Rebels' hopes of Premier League glory are dashed by a point
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.
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.
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 Burnham-On-Sea.com: "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 wasnt 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."
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.
was a heartbreaking end to an excitement two-leg encounter for
the fighting Rebels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Rebels have had a superb season, though, after last Thursday's
League Cup win.
The Rebels in action (pics Colin Burnett)