Sunday August 18, 2013
After picking up 4 league point the previous evening courtesy of their win at Berwick, the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels headed to Glasgow on Sunday afternoon for the last leg of their 3-match Northern Tour.

With Glasgow having a torrid time of things this year, the 2011 Premier League Champions languishing at the foot of the table, many were forecasting this match to be a ‘walk in the park’ for the Rebels, but as events turned out, that assumption was to be very wide of the mark.

On a track that was made very greasy as the result of a very heavy shower an hour or so before then start, that being followed by another downpour just as the riders were being introduced to the crowd, the opening salvo saw Glasgow take the early advantage as first up Joe Screen headed home Somerset’s Jason Doyle, while behind the respective number 1’s Dakota North needed no second invitation to move through into 3rd place when Kyle Newman hit a bump going into the 3rd turn on the opening lap.

Heat 2 saw the home reserve pairing seemingly more at ease with the track conditions than their Somerset counterparts, Ringwood and Jacobs taking a relatively straightforward maximum race win, but was immediately balanced when Josh Grajczonek and Alex Davies relied with a 5-1 heat win of their own in the very next race.

Nick Morris then made it two race win on the bounce for the Rebels, but with the Tigers’ duo packing in for the minor places it ensured a share of the spoils to maintain Glasgow’s slender 2-point lead.

Heat 5 saw Somerset back on level terms with their hosts, Doyle and Newman initially gating on a 5-1 but with Henning Bager passing Newman for 2nd place as the riders exited the 4th bend for the first time, the Rebels had to be content with a 4-2 race win.

The next two heats were to be a case of ‘honours even,’ Nick Morris taking the chequered flag ahead of Dakota North and Joe Screen while Josh Grajczonek took his second race win of the afternoon in winning heat 7 though after initially gating behind his Somerset team-mate, Alex Davies was unable to fend off the attentions of Ringwood and Grieves.

The first major incident of the match came in heat 8 which saw Kyle Newman hit the front from the gate, but electing to take the wide line off the 4th bend, it was leaving him looking vulnerable to the attentions of Dakota North who was never far away in 2nd place.

After just holding North off on the opening lap, Newman took the higher line again as the pair took to the 4th bend the next time around, the only difference being that this time around North was that much nearer to Newman and a telling pass looked to be the inevitable outcome.

However, with virtually the whole width of the track in which to make a clean pass, North decided that he would run Newman even wider and into the fence, with the inevitable consequence of Newman being sent sprawling on the track, North leaving him no room whatsoever to continue racing.

In what was a clear-cut decision, referee Craig Ackroyd had no hesitation in excluding North, Newman then showing his mettle in going out and winning his re-run despite his shoulder giving him some trouble as a result of the incident.

Worryingly for Somerset, their reserve duo of Stefan Nielsen and Simon Lambert were finding the going tough and as a result it was becoming more and more essential that the Rebels top 3 kept winning races just to stay in contention, and when Morris fell in heat 9 while challenging Anders Thomsen in an attempt to get himself to the front, which gifted the Tigers a 5-1 race win to put the home side back into a 2-point lead, Screen then winning heat 10 to maintain that advantage.

A tight first turn in heat 11 saw Glasgow reserve Joey Ringwood take an awkward looking tumble when just behind Doyle and Grieves, the Aussie earning himself an exclusion as result, and with Doyle winning the re-run and Newman picking up 3rd place behind Grieves, the scores were level once again.

When Grajczonek sped from the tapes in heat 12, it looked all over as if the deadlock would remain unbroken, but as the Somerset rider took to the 3rd turn for the 2nd time, he suddenly found himself going wider than intended and despite a valiant efforts which saw Grajczonek almost retrieve the situation, he just clipped the Ashfield safety fence which sent him crashing to the deck.

As with Newman earlier, Grajczonek looked none the worse the wear for the incident, but with him being excluded from the re-run, what looked to have been a 3-3 became a 5-1 heat win for the Tigers which move Glasgow back out into a 4-point lead with just 3 heats to go.

