The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels returned to the top of the SGB Premiership league table with this emphatic win over the defending league champions, Swindon having ‘temporarily’ deposed Somerset from top spot just 48 hours earlier.
A match which looked, on paper at least, to be possibly too close to call, especially with the Rebels devoid of their number 1 and current World Champion, Jason Doyle, due to injury, turned out to be anything but as Somerset simply tore a beleaguered Swindon team apart, to the extent that the visitors did not record a race advantage until the final heat of the night, it also being the only occasion that a home rider finished a heat in last place.
After a share of the spoils in the opening heat, the first third of the match saw Somerset open up a handy 8-point lead, and although Swindon did steady their ship somewhat, by the halfway stage, the Rebels were 10-points to the good.
Swindon’s use of the tactical substitute in heat 9, with the hitherto unbeaten David Bellego taking the ride, summed up Swindon’s dismal night as Somerset’s stand-in skipper, Richard Lawson, produced a stunning ride to take the race win, and with his race partner Nico Covatti picking up the point for 3rd place, the Rebels stretched their lead out to 12 points with just 6 heats remaining.
It took, however, just 3 of those remaining 6 heats for Somerset to be assured of the meeting victory and all 3 league points when Covatti and Bradley Wilson-Dean combined in heat 12 for the Rebels’ second maximum 5-1 race win of the night, that being quickly followed a race later by a further Somerset maximum heat win to further emphasis their superiority.
Although Swindon did have the scant consolation of a maximum 5-1 race win in the heat, it was but a token gesture, it’s only real significance to the match being that it denied Somerset’s Jack Holder a well-deserved maiden maximum in Somerset colours, the young Australian top-scoring for the Rebels with a paid 13 return from his 5 rides.
“The boys were just awesome tonight,” said a delighted Garry May, the Somerset team manager afterwards, “this could have been a real tricky encounter for us, what with us being without Doyley [Jason Doyle], but all the boys stepped up to the plate, none more so than Jack [Holder], and it was just a pity that he was denied his maximum in that last heat.”
“You only have to look our individual scores to see that this was a real team effort, and I would like to thank our guest tonight, Rory Schlein, for coming in to place of Doyley, which is no mean feat in itself, and doing a thoroughly professional job for us.”
“Swindon knocked us off the top of the league table on Monday night, so it was especially pleasing to put one over them in tonight’s match to reclaim that top spot!”
SOMERSET 54: Jack Holder 12+1, Nico Covatti 8+1, Rory Schlein [guest] 7+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 7+2, Richard Lawson 7+1, Jake Allen 7, Aaron Summers 6+2.
SWINDON 36: Rohan Tungate [guest] 10, David Bellego 9, Tobiasz Musielak 8+1, Adam Ellis 5, Troy Batchelor 2, Zach Wajtknecht 2, Jack Smith 0.