Published: September 17, 2013
Somerset Rebels celebrate finishing top of the Premier League

Highbridge-based speedway team The Somerset Rebels have finished the league season in top spot in the Premier League table after a narrow win on Monday evening (September 16th).

Somerset and Ipswich battled it out for the honour of finishing the league season in first place.

The maths were quite simple in that a win of any sort would see Somerset claim top spot in the Premier League, whereas a draw or better for the Witches would see them leap-frog the Rebels to take first place.

Both sides were missing their respective number one riders, Somerset’s Jason Doyle and Ipswich’s Ben Barker, both of whom were required to ride for Birmingham, their Elite League Cup side. Nick Morris absent from the Somerset side as he was also on Elite League duties albeit with Swindon.

At the start of the season Somerset handed out a 20-point thrashing to Ipswich in the League Cup, but any thoughts of that being repeated here were very quickly dispelled when Ipswich stormed into a 6 point lead after the opening 2 heats to put the Rebels on the back foot right from the off.

In fact it wasn’t until heat 4 that a Somerset rider took a race win, but with heats 3 and 4 showing a share of the spoils, it maintained Ipswich’s 6 point advantage.

A maximum race win courtesy of Somerset guest Anders Mellgren and the ‘birthday boy’ Alex Davies, the stand-in Rebels skipper celebrating his 21st, brought the home side back into contention, and when Davies combined with Kyle Newman for a 4-2 in the following heat, it saw Somerset back on level terms.

Any thoughts that the home fans might have held that Somerset were to exert their authority and kick on from here on in, were quickly dispelled however, when Ipswich immediately hit back and by the end of heat eight they had restored their six-point lead with which to enter the second-half of the match.

But the home side went on to win 46-44 to the sound of loud cheers and applause from the crowd of spectators.

"The boys really wanted to finish the regular league season at the top of the Premier League table and despite Ipswich really giving it everything, defeat was not an option for us," said a delighted Garry May, the Somerset team manager, afterwards.

"We were on the back foot for virtually the whole match, but this is a Rebels side that never knows when it is beaten and they proved that here tonight by pulling victory out of the fire in those final 2 heats, though all credit to Ipswich for pushing us all the way and making this the match it was."

"Although finishing the regular season top of the Premier League table does not give us the Championship title, it does give us a timely boost to our confidence as we head into the play-offs which will decide who will be crowned as the 2013 Premier League Championship."

Pictured: Top - Heat 5 action with Alex Davies & Anders Mellgren leading Leigh Lanham & Cameron Heeps; Centre - Somerset's Josh Grajczonek received the bumps for his match-winning ride; Above - Somerset's Alex Davies on the inside of Leigh Lanham (pics: Colin Burnett)


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