The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels are through to the final of the SGB Premiership Knockout cup, confirming their place with a heat to spare after Richard Lawson coolly split Aces pair Rohan Tungate and Dimitri Berge in heat 14.
Lawson’s move was clinical enough but perhaps not quite with the precision of that from Max Fricke and Craig Cook a heat earlier as they caught Jason Doyle on the run to the line to offer up a lifeline for the Aces.
Needing maximum points from the final two heats to force a Golden Heat race-off, the Aces were on course for three laps of the penultimate race but Lawson made his move to the delight of the small band of travelling Somerset fans.
A relieved Garry May said of his side’s achievement “this is a great result and we can now look forward to our first ever top flight cup final and a match up with King’s Lynn. We did the job we came to do and it was another good meeting. “
The Rebels went into the meeting nursing a fourteen point lead and with Jake Allen and Aaron Summers firing in a heat 2 maximum and Doyle and Nico Covatti following suit in heat 5 the visitors found themselves having increased that advantage and after nine heats on the night still led.
A very even first turn in heat 10 eventually saw Fricke and Berge escape Lawson’s clutches and the Aces went ahead. The busy Berge then passed Summers, who had been in scintillating form in his first few rides, to support Cook’s win over Doyle and the tie began to take on a different outlook.
A brilliant last lap by Wilson-Dean in heat 12 came as a huge relief for the Rebels, sweeping by Berge for a 4-2 putting the onus on Belle Vue to, at best, draw the tie.
Just as the heat 13 in the Rebels’ league visit produced a classic, this cup version was equally intense as Doyle battled incessantly to hold off Cook and Fricke until the very last turn when tight on the inside the Aces delivered the required 5-1, but Lawson’s heroics took the Rebels into the final.