The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels have left themselves a mountain to climb if they are to progress through to SGB Premiership KO Cup Final, they having to overcome a 28 point 1st leg deficit when themselves and Wolverhampton reconvene at the Oaktree Arena on Friday (22nd) night for the 2nd leg of this semi-final tie.
Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green track has not proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Rebels so far this year, and right from the off it was obvious that this was not going to be a case of ‘3rd time lucky’ as Wolves hit the Rebels hard from the off, opening up a 20 point lead after just 6 heats had been completed.
From thereon in, it was as much a case a damage limitation for Somerset, their cause not being helped when Charles Wright was forced to withdraw from the meeting, a legacy of a heat 7 fall when he was wiped out by Wolverhampton’s Mark Riss.
Somerset’s high points from the match were few and far between, Kerr’s win over Wolves number 1 Fredrik Lindgren it heat 10 being one of only two heat winners the Rebels were to provide from the 15 heats, Richard Lawson being the other, he going on to top-score for Somerset with 11 points from his 6 rides.
“We were obviously hoping for a better result than this, but Wolves are a formidable team around their own track and totally dominated us from the off,” said a disappointed Somerset team manager, Garry May, afterwards.
“Although we still have the 2nd leg at the Oaktree Arena to come on Friday night, it is advantage Wolves as to who will be going on to the final, but we will give it our best shot and will not concede anything until the last points have been won or lost.”
WOLVERHAMPTON 59: Freddie Lindgren 15+2, Sam Masters 13+1, Rory Schlein 13, Kyle Howarth 11+3, Nathan Greaves 4+1, Mark Ross 3, Jacob Thorssell r/r.
SOMERSET 31: Richard Lawson 11, Lewis Kerr 7+1, Paul Starke [guest] 6+1, Jake Allen 3+1, Josh Grajczonek 2+1, Charles Wright 2, Patrick Hougaard r/r.
Picture courtesy of Colin Burnett