Sunday June 16, 2013
The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels have a 6-point 1st leg deficit to over-come if they wish to progress to the semi-finals of the Premier League Knock Out Cup, the Rebels digging deep to restrict Workington to a 48-42 win at Derwent Park, the 2nd leg of this finely poised tie being staged at Somerset’s Oaktree Arena tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

The Rebels suffered a late blow, when Tom Perry was taken ill, late on Saturday evening, after riding for the Isle of Wight at Stoke, and ended his day in hospital. Early on Sunday morning the Rebels management team scoured the country for a replacement, and King's Lynn Young Stars rider Lewis Rose answered the call. Rose was at Scunthorpe practicing when he received his call up, and immediately packed up his van, and headed north to join the Rebels.

With the Rebels able to track seven riders, the Comets were not so lucky, and had to run Rider Replacement for the injure Tero Aarnio, who has been out injured since the 6th of May, after sustaining a collar bone injury, in the same crash that saw the Rebels very own Nick Morris also break his collar bone, whilst guesting for Berwick against the Comets.

The Rebels have enjoyed some great nights at Derwent Park, but on this occasion it was the Comets who were quick out of the traps, as they opened up an 8-point lead in the first four heats, taking heat advantages in three of them.

The home side opened with a maximum advantage, but the damage might have been lessened had it not been for a fall by Jason Doyle. Richard Lawson and Kyle Howarth broke quickly, with Howarth just showing at the bend. Lawson took up the running on the back straight, leaving Howarth to fend for himself. Jason Doyle was now in full flow, and closed down Howarth, but couldn’t find a way by. Going out onto the last lap, Howarth made a mistake in the first turn, and Doyle was up his inside on the next bend, pushing him hard down the back straight.

With Howarth only just holding the advantage, the pair went into the final two turns almost together, with Doyle looking likely to grab the place. Right on the crown of the bend, Howarth pulled a huge locker, and almost came to a standstill right in front of Doyle. There appeared to be contact between the pair, which Doyle couldn’t avoid, and he went down in a heap. With the race almost over, Dave Dowling allowed the race to finish, and surprisingly didn’t make a decision on the incident, declaring the result in the order the remainder crossed the line.

The Rebels were looking at a shared heat in the reserves race; however it didn’t turn out that way. Ashley Morris and Chris Mills made a great start to lead up from Stefan Nielsen, who lifted off the tapes. Nielsen was quick to recover, and was into second place, up the inside of Mills on the first turn, and off in pursuit of Morris. Lewis Rose was not far behind after making a good start, and came roaring around the outside of Mills off the last turn of the lap to grab third place. Mills hit back, moving back up the inside of Rose on the back straight next time round. From there the pair were locked together for the next two and a half laps, with Mills just edging it, although there was never much between them. Rose came storming back, and looked to have got the better run around the outside of the third turn of the final lap. Just as he was about to move back in front of Mills he overcooked it, and crashed to the dirt in the final turn, to allow Mills to give the Comets the heat advantage. Rose’s opening ride in Rebels colours was tenacious, tough and gritty, especially has he had never ridden the track before in his short career. In fact he said afterwards that this was only his ninth ever professional meeting.

The Rebels shared the next heat, when Alex Davies bolted from the gates, contesting the lead with Rusty Harrison, and Nick Morris. Davies just got the better of things on the inside of the second bend, and pulled clear down the back straight. Nick Morris was soon chasing down Harrison, moving wide on the second bend of lap 2, before cutting back up the inside. Despite his neat move, he could not find a way by, but continued to press, until he ran too wide in the third turn, and locked up badly, allowing Ashley Morris through into third, before retiring late in the race.

Heat 4 saw the Comets increase their lead, as Rene Bach was never headed from the start, with Josh Grajczonek and Lewis Rose filling the places. Down the back straight Chris Mills edged in front of Rose, whilst at the same time Grajczonek challenged Bach into the third turn, but without success. Mills pulled clear of Rose, who appeared to get wider and wider over the last two laps, until he ran too wide in the final turn of the race, and was dragged into the fence, taking a hefty tumble for his trouble. He was down for a short time, but was able to regain his feet, and return to the pits under his own power.

The Rebels reduced the deficit in Heat 5, when Jason Doyle hit the front off the second turn, after leading up, with Rusty Harrison contesting the run to the bend. Kyle Newman charged around the outside of Harrison in the turn, but could quite make the move stick, and had to be content with third place. Ashley Morris chased Newman, but never got in a blow, eventually falling on the final turn of lap 2, before remounting to finish a distant last, as the Rebels took a 2-4 advantage.

