point Grand Final defeat is 'hard to take' admits Rebels manager
the second time in three years the Highbridge-based Somerset Rebels
lost in the Premier League Championship Grand Final by a single
race point at the weekend.
comes after their second leg at Edinburghs Scotwaste Arena
went down to a last heat decider before Edinburgh clinched the
title 96-95 on aggregate.
"Many congratulations to Edinburgh on winning the title,"
said Somerset team manager Garry May.
"They were the form side throughout the season, but we certainly
pushed them all the way and the way the Somerset boys came back
at Edinburgh to take it into that last heat decider speaks volumes
for the character of the team."
"Unfortunately, someone has to lose in situations such as
this, and on this occasion it was our turn to do so, though to
lose by a single race point for the second time in 3 years is
a bit hard to take right now, but we will come back from this
next year all the stronger for it ready to reclaim that Championship
took a 12-point lead into the 2nd leg on Saturday, courtesy of
Fruday nights 54-42 1st leg win over the Monarchs at the
Oak Tree Arena, but that lead was immediately under threat to
the extent that Edinburgh moved into the aggregate lead themselves
by the conclusion of heat 6 as the Monarchs hit home 4 maximum
race wins over the course of the first 6 heats.
Somerset guest Aaron Summers, in for the injured Olly Allen,
was particularly unlucky in his first two rides as he first found
himself with no room to manoeuvre after a tight first bend in
the opening heat, which dropped him to the back of the field.
His second outing saw the young Australian once again make a
good start, but being on the outside it left him vulnerable to
any inside move, and so it proved as Edinburghs Max Fricke
challenged him for the lead, Summers just clipping the fence as
the pair took to the back straight, he taking a nasty looking
fall as a consequence which saw him and machine career across
the track, both narrowly missing team mate Todd Kurtz, before
coming to a halt on the Centre Green.
Any hopes that the home Edinburgh fans had of their side then
pulling away to win the title we quickly dispelled, however, as
the Rebels hit back, the 2nd half of the match seeing the aggregate
lead swing first one way and then the other, two superb race wins
by reserve Paul Starke and an 8-1 courtesy of Aaron Summers and
Pontus Aspgren being the catalyst of the Rebels fight back.
the riders came to the tapes for heat 13, Edinburgh led by 5 points
on the night, but it was Somerset who had moved back into the
lead on aggregate by 7 points, but it was to be a somewhat eventual
race, the first two attempts to run it seeing riders, Cook and
Masters for Edinburgh, Summers and Morris for Somerset, strewn
all over the track on the 1st turn as all 4 tried to gain the
crucial race lead.
With emotions and, no doubt, some degree of frustrations, running
high, there was a confrontation between a couple of the riders
as they got to their feet, but order was quickly restored and
it was to be the Monarchs duo who finally made things count
as they hit home a 5-1 maximum heat win in the third running of
Whilst a share of the spoils in heat 14, the penultimate race,
saw Edinburgh 49-40 to the good on the night, it did mean that
Somerset led on aggregate by a slender 3 point margin, meaning
that any score other than a 5-1 race win to Edinburgh in heat
15 would see Somerset crowned Premier League champions for the
second successive season.
It was, however, to be heartbreak time for the Rebels and their
band of travelling supporters who had made the long trip up to
Edinburgh to cheer their side on, as the Edinburgh duo of Craig
Cook and Sam Masters made no mistake from the tapes to hit the
front with Somersets Nick Morris giving chase.
But it was to no avail as Somersets other representative,
Pontus Aspgren fell on the second lap and although the race was
stopped, the referee awarded the heat to Edinburgh, which was
sufficient for the Monarchs to snatch the title from Somersets
grasp by that single race point to leave the Rebels camp in complete
desolation with the team coming so close in their attempt to retain
their Championship crown.
Pictured: The action over the weekend (pics Ron MacNeill and