Speedway: Somerset Rebels 46 Redcar Bears 44
PUBLISHED: 08:21 16 May 2019
Somerset Rebels bowed out of the SGB Championship KO Cup despite beating Redcar at Oaktree Arena on Wednesday.
Trailing by 17 points from the first leg, the last thing the 'Cases' Rebels needed were heat losses but they conceded two within the first three races as the Bears showed no intention of throwing away their advantage.
It took Somerset six heats before they could celebrate a heat gain of their own with Rory Schlein and Todd Kurtz, the pair having previously been beaten by the sizzling Tom Bacon in the opener.
Their 5-1 levelled up the meeting and two heats later the Rebels inched into a lead for the first time on the night through a 4-2 from Kurtz and Anders Rowe, although the stubborn Bears refused to allow Somerset to make any further progress.
There was a chance in heat 10 when Kurtz gated strongly but was relegated to last place down the back straight as Ben Barker and Jordan Stewart applied the pressure. Coming to the Rebels' rescue was Rory Schlein who battled furiously to assume the lead.
By now though, time was rapidly slipping away from the Rebels and when Nathan Greaves and Ben Barker combined for a 5-1 in heat 12 it not only wiped out Somerset's advantage on the night it also put the tie beyond the Rebels' reach, assuring Redcar of a rare entry into the quarter-final stages.
Assistant team manager Steve Bishop said: "It's been a very disappointing and frustrating night. We have been beaten out the starts mainly.
"'Bomber' [Chris Harris] has been absolutely superb and whatever he has done to get out the gate may he continue to keep doing that. But the rest of the lads have found it tough.
"They have all been sharing with each other what they have been trying but in too many areas it hasn't been working. Once the tie began to slip away from us we knew we needed to keep battling away just to make sure that we could pick up the win. That was needed for the confidence factor alone."
The Rebels did manage to secure a win on the night, with Chris Harris defying a vintage Charles Wright ride, with the ex-Rebel seeking his favoured outside line to overcome Schlein in heat 13 to keep the scores level.
But a brilliant ride by Nico Covatti to win heat 14 with Henry Atkins breathing down Jordan Stewart's exhaust inched Somerset ahead, with the advantage much needed as Wright avenged for his earlier defeat by Harris to new the Rebels skipper a personal maximum in a shared final heat.
Somerset are back in action on Friday night at Scunthorpe when they open their SGB Championship league programme.
Somerset: C.Harris 14 (3,3,3,3,2), R.Schlein 10+1 (2,3,3,1,1'), N.Covatti 9 (2,2,2,3), T.Kurtz 5+1 (0,2',3,0), A.Rowe 3 (2,0,1,0), V.Grobauer 3+2 (0,1',1',1), H.Atkins 2+1 (1',0,0,1).
Redcar: C.Wright 11 (2,1,3,2,3), B.Barker 9+1 (3,2,2,2',0), N.Greaves 6 (3,FD,0,3), T.Bacon 6+1 (3,0,2,1'), M.Palm-Toft 6 (1,3,2,0), J.Stewart 5+2 (1,1',1',2), J.Smith 1+1 (0,1',0,0).