Saturday April 06, 2013
Rye House has never been a happy hunting ground in the past for Somerset, the Rebels finally breaking their duck at the 21st attempt in last year’s corresponding fixture, but fresh from their rout of Ipswich at the Oaktree Arena the previous night, the team travelled to Hoddesdon in high spirits.

As it transpired, the match fell into three distinct sections with Somerset having the better of the initial stages as they opened up an early 6 point lead, the Rebels drawing ‘first blood’ in heat 3, this after the opening two races saw the sides share the spoils.

Although Josh Grajczonek and Kyle Newman got the better start, Rye’s Anders Mellgren was soon past Newman, but was never really in position to seriously challenge Grajczonek for the race win, while behind them Newman recovered from a slight error which saw him slip to the back to get back past Garrity to collect the point for 3rd place.

That 2-point lead quickly became 6 when Morris and Nielsen combined for a Rebels 5-1, this coming at the 2nd time of asking when the initial staging of the race was halted when Tyson Nelson lost control on the 4th bend, the Australian coming to grief and earning himself an exclusion from the re-run as a consequence.

Two shared heats followed to maintain Somerset’s 6-point lead, though it took riding of the highest order from Doyle to come through from looked a hopeless position to pip Garrity on the line to win heat 5, but that was to all change over the course of the next 3 races as the Rockets hit back to turn that deficit into a 4-point lead, a 4-2 in heat 7 was followed by two maximum race wins for the home side to put them 29-25 to the good.

Heat 10 looked to be heading the way of the Rebels as Grajczonek and Newman hit the front, but with Olly Allen coming to grief on the 4th bend, which had caught out a number of riders throughout the match, and not being able to clear the track in time, the referee had no option to call a halt to proceedings and order a re-run, though minus Allen who was excluded as the cause of the stoppage.

As invariably is the case it situations like this, the re-run was the complete reversal of how the original staging was being played out, as from struggling at the back first time around, Rye House’s Kasper Lykke hit the front from the off at the second time of asking to take the race win and in the process maintain the Rockets’ 4 point lead.

Up until now the night had proved to be one that Somerset’s Alex Davies would want to quickly forget as the score-chart saw him pointless after his first 3 rides, 2 of which saw him hit the Hoddesdon shale.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man as the saying goes, and heat 11 was definitely Davies’ ‘hour’, though not once but twice!

The initial staging of the race saw Davies hit the front with skipper Jason Doyle riding ‘shotgun’ to hold off the attentions of Rye’s Tyson Nelson, but this was not to be Nelson’s Trafalgar as his desperate attempt to round Doyle saw him hit the deck, earning himself his second exclusion of the night.

Unlike the previous heat, however, there were no upsets in the re-run as Davies and Doyle once again hit the front, though Doyle’s heart must have been in his mouth when the pair took to the 1st turn for the penultimate time as Davies pulled a big ‘locker’ right in front of his skipper, forcing Doyle to take quick evasive action, but that apart they were never troubled and parity was restored.

A further drawn heat was to follow, but then heat 13 saw the Rockets edge in front once again, a tight first bend saw Somerset’s Nick Morris fall as Doyle appeared to lock up in front of him, but seeing nothing untoward, the referee let the race continue, and although Doyle recovered to give chase to Olly Allen, who had hit the front, and try as he might the margin was too much for him to make up.

Once again the Rebels fought back, with Kyle Newman, who had suffered a heavy fall the night before and was riding with a badly swollen ankle, coming to the fore with a crucial race win. Once again it was to be a heat that had to be re-run, with Garrity falling in the first bend in the first attempt to run the race, the referee ordering all 4 riders back for the re-start.

That re-start was also to see Garrity hit the Hoddesdon shale, but this time the referee let things continue, Newman taking full advantage to take the race win, and although Stefan Nielsen was to fall on the 3 lap, he was able to get back on his bike to collect the point for 3rd place, which brought the scores level again at 42-all as the meeting headed into its thrilling climax.

Rye House opted to send their Number 1, Olly Allen and Swede Anders Mellgren to the tapes for the final race, while Jason Doyle and Nick Morris were the Rebels’ representatives.

Disaster, however, was to strike the Rebels as Doyle found himself stranded on the start-line, his bike shedding a chain as the tapes rose, and with Morris not getting the best of start, which left him in 3rd place, it looked all over as if victory would be heading the way of the Rockets.

That was until Nick Morris produced probably the ride of his life in first storming past Mellgren to move into 2nd place before setting after Allen. With each turn of the wheel, the Somerset youngster inched inexorably closer to his quarry until he made the telling inside pass on Allen as the riders came off the 4th bend for the penultimate time to take the lead.

Even then drama was not over, as behind the battle for the lead, Rye’s Anders Mellgren was encountering bike troubles and he was left coasting round at the rear. The race was now on as Morris chased him down as if he could catch and lap the stricken Swede, it would lead to Mellgren’s disqualification and Somerset would win the match by a single point.

But try as he might, Morris had just too much ground to make up and Mellgren was able to start his last lap just as Morris exited the final bend on his way to the chequered flag.

And so it was that the match, perhaps fittingly given the way the two sides had battled it out, ended in a 45-all draw, the Rebels gaining 2 match points from the meeting in their quest for top spot in this Southern Group of the League Cup, the 4 group winners eventually going forward to contest the semi-final stages of the competition.

O Allen 2 2 X 3 2 - - 9
Rider replacement – Jason Bunyan
A Mellgren 2 1’ 3 3 1’ - - 10+2
J Garrity 0 2 3 2’ F - - 7+1
T Nelson X 1’ 3 X 1 - - 5+1
K Lykke 1’ 3 1 2’ 3 0 2 12+2
B Morley R 1 1 - - - - 2
Team Manager: John Sampford

J Doyle 3 3 2’ 2 R - - 10+1
A Davies F 0 X 3 - - - 3
J Grajczonek 3 2 1’ 2 - - - 8+1
K Newman 1 0 2 3 - - - 6
N Morris 2’ 3 1 F 3 - - 9+1
T Perry 2 0 0 - - - - 2
S Nielsen 1’ 3 1 1’ 1 - - 7+2
Team Manager: Garry May

Referee: Dale Entwhistle

1: Doyle, Allen, Lykke, Davies (f), 58.8 (3-3)
2: Lykke, Perry, Nielsen, Morley (ret), 59.3 (6-6)
3: Grajczonek, Mellgren, Newman, Garrity, 59.3 (8-10)
4: (awarded) Nielsen, Morris, Morley, Nelson (f.exc), no time (9-15)
5: Doyle, Garrity, Mellgren, Davies, 58.6 (12-18)
6: Morris, Allen, Nelson, Perry, 58.8 (15-21)
7: Nelson, Grajczonek, Lykke, Newman, 59.9 (19-23)
8: (re-run) Garrity, Lykke, Nielsen, Davies (f.exc) 59.8 (24-24)
9: Mellgren, Garrity, Morris, Perry, 59.0 (29-25)
10: (re-run x 2) Lykke, Newman, Grajczonek, Allen (f.exc), 61.0 (32-28)
11: (re-run) Davies, Doyle, Morley, Nelson (f.exc), 59.3 (33-33)
12: Mellgren, Grajczonek, Nielsen, Lykke, 59.2 (36-36)
13: Allen, Doyle, Nelson, Morris (f), 59.0 (40-38)
14: (re-run) Newman, Lykke, Nielsen (f.rem), Garrity (f), 61.2 (42-42)
15: Morris, Allen, Mellgren, Doyle (ret), 59.1 (45-45)

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