Saturday April 20, 2013
With Friday’s tie seeing the ‘Case’s Somerset Rebels’ failing to bank all the available match, they arrive at the St Boniface Arena having to take a win or draw to seal progression to the next stage of the competition, but things didn’t go exactly to plan in the early stages.

The Plymouth Devils jumped to an early lead, with advantages in the opening two heats. Chris Schramm matched Jason Doyle for pace out of the gate in Heat 1, and took up the running from the turn. Alex Davies settled into third spot, and looked to have shared the points until he locked up on the opening turn of Lap 3, giving Ty Proctor the opportunity to steal the heat advantage.

Things took an even worse turn in the reserves race, as the Devils slammed home a ‘full house’ of points. Todd Kurtz led from the off, with Tom Perry and Stefan Nielsen in pursuit, but the shared points quickly disappeared, as Ben Reade slipped up the inside of the visiting pair off the second turn. Kurtz led right to the line, but slowed to allow Reade through for the win. At the time it appeared to a strange action, but later as Reade announced to the listening crowd that he was leaving the team, the reason for Kurtz selfless actions became clear.

The Rebels steadied the ship in Heat 3, with an advantage of their own, as Josh Grajczonek continued his superb form from the night before. He gated first with Kyle Newman close up and opened a lead. Newman was joined by Mark Lemon on his inside, and the pair fought out a breathtaking wheel-to-wheel battle, with Newman tight against the fence, that only ended as the young Rebel caught a big lift out of the second turn on Lap 3, allowing Lemon some clear air.

The next two heats were shared, with each side providing a winner each. Heat 4 saw Nick Morris beat Todd Kurtz into the turn, whilst Stefan Nielsen lifted off the line. That pretty much settled the heat, and Morris showed some good speed to pull clear of the rest, taking a comfortable win in the process.

The following race provided a pretty level beak between all except Jason Doyle, but as the Devils pairing of Mark Lemon and Ricky Kling appeared to get in each other’s way, Doyle slipped by Alex Davies, and quickly overhauled Kling. Davies slipped up the inside of Kling on the third turn, giving the Rebels a shared heat. This wasn’t good enough for Doyle, and he ran down Lemon, and then executed a sweet cut back on the second turn of the final lap, but as he was about to grab the lead, he found some grip, and the bike reared high in the air, and was right on the point of flipping and dumping Doyle off the back, but he somehow controlled it, and had the machine down and running in a flash. He set off after Lemon, and was only just behind as the flag fell.

The Rebels brought the deficit back to just 2-points as they added another heat advantage in Heat 6, their task being made a little easier when Ty Proctor pulled back from the tapes as they rose, after his machine had died. Nick Morris made a quick exit, with Chris Schramm in second. Although Schramm chased Morris all the way, he could never get on terms, and the Rebels posted their advantage.

Cory Gathercole trapped in front of Josh Grajczonek for Heat 7, with Kyle Newman slotting into third around the first two turns. From there on Gathercole was able to control the race, and share the points.

Until this season Heat 8 has been Alex Davies’ nemesis, but this season he has taken great strides to rectify that, especially at home, but away from the Oak Tree Arena it still causes him some issues, and that didn’t change here. Making a decent start on the outside, he went to the turn with Todd Kurtz matching him to the bend. Davies went wide on the first curve, and as he approached the next the bike straightened, and he was dragged at high speed to the fence, clattering it and taking a nasty looking fall, with his machine going over the top of him. He was down for some time, but eventually regained his feet, and walked back to the pits under his own steam, with riders from both sides out on the track showing some concern. In the re-run it looked as though Stefan Nielsen had made up for the exclusion of Davies, as he roared off the line to lead up. Kurtz came through, hard up the inside of Nielsen on the second turn to grab the lead, and was quickly followed by Chris Schramm as Nielsen appeared a little unsettled. From a shared heat the Devils had grabbed a maximum advantage in the blink of an eye.

The Rebels stopped the leakage of points by sharing the next two heats, providing the winners of both. Nick Morris bolted from the gate in Heat 9 to lead up, and on the back straight Tom Perry slipped by Ricky Kling to give the Rebels an advantage, only to see the race stopped and the riders pulled back. Although the referee failed to announce the reason, it can only be assumed that he felt Morris had moved and made an unsatisfactory start. Whatever the reason Morris made an identical gate in the re-run, with Dale Entwistle apparently satisfied this time, making his initial decision a little confusing. As ‘Sods Law’ dictates, Tom Perry was unable to find a way past Kling in the re-run, and with Morris in the distance the Devils were able to share the points.

