The ‘Cases’ Rebels have given themselves a good chance of advancing to the semi-final stages of the knockout cup after a 52-38 first leg quarter final triumph over rivals Poole.
The all-firing home side put themselves in the driving seat from the very outset with two excellent 5-1 advantages, but track conditions were not conducive to good, safe speedway and following a brief track grade after heat three the riders called for some early remedial work to be done immediately after heat 5.
Rebels skipper Jason Doyle explained “we didn’t feel that the track was totally safe out there so we asked for them to move the high levels of dirt from the inside to the outer. Last time here we were critical that the track was too bare and they seemed to have over-compensated with the new material they put down.”
Once racing resumed, with a 17-13 score-line, the Rebels gradually began to restore their advantage and by the halfway mark led 28-20, a lead that would have been greater had visiting Kacper Woryna not stolen second place from Bradley Wilson-Dean in a tight photo-finish.
The Rebels extended the margin to 12 points when Charles Wright followed home Jack Holder for a 5-1, a remarkable result given that Wright had found himself nestled into the air-barrier in the first staging of heat 9 having experienced a ‘coming together’ with Peter Kildemand, who in the rerun found himself coming to grief!
The task was far from done for the home side as Grajczonek and Sundstrom hit back with maximum points at the expense of Doyle and Allen.
Jonas Jeppesen, who earlier had notched up his first Rebels race victory, was embroiled in a titanic battle with both Kurtz and Woryna, eventually managing to keep the latter out whilst Lawson had ridden off into the sunset. Wilson-Dean wasted no time in getting to the front, appearing to have impeded Grajczonek en-route, to join Wright for yet another Rebels 5-1 in heat 12. Kurtz out-manoeuvred Doyle in heat 13 and on the line Kildemand just managed to deny Lawson a point as Poole tried to keep the deficit respectable but two superb rides from Holder and, especially, Jeppesen in heat 14 saw the Rebels move into a 16 point lead.
Anticipation at the gate by Doyle in heat 15 ruled him out of the final action, Wilson-Dean deputising. Kurtz led home Holder with Grajczonek third as the visitors pulled back two points, giving the Rebels a 14 point cushion for the June 27th second leg in Dorset, a lead that has pleased team manager Garry May “We fought hard tonight, we knew we needed to build a decent lead and whilst the tie still has a long way to go a double figure lead is a nice one to have. We had a few issues with the track early on but the staff listened to what the riders were saying, addressed the matter as best they could and we had a good meeting to enjoy. It was pleasing to see Jonas pick up his first win and you can see he is figuring out the track more and more and its benefitting him.”
SOMERSET – 52: J. Holder 12 (2,2,3,3,2), B. Wilson-Dean 9+1 (2′,3,1,3,0), J. Doyle 8+1 (2′,3,1,2), J. Allen 7 (3,1,3,0), J. Jeppesen 6+1 (3,0,1,2′), R. Lawson 6 (R,3,3,0), C. Wright 4+2 (0,0,2′,2′)
POOLE – 38: B. Kurtz 10 (1,1,2,3,3), J. Grajczonek 9 (3,2,3,R,1), P. Kildemand 5 (2,2,F,1), L. Sundstrom 5+2 (1,1′,2′,1), K. Woryna 5 (R,3,2,0), J. Shanes 3 (1,0,1,1), M. Szczepaniak 1+1 (0,1′,0,0)