Rebels take all the points
Somerset Rebels took all four match points in a Premier League Cup encounter at Plymouth.
THE Cases Somerset Rebels travelled to Plymouth’s St Boniface Arena in a Premier League Cup group encounter and left with all four match points in a scintillating performance.
The Rebels went into the meeting with a distinct game plan, knowing Plymouth’s number 1, Ben Barker, might well be the individual star of the show, the team concentrated on picking up heat advantages.
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Just four last places for the Rebels, two of which came as a result of race exclusions, and the fact Somerset secured five maximum 5-1 heat advantages from their seven race winners, while Plymouth could only post three heat advantages from their eight winners, tell their own tale and sums up Somerset’s domination of this match.
Somerset took the lead as early has heat two when reserves Kyle Newman and guest Cameron Heeps ran in the first of those Rebels 5-’s and from thereon, Somerset were never headed.
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As the match reached its halfway point, Somerset had already established an eight point lead with only Barker and Ryan Fisher providing any sort of resistance for the home side, both being unbeaten from their respective two rides at this stage of proceedings.
A slightly fortuitous 5-1 to the Devils in heat eight, this after Somerset’s Newman was forced to start off a 15 metre handicap following a starting offence. Then their guest replacement Cameron Heeps earned an exclusion for a fall when chasing down the Plymouth duo, brought the home side back to within four points.
But it was to be a false dawn for the Devils’ faithful, as the Rebels hit back with three maximum heat wins of their own over the course of the next four heats to put the outcome of the match beyond doubt.
Going into heat 12 and 12 points in arrears, the Devils’ management had no option but to resort to the ‘black and white’ double point tactical ride, with Ryan Fisher being handed the responsibility of getting his side back into the match.
It was to no avail, as Fisher made a poor start with the outcome being a fifth Somerset 5-1 of the night, it put the Rebels in an almost unassailable position and although Plymouth hit back with a 5-1 of their own in heat 13, it was too little, far too late.
James Wright took the chequered flag in heat 14, it ensured that Somerset departed the St Boniface Arena with the meeting victory, but also with the maximum four match points safely tucked away.
A share of the spoils in heat 15 brought matters to their conclusion and a 51-39 victory for the Rebels, their greater all-round strength, with every one of the septet being at least paid for a win, proving far too hot for Plymouth, Barker apart, to handle.
The Rebels enjoyed triple success on Saturday evening when the team and its riders were involved in three major victories on the same night.
First up were the Rebels themselves and their scintillating away win at Plymouth. That victory was quickly followed with the news that their reserve, Tom Perry, had finished equal top scorer in the British under-21 semi-final at Stoke, booking his place in the final on April 24, alongside Somerset’s seeded representative, Kyle Newman.
Finally, news filtered through that the Rebels’ mascot, 11-year-old Henry Atkins had won the opening round of the British Youth Championship 125cc support event at Leicester.
“It certainly was a magical few hours,” said Rebels promoter Debbie Hancock, “to get the win at Plymouth was great in its own right, but then to hear about Tom and Henry’s achievements was the icing on the cake.”
Somerset fans are reminded that the club have no home fixture tomorrow (Fri) and consequently, the Rebels next home match at the Oaktree Arena will be on April 27.
The Rebels have re-arranged last Friday’s League Cup encounter against Plymouth that fell foul of the weather for April 27, with a new date for the club’s home leg of their KO Cup tie against Ipswich that was originally scheduled for that night to be advised in due course.