Somerset Rebels 46 Kings Lynn 44
IN total contrast to last week's horrendous weather, when a torrential hailstorm brought the meeting to a halt, the Somerset Dickies Rebels finally got their home Premier Trophy campaign under way on a pleasant spring evening.
IN total contrast to last week's horrendous weather, when a torrential hailstorm brought the meeting to a halt, the Somerset Dickies Rebels finally got their home Premier Trophy campaign under way on a pleasant spring evening. The visitors were the Kings Lynn Stars, who can always be relied on to provide stern opposition wherever they go.
The Rebels came to the tapes without Steve Boxall, who was suffering with a migraine, and recent injury victim Jay Herne. They operated rider replacement for the absent Boxall, and re-introduced the experienced Californian and member of the Rebels 2008 Knockout Cup winning side, Brent Werner, into the line-up in place of Herne.
The Stars showed right from the start they were going to provide the Rebels with a difficult task, as the pairing of Topinka and Ekl�f blasted from the line to leave the Rebels top man, Shane Parker, and Brent Werner toiling in their wake.
The Rebels struck back immediately. Brent Werner's introduction had facilitated the move to the reserves for Ritchie Hawkins, giving the Rebels more power in that department. Hawkins was quickly into his stride, followed closely by team partner Tommy Allen, and tied up the scores.
The Rebels established a small lead in Heat 3 as Cory Gathercole, in for Boxall, took the win.
The Stars levelled again in the next heat as Kevin Doolan opened his account with a blindingly fast 56.96 seconds.
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Hawkins reappeared in the next heat, and rode a tough first bend to force Tomas Topinka to take a wide line.
Brent Werner has scored some important points for the Rebels in the past, but none more so than the three he picked up in Heat 6. The Stars never let the Rebels get too far away, as they shared the next two heats. Cory Gathercole held off Joe Haines, with the pair swapping places over the first two laps of Heat 7.
Ritchie Hawkins continued his busy night with a fast start in Heat 8, but he could not hold off the outside charge of Linus Ekl�f Hawkins had no time to rest as he was back out in the following heat and eclipsed Kevin Doolan.
The Stars looked as though they might eat into the Rebels eight-point lead as Joe Haines made a flying start in Heat 10 to lead. Cory Gathercole put down a tremendous burst to lead off the opening bend of Heat 11 and coasted to a bloodless victory.
However the Stars came storming back,taking advantages in both the next two heats. Firstly Kozza Smith opened his win account with a hard fought victory in Heat 12 and in Heat 13 Doolan took the honours again. Joe Haines finally picked up a deserved win in Heat 14, but not before holding off Sam Masters. So again the Stars had forced the match to a last-heat decider, needing a 5-1 to tie the match, with the Rebels needing the same to take all the points on offer. Kevin Dolan took his third win of the night, but not before he prevailed in a hard tussle with Cory Gathercole.
Ritchie Hawkins' all round performance deservedly earned him the Rider of the Night award.