Friday August 21, 2015
Somerset’s first fixture of their 3-match Northern Tour saw them suffer a heavy 20 point defeat at the hands of Premier League leaders, the Edinburgh Monarchs.

Things got off to the worse possible start for Somerset as Brady Kurtz and Rasmus Jensen found themselves on the wrong end of an Edinburgh 5-1 maximum heat win in the opening race and although reserve Paul Starke took the chequered flag in winning heat 2, a further 5-1 to the Monarchs saw them establish an 8 point lead after just 3 heats and from thereon in it was generally a case of ‘one way traffic’ as Edinburgh continued to pile on the agony.

On the occasions that Somerset did provide any early heat race winners, they did not have the back-up to make it count, Grajczonek’s win in heat 3 and Kurtz’s in the following race being a case in point.

With Somerset 10 points down after just 6 heats, it saw Richie Worrall come out on a double-point tactical ride, but it failed to produce any reward for the Somerset camp as Edinburgh countered the move with their third maximum heat win of the night, the Wright/Worrall partnership being a particularly disappointing one for Somerset as each of their 3 outings as a pair saw them concede 5-1 heat advantages to the Monarchs.

Things went from bad to worse for Somerset in heat 9 when Rebels skipper Josh Grajczonek came to grief in an awkward looking fall, which earned him an exclusion from the re-run, and although he was eventually able to get to his feet and walk back to the pits unaided, the knock to his lower back sustained as a result of his fall saw him withdraw from the meeting.

The re-run of heat 9 did proved the Rebels with one of their few bright spots of the night, it seeing Paul Starke, who was to end the meeting as Somerset’s top scorer, ride an excellent 4 laps to hold off Edinburgh’s twice German Champion Kevin Wölbert to take the race win.

The second half of the match did see Somerset contain the Monarchs more effectively than in the opening half of the match, but despite two 4-2 heat advantages by Jensen and Kurtz in heat 11 and Worrall and Starke in heat 14, it was a case of far too little, far too late as far as the Rebels were concerned, leaving the team to re-group before the second match of their weekend tour which will see them visit Berwick on Saturday (22nd) evening.

“Any hopes we had of trying to take anything from this meeting by way of league points was made all the more difficult after we got off to that bad start to match,” said Somerset team manager Garry May.

“We were then immediately on the back foot and if you give a team like Edinburgh that sort of advantage early on, then you are going to find what was already a difficult task doubly difficult to achieve.”
“Despite the final score-line, there were a few positives to be taken from the match, such as an excellent night’s work by Paul Starke, who top-scored for us, and the way our new signing, Rasmus Jensen, adapted and came good after a difficult couple of opening rides.”

“As far as Josh [Grajczonek] is concerned, we withdraw him from the meeting as a precaution as much as anything else as there was no point risking him further by letting him take is remaining ride in heat 13 with the match already lost and two more meetings at Berwick and Glasgow for us to get through this weekend.”

“At this stage of things it is too early to say whether Josh will be ok to ride at Berwick tomorrow night, we will see how he is tomorrow morning and take it from there, if he isn’t fit enough to ride then we will have to use rider replacement in his place as this is the only facility available to us with all of the other six riders in the team eligible to take his rides if it does come to that.”


EDINBURGH 55: Craig Cook 15, Kevin Wolbert 10, Sam Masters 8+2, Justin Sedgmen 8+2, Max Clegg 5+2, Rob Branford 5, Erik Riss 4+3

SOMERSET 35: Paul Starke 9, Richie Worrall 8, Rasmus Jensen 7+1, Brady Kurtz 5, Josh Grajczonek 5. Charles Wright 1+1, Ollie Greenwood 0

Premier League points: Edinburgh 3 Somerset 0

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