Published: October 29, 2013
Somerset Rebels win Premier League Championship for the first time

Celebrations were underway at Highbridge's Oaktree Arena on Monday evening (October 28th) when the Somerset Rebels made club history by becoming Premier League Champions.

The speedway side won the second leg of its Premier League Championship Final match against the Edinburgh Monarchs to clinch the title.

The Rebels had never won a League Championship title and needed to overcome a 1st-leg two-point deficit to claim their maiden Championship crown.

The club has previously twice finished as runners-up, in 2008, when they were pipped to the title by Edinburgh, and most famously last season when they lost by a single race point to Scunthorpe in the final.

The Rebels won 49-44 on the night - and 92-89 on aggregate - to raise the championship trophy.

"After coming so close to winning the title last year you wonder if you will ever get the chance again, but we have now laid that ghost to rest," an obviously delighted Debbie Hancock, the Somerset promoter, told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"The guys have been absolutely brilliant all year, and they did it again for once last time."

"Edinburgh really made us work hard for our win, as we knew they would, we have had some terrific battles in our matches with them this year, and all credit to the Monarchs and their supporters for making it such a great Final."

Going into last night's second leg 2 points down on the Monarchs from last Friday’s 1st leg at Armadale, Somerset quickly wiped out that deficit with a 5-1 heat win in the opening race courtesy of Kyle Newman and Jason Doyle, but any thoughts the home fans might have harboured that the Rebels might kick on from thereon in proved to be wide of the mark as Edinburgh refused to yield, it not being until the final race of the night had been completed that Somerset were finally confirmed as the new League Champions.

By heat four Somerset had moved themselves into a 6-point lead on the night, but were immediately pegged back by the Monarchs, Craig Cook and Max Fricke combining for a maximum 5-1 heat advantage, which brought the aggregate score back to being all-square.

The Rebels then gradually started to pull clear and by the half-way stage of affairs had opened up a 6 point lead on the night, which they extended out to 10 points with their second 5-1 race win of the night in heat 9, Nick Morris and Alex Davies ‘doing the honours’ for Somerset, Davies throwing Edinburgh’s Theo Pijper a ‘dummy’ in appearing to be looking for an outside pass on the Dutchman, only to suddenly switch back up Pijper’s inside to move through into 2nd place behind Morris.

Needing to stem the Somerset tide, Edinburgh sent their number 1, Craig Cook, out on a double point tactical ride in heat 11, and whilst the Cumbrian duly obliged, this despite immense pressure from Somerset’s Josh Grajczonek, the move was only a partial success as Charles Wright kept Cook’s race-partner Max Fricke at the back.

With four races to go Somerset held a 7-point lead on the night, to put in front by 5 points on aggregate, that being the situation after heat 12, Nick Morris and Oliver Greenwood packing into to ensure a share of the spoils behind ex-Rebels Claus Vissing.

A 4-2 race win in heat 13 saw Somerset with one hand on the Championship trophy, but that only tells part of the story as initially the race saw Edinburgh’s Craig Cook hit the front, but in a stunning move, Somerset’s Josh Grajczonek swept round the outside and into the lead as the riders came off the 4th bend on the opening lap, a move to which Cook had no answer, and with Jason Doyle picking up the point for 3rd place, it saw Somerset extend their aggregate lead out to 7 points with just 2 heats remaining.

But still the Monarchs refused to accept defeat and as the tapes rose on heat 14 it saw the Edinburgh duo of Vissing and Derek Sneddon hit the front, but as the race progressed so Alex Davies gradually closed in on Sneddon, and to the cheers of the Somerset fans he moved past Edinburgh skipper as the riders came off the 4th bend for the penultimate time, his 2nd place finish virtually assuring Somerset of the Championship crown.

By now the rain that had threatened the meeting an hour or so prior to the scheduled start had returned with a vengeance, but all that was required from the final race was for Somerset to ensure that either of their two representatives, Jason Doyle and Josh Grajczonek, finished the race for Somerset to win their first-ever League Championship title, and although the Edinburgh duo of Cook and Vissing held the initial sway from the tapes, Doyle nipped past Vissing as the riders came off the 2nd turn of the opening lap and into 2nd place, and with it the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels were the 2013 Premier League Champions!

 


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