Friday August 30, 2013
The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels travelled to Edinburgh with an 8-point lead to defend from Tuesday’s 1st leg of this KO Cup semi-final tie, it being a minor miracle that the meeting even got under way in the first place.

Heavy and persistent rain from mid-afternoon until almost the start of the meeting looked to have put the match in doubt, but despite this, the Armadale track staff were still able to produce an excellent race track, and with the riders all committed to racing, the meeting duly got under way.

The opening 2 heats saw Somerset’s 8-point lead halved with them both ending in 4-2 race wins for the Monarchs, Edinburgh’s Craig Cook getting the better of Jason Doyle round the 1st turn to win heat 1, while home skipper Derek Sneddon took the honours in heat two, albeit with Somerset’s Charles Wright pressurising Sneddon for all 4 laps of the race.

The Somerset ship was steadied somewhat with a share of the spoils in heats 3 and 4, Alex Davies and Josh Grajczonek packing in behind Edinburgh’s József Tabaka, this after the Rebel duo had both come past Theo Pijper after the Monarchs had gated on a 5-1, Nick Morris having a much easier time of things as he took a ‘gate to flag’ victory in heat 4.

Edinburgh then brought themselves to within 2 points of Somerset’s aggregate lead, the Monarchs duo of Pijper and Tabaka initially having gated on a 5-1 before Tabaka was passed by both Doyle and Newman on the back straight of the opening lap, the Hungarian then regaining 3rd place when he passed Newman down the home straight a lap later.

Heats 6 and 7 were to see the pendulum swing back the way of the Rebels, Nick Morris seizing on a rare mistake by Monarchs’ number 1 Craig Cook to slip through into the lead with Charles Wright following Morris past Cook into 2nd place it being a lap before Cook was able to find a way past the Somerset reserve.

Heat 7 was almost a carbon-copy of the previous race as it saw an Edinburgh rider, on this occasion it being Claus Vissing, hit the front from the tapes, but a smart inside move by Josh Grajczonek on the 4th bend saw the Somerset rider ease himself past the Dane, and with Alex Davies picking up the point for 3rd place, it brought the match score to 22-20 in favour of the Monarchs, with Somerset holding a 6-point aggregate lead.

As the tapes rose on heat 8, it saw Somerset’s Charles Wright get his nose in front as the riders took to the first bend, but with all four riders virtually hitting the bend at the same time, it resulted in the respective number 2’s, Edinburgh’s Max Fricke and Rebel Kyle Newman hit and subsequently go through the Armadale safety fence in what look to be an horrific incident.

Thankfully, after lengthy treatment by the paramedics, both riders were able to get to their feet, albeit they were both withdrawn from the meeting as a consequence of the crash, the Edinburgh track-staff then being called in action once again as major repairs were needed to the safety fence.

With both Fricke and Newman unable to continue, their respective places in the re-run were taken by Liam Carr and Lewis Rose, and it was Carr who was to be the surprise winner of the race, he going round the outside of everyone else on the first turn and held on for the win despite Somerset’s Charles Wright putting the youngster under severe pressure throughout.

Nick Morris then made it 3 wins from 3 starts as he sped from the tapes in heat 9 for a relatively comfortable 3 points, but with Pijper and Tabaka packing in for the minor places it kept Edinburgh 4 points to the good on the night, but with Somerset holding a 4-point aggregate lead.

That lead was to be cut to just 2 points in heat 10, Craig Cook and Derek Sneddon hitting the front from the tapes before Josh Grajczonek split the duo to claim 2nd place by passing Sneddon on the final bend of lap 2.

It took 2 attempts to run heat 11, Somerset’s Jason Doyle being a bit too eager to get away from the tapes at the first time of asking but it made no difference as the re-run saw Doyle hit the front once again from the off.

Behind him, though, Charles Wright had swept around Carr on the first bend and was in hot pursuit of Edinburgh’s Claus Vissing, he moving past the ex-Rebel with an outside pass on the 4th turn, Wright’s momentum taking him up alongside Doyle, who allowed Wright to take the lead while the Somerset skipper held station in 2nd place to repel any possible fight-back by Vissing, though none was forthcoming.