Heat 13 saw Screen just get the better of Doyle into the 1st turn, he going on to take the race win, this despite Doyle’s efforts to get on terms with his opposite number, to maintain that 4-point lead as the riders came to the tapes for the penultimate race.

The first staging saw Somerset’s Alex Davies take the lead, only for Glasgow’s Anders Thomsen to try what can only be described as an ambitious sweep around the outside in an attempt to fire himself to the front.

There was, however, only one real outcome from the move and as Thomsen duly came to grief as he rapidly ran out of space in which to complete his manoeuvre with him receiving the inevitable exclusion from the re-run.

The re-run saw Davies take a comfortable race win and with Lambert being virtually gifted the point for 3rd place as a result of Thomsen’s exclusion, it brought Somerset back to within 2 points of the Tigers with just the final race to go.

The maths were simple, anything other than a heat win for Somerset would see Glasgow win the match, leaving the Rebels with a consolation league point to show for their troubles, while a 4-2 to Somerset would see them leave Ashfield with a draw and 2 league points but a maximum 5-1 to the Rebels and they would be heading back down the motorway having snatched victory away from the Tigers and with it an invaluable 3 league points.

As the tapes rose it saw Doyle and Morris hit the front, Morris crucially holding off Screen as they rounded the first turn, the Somerset duo then establishing a decisive lead over Screen who was unable to close down the gap, Morris going taking the race win with Doyle playing the Captain’s role in following in keeping a watching brief on Screen while following his team-mate home, Somerset coming back from being 4 points down just two heats earlier to snatch victory 46-44.

J Screen 3 1* 3 3 1 - - 11+1
D North 1 2 X R - - - 3
H Bager 1 2 2* 2* 0 - - 7+2
A Thomsen R 0 3 X - - - 3
J Grieves 2 1* 2 0 - - - 5+1
J Ringwood 3 2 X - - - - 5
J Jacobs 2* 1* 2 3 2 - - 10+2
Team Manager: Sean Courtney

J Doyle 2 3 3 2 2* - - 12+1
K Newman 0 1 3 1 - - - 5
J Grajczonek 3 3 2 X - - - 8
A Davies 2* 0 1* 3 - - - 6+2
N Morris 3 3 F 1* 3 - - 10+1
S Nielsen 1 0 1 - - - - 2
S Lambert R 0 1 1 1 - - 3
Team Manager: Garry May

Referee: Craig Ackroyd

1: Screen, Doyle, North, Newman, 59.2 (4-2)
2: Ringwood, Jacobs, Nielsen, Lambert (f.rem, ret), 61.7 (9-3)
3: Grajczonek, Davies, Bager, Thomsen (ret), 60.4 (10-8)
4: Morris, Grieves, Jacobs, Lambert, 60.0 (13-11)
5: Doyle, Bager, Newman, Thomsen, 60.7 (15-15)
6: Morris, North, Screen, Nielsen, 59.5 (18-18)
7: Grajczonek, Ringwood, Grieves, Davies, 60.8 (21-21)
8: (re-run) Newman, Jacobs, Lambert, North (exc, unfair riding), 61.4 (23-25)
9: (re-run) Thomsen, Bager, Nielsen, Morris (f), 60.3 (28-26)
10: Screen, Grajczonek, Davies, North (ret), 61.2 (31-29)
11: (re-run) Doyle, Grieves, Newman, Ringwood (f.exc), 60.0 (33-33)
12: (re-run) Jacobs, Bager, Lambert, Grajczonek (f.exc), 61.6 (38-34)
13: Screen, Doyle, Morris, Grieves, 59.2 (41-37)
14: (re-run) Davies, Jacobs, Lambert, Thomsen (f.exc), 59.7 (43-41)
15: Morris, Doyle, Screen, Bager, 59.4 (44-46)

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