Published: October 30, 2012
Somerset Rebels' hopes of Premier League glory are dashed by a point

Highbridge-based Somerset Rebels missed out on speedway's Premier League title by a single point last night (Monday, October 29th) when they were beaten by Scunthorpe Scorpions.

A nail-biting grand final decider went all the way to the final heat, with the Rebels needing a 4-2 win to lift the silverware after the home side wiped out their five-point advantage from Friday night's first leg.

But Somerset's hopes were dashed when Scunthorpe got the 3-3 they needed to seal a 92-91 aggregate win.

Afterwards Somerset promoter Debbie Hancock put aside the disappointment of the defeat to congratulate winners Scunthorpe as well as pay tribute to her own team for their efforts not just on the night but over the season as a whole.

She told "Many congratulations are due to all associated with Scunthorpe, the promotion, the riders and their fans on their League Championship title. Both legs made for a pulsating play-off Final, one that I feel was a credit to the Premier League with both sides more than playing their part in making it one to remember."

"Obviously we are disappointed not to be champions ourselves, we gave it our best shot and I could ask no more of our riders but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, Somerset fans should feel rightly proud of the way the team performed, not just in the Final but over the season as a whole."

Jesper B Monberg did all he could by winning the all-important final heat for the Rebels, but Richard Hall - who was in the team as a last-minute replacement for injured Craig Cook - could not get in front of Nick Morris or Josh Auty.

It was a heartbreaking end to an excitement two-leg encounter for the fighting Rebels.

Scunthorpe drew first blood with a 5-1 win in heat two, following a shared opener, but the Rebels hit back immediately with a maximum of their own through James Wright and Monberg in heat three.

Back-to-back 3-3s were then followed by 5-1 and 4-2 heat wins for the Scorpions as they went ahead 24-18 on the night, and also got their noses in front overall for the first time.

Kyle Newman was then excluded in heat eight for clipping a Scunthorpe wheel and causing a stoppage, but Alex Davies won the re-run to keep it at 3-3.

Heat nine had two restarts, each time with all four back, and Claus Vissing and Newman made the most of it by bagging a 5-1 and restoring Somerset's aggregate lead.

The three-point overall advantage didn't last long. The Scorpions won the next two heats 4-2 and led 36-30 on the night after 11 heats - 80-79 to the hosts on aggregate.

The Rebels won heat 12 4-2 to regain their one-point overall lead, but Scunthorpe snatched it back with a 4-2 of their own in heat 13. With just two heats remaining, it was finely poised with Scunthorpe leading 86-85 - or 42-36 on the night.

The drama continued to build in heat 14 when Scorpions rider Ashley Birks fell on the second lap and was excluded from the re-run. Newman then touched the tapes at the restart and had to start from 15m.

Newman and Wright weren't able to get past Michael Palm Toft in the second re-run, so it ended 3-3 and sent everything down to the final heat. At 89-88 in the home side's favour, a draw in heat 15 would have been good enough, while the Rebels needed at least a 4-2.

Josh Auty and Nick Morris went for the hosts, while Hall and Monberg were handed the Rebels responsibilities. Although Monberg won it - seeing him finish as top Rebels scorer with 10+1 - the Scorpions duo held firm to grab the three points they needed to be sure of winning the Premier League crown.

The Rebels have had a superb season, though, after last Thursday's League Cup win.

Pictured: The Rebels in action (pics Colin Burnett)

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