That maximum race win suddenly cut Edinburgh’s lead on the night to just 2 points, but as the tapes rose on heat 12, it looked as if the Monarchs were to immediately hit back with a maximum race win of their own when Pijper and Sneddon hit the front from the tapes.

But with Grajczonek quickly on Sneddon’s case, it was only a matter of time before he was past and into 2nd place, it then being the cue for Wright to attack Sneddon for 3rd place, but the Edinburgh captain just held on by half a wheel to deny Wright.

Heat 13 maintained the status quo, Cook passing Jason Doyle off the first turn to go on and take a straightforward win, but with Doyle and the hitherto unbeaten Morris never under any serious threat from Claus Vissing, Edinburgh still lead Somerset by 4 points, 41-37, in the match itself, but the Rebels were still 4 points up on aggregate with just two heats to go.

The penultimate race was to change the whole complexion of the meeting as it saw Edinburgh hit home a maximum heat advantage, courtesy of Sneddon and Pijper, Wright just failing to snatch 3rd place on the line from Tabaka, and within a blink of an eye the two sides were level on aggregate, 87-all with just one race remaining.

And what a heat 15 it was…..as the tapes rose it looked as if it would be Somerset going through to the Final when Jason Doyle and Nick Morris hit the front, but within a few metres that was all to change as first Craig Cook came through to take the lead with Pijper then relegating Doyle to the back as the riders entered the 3rd turn to make it advantage Edinburgh.

With a place in the final on the line, Doyle set about Pijper and despite the Dutchman giving it his best shot, he was unable to resist Doyle’s attentions and a lap later the Somerset skipper was through into 3rd place, and that’s how it was to finish, and whilst the resultant 3-3 race score gave Edinburgh victory on the night 49-41, it left the aggregate scores tied at 90-all, the result of which means that the two teams will have to do it all again with a replay over 2-legs now having to be arranged to try and separate them…………….not that the fans will complain about that after the 30 heats of pulsating action witnessed over the initial 2-legs of the tie!

C Cook 3 2 3 3 3 - - 14
M Fricke 1 R N - - - - 1
T Pijper 0 3 2 3 0 - - 8
J Tabaka 3 1 1* 2* - - - 7+2
C Vissing 1* 2 1 0 - - - 4+1
L Carr 1 0 3 0 - - - 4
D Sneddon 3 2 1 1 1 3 - 11
Team Manager: Alex Harkess

SOMERSET 41 (90)
J Doyle 2 2 2* 2 1* - - 9+2
K Newman 0 0 N - - - - 0
J Grajczonek 1* 3 2 2 - - - 8+1
A Davies 2 1 0 0 - - - 3
N Morris 3 3 3 1* 2 - - 12+1
C Wright 2 1 2 3 0 1 - 9
L Rose 0 0 0 0 - - - 0
Team Manager: Garry May

Referee: Willie Dishington

1: Cook, Doyle, Fricke, Newman, 54.3 (4-2)
2: Sneddon, Wright, Carr, Rose, 56.8 (8-4)
3: Tabaka, Davies, Grajczonek, Pijper, 55.3 (11-7)
4: Morris, Sneddon, Vissing, Rose (f.rem), 55.6 (14-10)
5: Pijper, Doyle, Tabaka, Newman, 55.8 (18-12)
6: Morris, Cook, Wright, Fricke (f.rem, ret), 55.6 (20-16)
7: Grajczonek, Vissing, Davies, Carr, 56.0 (22-20)
8: (re-run) Carr, Wright, Sneddon, Rose, Newman (f.ns), Frick (f.ns), 57.6 (26-22)
9: Morris, Pijper, Tabaka, Rose, 56.3 (29-25)
10: Cook, Grajczonek, Sneddon, Davies, 56.4 (33-27)
11: (re-run) Wright, Doyle, Vissing, Carr, 57.8 (34-32)
12: Pijper, Grajczonek, Sneddon, Wright, 57.1 (38-34)
13: Cook, Doyle, Morris, Vissing, 55.5 (41-37)
14: Sneddon, Tabaka, Wright, Davies, 58.1 (46-38)
15: Cook, Morris, Doyle, Pijper, 56.2 (49-41)

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