The Comets re-established their lead in the very next heat; however it could have been a different story but for a coming together between Stefan Nielsen and Kyle Howarth. Howarth contested the early running with team mate, Richard Lawson, until first Lawson, on the first turn and then Josh Grajczonek on the third turn went by. Howarth ran wide in the fourth turn, and locked up, allowing Stefan Nielsen to close. Nielsen got a charge on, building up speed the whole time, and by the end of the second lap he was on Howarth’s wheel. Moving wide on the third turn, he made a superb cut back on the next turn, running down the inside of Howarth, off the banking and down the home straight, as the pair raced side-by-side. With Nielsen up his inside, Howarth was in no mood to give way, and with Nielsen holding the inside line something had to give and it was Howarth who hit the dirt. Dave Dowling immediately lit up the red lights, and excluded Nielsen, awarding the race 4-2 to the home side. It was hard for Nielsen to take, especially as neither rider was going to give way, but it was one of those decisions that almost always favours the rider on the outside.

Another home advantage followed in Heat 7, as once more Rene Bach got the better of another close battle to the turn, with a Rebels rider, this time Nick Morris. Morris chased hard, but could never get back on terms with the flying Dane, whilst Ashley Morris took third place. Alex Davies can consider himself unlucky, as he came off gate four, where the track was still showing the signs of the watering it had taken in the grading session leading up to the race. He spun up on the start, and could never make up the initial deficit.

Once again the Rebels held a winning advantage in Heat 8, when misfortune intervened. The two Kyle’s, Newman and Howarth hit the front from the tapes, with Newman swooping wide on the second bend, before shooting past Howarth down the back straight. Stefan Nielsen, who was in for Lewis Rose, harried Chris Mills from the second turn of lap two. By the fourth turn he was around the outside, grabbing third place down the straight. He had completed the move, and was putting daylight between himself and Mills when he ran too hot into the first turn, and slid off, leaving Mills to take the minor place, and share the points, to maintain the 10-point lead.

By the conclusion of Heat 9, the lead was down to 8-points, as Josh Grajczonek led inside the first two turns from Rusty Harrison. The busy Stefan Nielsen accounted for Ashley Morris before the first turn, setting off after Harrison down the back straight; however despite closing in early in the race, he could not get in a blow. Ashley Morris likewise chased Nielsen, but again could make no impression.

Two shared heats followed, with the home side providing the winner of each. Firstly Richard Lawson led from the tape rise, with Nick Morris and Alex Davies chasing him home. Morris got in a blow in on the second lap, after closing Lawson down on the opener. Running wide into the first turn, he cut back off the next getting a good run up the inside of Lawson, however the home skipper held him off, and the chance was gone.

Rene Bach was the quick starter in Heat 11, with Kyle Newman showing good pace to challenge on the wide line of the opening curves, as his run took him into second place down the backs straight. Newman was close up to Bach, and pressing hard, when he took a big lift of the final turn, stopping his progress, and bringing him back towards Jason Doyle and the closing Ashley Morris. Jason Doyle rode a superb team race to hold the charging Morris at bay, and take a share of the points.

The deficit was down to 6-points after Heat 12, as the Rebels took a 2-4 advantage. Rusty Harrison battled Nick Morris to the turn, leading from the second bend. Morris ran him down over the next lap, and down the back straight next time round, he moved smoothly into the lead up the inside of Harrison. Meanwhile Lewis Rose, who was in for Stefan Nielsen, got the better of Chris Mills to the opening bend. As Morris pulled clear, Rose rode a superb race to hold off Mills and score a vital point for the Rebels.

The original running of Heat 13 was called back as Dave Dowling deemed Jason Doyle to have moved before the start. In the re-run, Richard Lawson and Rene Bach led from the tapes and into the first turn. Jason Doyle was not far away, and inside the second turn he got a run on Bach, passing him down the back straight. Josh Grajczonek was soon on Bach, throwing in his challenge off the final turn of the lap, nevertheless he could not find a path to third, and spent the rest of the race trying to work an opening that never came. The Comets lead was now back to 8-points, but it was not to last.

Garry May brought Stefan Nielsen into Heat 14, in place of Lewis Rose, and the move worked perfectly. As the tapes rose, Alex Davies and Nielsen flew from the gate to lead at the turn. Ashley Morris was not far away, and ran between the pair. It was a tight turn, and although there did not appear to be contact, Morris went down, and despite being able to, he did not clear the track, but sat gesticulating to the referee. The red lights came on as the Rebels pair tore away down the back straight, with the referee surprisingly sending all four back to the tapes, deeming it to be an unsatisfactory start.

In the restart, the Rebels were again quickly into their stride, with Kyle Howarth close up. As Howarth charged around the outside, Alex Davies ran him wide, before cutting back and leading into the back straight, with Stefan Nielsen and Ashley Morris in pursuit. Nielsen was passed by Morris off the second turn, but hit back immediately, passing back into second on the back straight, completing the move on the third turn. Nielsen looked to have Morris well held, despite the close proximity of his rival, when he picked up grip, exiting the final turn on Lap 3, and got out of shape. Morris tried to take advantage, and switched outside, but ran into the back of Nielsen, crashing to the ground between the young Rebel, and the outside fence in a heavy fall. Morris took exception to the incident and ran down the track trying to confront Nielsen as he came back round after the red lights were turned on. The final outcome was the exclusion of Morris as the cause of the incident, and the awarding of the race 1-5 to the Rebels, much to the chagrin of the home crowd.

