As gale-force winds battered the Oaktree Arena, so the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels handed out a battering of their own to the Peterborough Panthers in the 1st leg of this KO Cup Quarter-Final tie, it being to such an extent that if this had been a boxing match, then the referee would have stepped in way before the end to save the Panthers from further punishment.
With the opening two heats gave no indication of what was to follow as they both saw a share of the spoils, but then the floodgates opened as the Rebels tore Peterborough apart, Craig Cook’s 1st heat race win for the Panthers being notable for the fact that it was to be the only time that a Peterborough rider was to record a race win all night!
Somerset’s Rohan Tungate and Jake Allen both ended the meeting being unbeaten by an opposition rider, Allen’s being his first such maximum in Somerset colours, it coming in just his 13th full match for the Rebels in what is his debut season of riding in the UK.
16 points to the good at the halfway stage of affairs, Somerset further turning the screw on the Panthers over the course of the final 7 heats to end the match with a 34 point lead with which to take with them into Sunday’s 2nd leg at Peterborough’s East of England Showground, the win representing Somerset’s biggest of the season to date, as well as it being their record win over the Panthers.
“The boys were on fire tonight and they never gave the Panthers a sniff of a chance all night,” said a delighted Garry May, the Somerset team manager afterwards.
“I would have bitten your hand off if you had said ahead of the match that we would be taking a 34 point lead with us into Sunday’s 2nd leg, but the boys were determined to build up a good 1st leg advantage, which they did with some style!”
“Everyone played their part, but I was especially pleased for Jake [Allen] who scored his first maximum in British speedway, while Rohan [Tungate] was also unbeaten by a Peterborough rider, he making a superb pass on Craig Cook in heat 11, on top of which both Josh Grajczonek and Paul Starke just missed out on maximum’s of their own.”
“But whilst we can enjoy this superb team win, the job is still only half done, and one thing is for certain, Peterborough will be out for revenge and to restore some pride when we go to their place for Sunday’s 2nd leg. So we will be approaching that in the same way as we do every match, and that is to be looking for the win, and as a result book our place in the KO Cup semi-final draw.”
SOMERSET 62: Jake Allen 14+1, Josh Grajczonek 14, Paul Starke 11+2, Rohan Tungate 10+2, Charles Wright 9+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 4+2, Zach Wajtknecht 0 PETERBOROUGH 28: Ulrich Østergaard 9, Craig Cook 5, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 5, Zdenek Holub 4+1, Simon Lambert 3+2, Tom Perry 2+1, Emil Grøndal 0