Heat 10 may have been shared, but it was full of incident. Ty Proctor led from the tapes, with Josh Grajczonek close up. Grajczonek headed for the wide line as they approached the third turn, making a ‘Heart in Mouth’ move, swooping through an ever diminishing gap on the outside as Proctor drifted wide off the final turn of the lap. Meanwhile behind, Kyle Newman was engaged in a battle with Chris Schramm for third place. It was a battle he appeared to be winning until he arrived at the first turn on the final lap, where he drifted wide. He seemed to have got it back together and repelled Schramm’s attentions, when his bike lifted in the second turn, but he fought his machine back into something resembling the right order as they came into the back straight. With his bike now pointing in the right direction he looked to fight off Schramm, but the latter moved wide off the turn, and collected Newman out by the fence, bringing him down. From the referee’s vantage point it must have been a difficult decision, but there is no doubt that had it not been for the contact from Schramm, Newman would have stayed upright. However the referee saw no reason to make the decision to exclude anyone, and the Devils took a share of the points.

Now 6-points adrift the Rebels hit back immediately, and Alex Davies showed that he was suffering no after effects of his earlier fall. Jason Doyle blazed off the tapes to lead up from the Devils pair of Gathercole and Reade, with Alex Davies on their tail. Following his Heat 8 experience you could have forgiven Davies if he had shied away from the difficult option, but he’s proved this season that he’s made of sterner stuff than that. He immediately headed for the wide line, and powered around the outside of the Devils duo as they came off the second turn. Once he dropped in behind his skipper the pair pulled clear for an easy victory. As Davies passed the home riders, Ben Reade got out of shape, and came together with Gathercole, and ended up in a heap on the floor. He was quickly up, and cleared the track as the Rebels sped to a maximum advantage, cutting the home side’s advantage to just 2-points.

The next heat was shared after Mark Lemon just beat Josh Grajczonek to the turn. Tom Perry did the same to Todd Kurtz, and settled into third place for a share of the points. However he didn’t get an easy ride as the Devils superb reserve harried him all the way, trying all lines to get by, but Perry rode a fantastic race to keep the charging Australian behind.

With only two points between the teams the Rebels were now looking to apply the pressure on the home side, and as the tapes rose on Heat 13 Jason Doyle blasted off the line to lead up, only for the Devils Ty Proctor and Cory Gathercole to fill the minor places. Nick Morris had shown superb speed all night and once he got in the groove he was again extremely fast, and by the second turn of Lap 2, he was up the inside of Proctor and flying after Gathercole. He caught the Devils skipper on the next lap, and moved inside him off the last turn of the lap. Has he pulled alongside Gathercole appeared to get out of shape, and as Morris moved past, he clipped Gathercole, causing him to fall.

Dale Entwistle immediately put on the red lights, and excluded Morris, awarding the race as a shared heat. The circumstances of the incident were virtually identical to that of Newman and Schramm in Heat 10, with the only difference being the viewpoint of referee Dale Entwistle. You can only but wonder what his earlier decision might have been had he had the advantage of viewing it from the same perspective as this one. Whatever opinion that conjecture might bring, the reality was that the Rebels were denied a maximum advantage, with the damage only slightly lessened by the fact that Ty Proctor had retired and was not under power when the race was stopped, giving the Rebels a 2-3 advantage for the heat.

With only 1-point now separating the teams, the Rebels were in prime position to take the points they needed to progress in the competition, but things often don’t work out as you would wish. As the tapes rose for Heat 14, the travelling Rebels fans must have thought that the team had virtually put themselves in the next stages of the competition, as Kyle Newman rocketed off the line to lead up. However elation soon turned to despair when Todd Kurtz, who was in for Ben Reade, went by Newman down the back straight. Although it made the task a little more difficult, all was not lost as long as Newman retained second place, but very soon afterwards Ricky Kling was hunting him down. Even then it took something special from Kling to pass Newman. Kling flew down the back straight and moved right out to the fence, powering around the widest of lines to move into second spot off the final turn of the lap. Kling’s move was even more surprising in that he had shown no inclination in this meeting to do anything vaguely difficult in the least.