With only 4-points between the sides, the Rebels were right back in it, and it was all down to the nominated heat, as to what deficit or otherwise the Rebels would bring back to the Oak Tree Arena for Tuesday nights second leg of the tie. The home side tracked the inevitable combination of Lawson and Bach, with the Rebels relying on Jason Doyle and Nick Morris. As the tapes rose the Rebels pair bolted from the gate, but as in Heat 13, Dave Dowling brought them back, as once more he called an unsatisfactory start. The restart was a carbon copy of the first, without the movement at the tapes, as once again the Rebels duo led up to the turn. Richard Lawson got a good run around the inside of the second turn, demoting Morris to third. That was the way it stayed, and it looked set for the Rebels to post a 2-4 advantage, when disaster struck. With Jason Doyle untroubled at the front, and looking comfortable, he shed a primary chain, and crashed to the ground in a horrendous fall, as his bike suddenly stopped, pitching him hard into to the ground. He was down for a time, but after treatment by the medical staff, was eventually able to make his way back to the pits under his own steam, thankful for the quick evasive action of his fellow riders, who all did well to avoid the prostrate Doyle.

The resulting exclusion of Doyle, and the awarded race took the Comets back into a 6-point lead, but with better fortune that could have been just a 2-point shortfall for the Rebels, or even better. No matter what the outcome might have been, the Rebels had shown grit and determination in bringing the Comets early charge under control, and getting the gap back to a more manageable difference for the second leg of the tie. It had been a great all round team performance, with all except Lewis Rose getting a win or paid win, but the value of Rose’s single point should not be underestimated.

Many will think that the second leg will be a formality for the Rebels, but the strength of the Comets is there for all to see, and they could still prove to be a stumbling block if the home side are not on their mettle on the night. Whatever the outcome, it should be an exciting match, with several of the Comets team having shown their liking for the Highbridge circuit in the past. The winner of the tie will progress to meet Edinburgh, after they took the win over Newcastle, by two points, at Brough Park on Sunday, after suffering a single point defeat at Armadale on Friday night.

On the ‘Case’s Somerset Rebels’ side of the pits, Tom Perry’s place will be taken by Lewis Kerr, as he has not yet recovered from his bout of illness, and there is no indication at the moment, to how long he will be side-lined.

Workington Comets = 48

1. Richard Lawson - 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 = 15
2. Kyle Howarth – 2*, 1, 2, 0, 1 = 6+1
3. Rusty Harrison - 2, 2, 2, 2 = 8
4. Rider Replacement - Tero Aarnio
5. Rene Bach - 3, 3, 3, 1, 1 = 11
6. Ashley Morris - 3, 1*, F, 1, 0, 0, F/x = 5+1
7. Chris Mills - 1, 1, 1*, 0 = 3+1

Somerset Rebels = 42

1. Jason Doyle - F, 3, 1*, 2, F = 6+1
2. Kyle Newman - 1, 1, 3, 2 = 7
3. Nick Morris - R, 2, 2, 3, 2 = 9
4. Alex Davies - 3, 0, 1*, 3 = 7+1
5. Josh Grajczonek - 2, 2, 3, 0 = 7
6. Stefan Nielsen - 2, Exc, 0, 1, 2* = 5+1
7. Lewis Rose - F, 0, 1 = 1

SCB Referee: Dave Dowling

Heat Results

Heat 01: Lawson, Howarth, Newman, Doyle (Fell) 62.8 (5-1) (5-1)
Heat 02: A. Morris, Nielsen, Mills, Rose (Fell) 64.0 (4-2) (9-3)
Heat 03: Davies, Harrison, A. Morris, N. Morris (Ret) 63.9 (3-3) (12-6)
Heat 04: Bach, Grajczonek, Mills, Rose (Fell) 64.0 (4-2) (16-8)
Heat 05: Doyle, Harrison, Newman, A. Morris (Fell) 63.5 (2-4) (18-12)
Heat 06: Lawson, Grajczonek, Howarth, Nielsen (Exc) AWRD (4-2) (22-14)
Heat 07: Bach, N. Morris, A. Morris, Davies 63.9 (4-2) (26-16)
Heat 08: Newman, Howarth, Mills, Nielsen (Fell r/m) 64.1 (3-3) (29-19)
Heat 09: Grajczonek, Harrison, Nielsen, A. Morris 63.7 (2-4) (31-23)
Heat 10: Lawson, N. Morris, Davies, Howarth 63.7 (3-3) (34-26)
Heat 11: Bach, Newman, Doyle, A. Morris 64.2 (3-3) (37-29)
Heat 12: N. Morris, Harrison, Rose, Mills 64.9 (2-4) (39-33)
Heat 13: (Re-Run) Lawson, Doyle, Bach, Grajczonek 64.4 (4-2) (43-35)
Heat 14: (Re-Run) Davies, Nielsen, Howarth, A. Morris (Fell Exc) AWRD (1-5) (44-40)
Heat 15: (Re-Run) Lawson, N. Morris, Bach, Doyle (fell) AWRD (4-2) (48-42)

Share This:   Facebook Twitter