Speedway: Somerset Rebels without Schlein for Scotland trip
PUBLISHED: 09:03 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 06 September 2019
Somerset 'Cases' Rebels have been dealt an eve-of-meeting blow ahead of their trip to Edinburgh on Friday with number one Rory Schlein ruled out following a crash at Poole on Thursday.
Schlein, something of a track specialist at Edinburgh, will be a big loss for the Rebels who look set to operate rider replacement to cover his absence.
He was the unfortunate victim of a first bend crash in heat seven of Wolverhampton's shock victory at Poole, a result that secured Schlein's Premiership club a play-off place.
Despite turning out in the re-run of the heat in which he crashed, he was in too much discomfort with a shoulder injury and was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the meeting.
Watching events unfold was Rebels' team manager Garry May who said: "Rory was desperately unlucky to be involved in the crash and we can only hope that the injury proves not to be too serious.
"We are going to miss him big time at Edinburgh. It's a track where he has a good record, one where we could expect another good score from him.
"I have tried to book a guest but have drawn a blank. To get a rider to step in at such short notice for the long trip up there has been a big problem and so reluctantly it is looking like rider replacement.
"As he is the number one for the month we can use anyone in the team but that said I would much rather be going there with a full seven riders.
"I think it has made the task of picking up those valuable points we need to put ourselves at arms length from Sheffield so much harder, and it was never going to be easy. But we will battle on and arguably there is more pressure on the chasers to get the points than there is on us."
Somerset currently have 36 points with just Friday's match to complete, while only Sheffield, Edinburgh or Berwick can overhaul them, with Sheffield currently nine points adrift with a maximum of 11 points open to them.
But that would mean they cannot afford to lose any of their three matches and would need a seven or more points victory at either Edinburgh or Glasgow to overhaul the Rebels.
Edinburgh currently have five matches to fulfil and trail Somerset by 17 points. With three of those five at home and thus a potential nine points it would also mean they would need the maximum four points from both their visits - Berwick on Saturday and Newcastle.
Berwick are the only other side that could deny Somerset a top-four finish and they have just four matches to make up 13 points.
They complete their home schedule on Saturday with a double-header against Edinburgh and Glasgow. If they were to 'max' out with those then they would need to gain a total of seven points from their away travels to Birmingham and Glasgow.
But the Rebels currently have the advantage of a favourable race points difference (plus 57) with their three rivals all in a negative state, so it would require a big points swing should they match the 36 league points tally that Somerset have in the bank.
The Monarchs return to full strength with Cameron Heeps resuming racing while the Rebels, apart from the absence of Schlein, will be unchanged from the order in which they rode when defeating Edinburgh by 20 points on Wednesday night.
Teams, Edinburgh: Sam Masters, James Sarjeant, Josh Pickering, Ricky Wells (Capt), Cameron Heeps, William Lawson, Connor Coles. Manager: Alex Harkess.
Somerset: Rider Replacement for Rory Schlein, Anders Rowe, Nick Morris, Nico Covatti, Chris Harris (Capt), Nathan Stoneman, Luke Harris. Manager: Garry May.