The 5-1 for the Devils put paid to any chance the Rebels had of winning the tie, but they still had a mathematical chance of a draw, although this was highly improbable, as he would require no Devil to finish Heat 15. But anything other than a Devils heat advantage would give the Rebels an away point, and an outside chance of qualifying for the Semi-Finals, having said that if the Rebels lost by 7 or more, they could still qualify, but it would be at the hands of others.

Heat 15 saw Jason Doyle and Nick Morris take the track, against Mark Lemon and Todd Kurtz for the Devils. As the riders were released, it was Lemmon who trapped in front, just leading from Doyle, with Kurtz leading up Morris. Morris moved into third with a good outside move of the final turn of the lap, whilst at the front Doyle was all over the back of Lemon. Doyle tried every line possible to demote his fellow countryman to second spot, but Lemon rode a superb race to deny the Rebels skipper the spoils. Meanwhile behind the pair Morris had consolidated third spot, and a share of the points that would give the Rebels an away point and a final group tally of 11-points, but then disaster struck as his machine gave up the ghost at the end of the third lap, gifting the Devils a heat advantage that removed the Rebels away point, as the match was settled 48-41 to the Devils.

For the home side, Mark Lemon was outstanding, and in complete contrast to his previous night’s efforts, his contribution here went a long way to securing the Devils victory. For the Rebels Josh Grajczonek again shone with another double figure return. Jason Doyle put his previous night’s problems behind him, and returned to the top of the Rebels scoring chart with a fantastic display of racing the tight confines of the Devils home shale. But for an unfortunate couple of events, Nick Morris would surely have challenged Doyle for top spot on the night. All night he was fast, and supplied some breathtaking racing.

No one expected an easy night at the SBA, especially with the Devils starting to show improvement over their earlier efforts, but the Rebels were in prime position coming into this tie to progress, but a series of events, some self inflicted, others not, conspired to put their League Cup fate in the hands of others, and that is never the a situation that is desirable.

Plymouth Devils = 48
1. Ty Proctor - 1, 0, 2, R = 3
2. Chris Schramm - 3, 2, 2', 1' = 8+2
3. Mark Lemon - 2, 3, 2, 3, 3 = 13
4. Ricky Kling - 0, 0, 1', 2' = 3+2
5. Cory Gathercole - 1', 3, 1, 2 = 7+1
6. Ben Reade - 3, 0, 0 = 3
7. Todd Kurtz - 2', 2, 3, 0, 3, 1 = 11+1

Somerset Rebels = 41
1. Jason Doyle - 2, 2, 3, 3, 2 = 12
2. Alex Davies - 0, 1', F/X, 2' = 3+2
3. Josh Grajczonek - 3, 2, 3, 2 = 10
4. Kyle Newman - 1, 1', 0, 1 = 3+1
5. Nick Morris - 3, 3, 3, X, R = 9
6. Tom Perry - 1, 1, 0, 1', 0 = 3+1
7. Stefan Nielsen - 0, 0, 1 = 1
SCB Referee: Dale Entwistle

Heat Results
Heat 01: Schramm, Doyle, Proctor, Davies 51.00, 4-2; 4-2
Heat 02: Reade, Kurtz, Perry, Nielsen 52.56, 5-1; 9-3
Heat 03: Grajczonek, Lemon, Newman, Kling 51.34, 2-4; 11-7
Heat 04: Morris, Kurtz, Gathercole, Nielsen 50.47, 3-3; 14-10
Heat 05: Lemon, Doyle, Davies, Kling 51.09, 3-3; 17-13
Heat 06: Morris, Schramm, Perry, Proctor 50.56, 2-4; 19-17
Heat 07: Gathercole, Grajczonek, Newman, Reade 51.22, 3-3; 22-20
Heat 08: Re-run: Kurtz, Schramm, Nielsen 52.47, 5-1; 27-21
Heat 09: Re-run: Morris, Lemon, Kling, Perry 50.69, 3-3; 30-24
Heat 10: Grajczonek, Proctor, Schramm, Newman 51.16, 3-3; 33-27
Heat 11: Doyle, Davies, Gathercole, Reade 51.19, 1-5; 34-32
Heat 12: Lemon, Grajczonek, Perry, Kurtz 52.06, 3-3; 37-35
Heat 13: Doyle, Gathercole, Proctor (ret), Morris (Ex) Awd, 2-3; 39-38
Heat 14: Kurtz, Kling, Newman, Perry 51.94, 5-1; 44-39
Heat 15: Lemon, Doyle, Kurtz, Morris (ret) 52.75, 4-2; 48-41

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