston winning with relative ease and the reserve pairing of Jay Herne and Tom Brown gave Somerset an early advantage with a maximum 5-1 race win in Heat 2.Birmingham immediately hit back with a 5-1 in Heat 3, Ksiezak and Lindgren beating Emil Kramer and Simon Walker.The scores remained level after Heat 4, Piszcz winning and Gathercole and Herne picking up the minor placings. Heat 4 was the last that Birmingham new boy, Daniel Halsey was seen on track, as as he was withdrawn from the meeting with back problems.The Rebels edged into the lead again in Heat 5, Johnston making it two wins on the bounce, but with Sedgmen picking up third spot ahead of Ksiezak, it gave Somerset a slender two point lead 16-14.Birmingham immediately hit back to level the scores, Lyons beating Gathercole, with Sweetman picking up the point for third place over Tom Brown, the sides were locked together at 18 points apiece.A heat later, and still nothing could separate the sides, Birmingham's Piszcz making it two wins out of two, but Kramer and Walker filled the minor places for the third shared heat of the night.In Heat 8, Sweetman and Taylor overcame Sedgmen and Herne for a 4-2 win and the hosts extended their lead to six points in Heat 9 as Ksiezak and Lindgren combined for their second maximum heat win of the match.Emil Kramer kept the Rebels in the match, winning heat 10, over Jason Lyons, but Simon Walker was unable to make any impression at the back.The race that virtually decided the outcome of the match came in Heat 11, a heat that contained great skill and bad sportsmanship in equal measure.Tomasz Piszcz fell in the initial running, and in the re-run, Ben Taylor a held off Steve Johnston. Taylor's heroics maintained Birmingham's six-point lead, which they further extended to an eight-point advantage in Heat 12, Ksiezak and Taylor, combining for a 4-2 heat win, this after Tom Brown was excluded from the first attempt to re-run the race, after he came to grief on the first turn.Despite Johnston winning Heat 13 without any undue trouble over Lyons and Piszcz, with Gathercole bringing up the rear, but Birmingham had virtually sealed the match.Although Kramer won the penultimate heat, Taylor's second place ahead of Herne was enough to give the match victory to the Brummies, but with the Rebels having cut the margin of deficit to six points, they were at least in with a chance of claiming their first away point of the season.The final heat again saw Piszcz the centre of controversy, when he fell on the first turn, and he remained on track, and was excluded in the re-run.With Birmingham only tracking Ksiezak, it meant that so long as both Somerset riders finished, they would be taking a point and so it proved, Johnston making it four wins out of five on the night, leaving Kramer, who was forced to use Herne's bike after mechanical problems hit his own with to take third place behind Ksiezak. SOMERSET Rebels Justin Sedgmen and Brendan Johnston were presented with a cheque for �729 prior to the Rebels recent home match against Birmingham by the members of the Somerset Riders' Equipment Fund (SREF), the money being bequeathed to SREF by the late Wally Monkton, who had been a speedway exponent having ridden at Exeter's County Ground.It was Mr Monkton's wish that the funds be used to help some of the younger Somerset Rebels who are just starting to establish themselves in sport, speedway being notoriously expensive for those riders at this level, the money being donated to the club by the Antell family on behalf of Mr Monkton, "This was a tremendous gesture by Mr Monkton," said SREF member Diane Phillips. "He derived much pleasure from watching his speedway and having ridden himself, always had a keen interest in the young riders just making their way up the speedway ladder. Both Justin and Brendan are competing in the Premier League for the first time and this bequest will help them no end."LITTLE more than a month into his on track comeback after an injury to his lower back forced him to sit out more than half of the 2008 campaign, Somerset's Simon Walker finds himself back on the injury list, this time with suspected muscle and ligament damage to his arm.