Somerset Rebels bank deserved point in opening League Cup meeting of 2014 speedway season

10:37 03 April 2014

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Cycle speedway generic picture

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Somerset Rebels banked a deserved piint from their opening League Cup meeting of the 2104 speedway season.

Peterborough 46, Somerset 44

The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels opened their 2014 League Cup account with a trip to Premier League ‘new boys’ the Peterborough Panthers, and came away with a well-deserved point in what proved to be a pulsating match.

The Rebels got off to the worse possible start when Todd Kurtz was excluded for a tapes offence, and then saw themselves on the wrong end of a 5-1, Nick Morris finding himself with nowhere to go in a tight first turn which virtually ended any hopes he had of taking anything from the race.

Remarkably, Peterborough’s early 4-point lead was to be the biggest advantage either team was able to establish on the night, with the lead changing hands on no less than 6 occasions during the course of the 15 heats.

Somerset got their noses in front for the first time in heat 4 when Allen and Wright combined for a maximum 5-1 heat win, though prior to that Pontus Aspgren showed an amazing turn of speed, as well as a large degree of bravery, with a stunning swoop around the outside of the entire field to take the lead and with it the race win, a feat he was to repeat in his second outing of the night in heat 7.

The action was close throughout, matching the fluctuating fortunes of the score-line, but the race of the night came in heat 8, it seeing Charles Wright taking the lead from the tapes, but he was soon under immense pressure from Peterborough’s Lewis Blackbird.

Riding as if he had eyes in the back of his head, time and time again Wright thwarted Blackbird’s attempts to pass, and as the riders made the final dash for the chequered flag Wright just held on to take the race win by the narrowest of margins.

With the match swinging first one way then the other, heat 13 saw captain Olly Allen combine with Nick Morris for a Rebels 5-1 race advantage which moved Somerset back into the lead for a third time and with just two heats remaining.

The status quo was maintained in the penultimate race, Pontus Aspgren showing his liking for the pacey Peterborough track with his 3rd win of the night, it seeing another stunning first bend to pass Panthers’ Joe Jacobs, but with his bike lifting as he completed the manoeuvre, the seat bracket on the Swede’s bike snapped, but despite this obvious handicap he still somehow managed to continue and take the all-important race win.

With Somerset holding on to their 2-point lead, the riders came to the tapes for the match-deciding final race. Going into the first bend it was Peterborough’s Ryan Fisher that came swooping round the outside to take the lead, but with the Rebels’ duo of Allen and Morris holding 2nd and 3rd ahead of Lasse Bjerre.

Bjerre soon worked a passage past Morris, though with Allen still in 2nd place it meant the scores would be all-square, that was until Bjerre got the better of the Somerset skipper and it was ‘advantage Peterborough.’

More drama was to follow on lap 3 when Morris had a nasty looking fall as he exited the 2nd, the referee stopping the race with Morris still down on the track, he being excluded from the re-run.

The re-run saw Allen, Somerset’s sole representative in the race, take the lead for the Rebels, but just when it seemed that he was on his way to giving Somerset the meeting victory, the 3rd lap saw Fisher dramatically close him down, the Panthers’ number 1 then forcing his way past as the riders exited the 4th bend, the move creating a gap that saw Bjerre slip through into 2nd place.

With Allen slowing down to a crawl, it transpiring after the race his bike suffered an engine problem half a lap earlier, it left the home duo to ride round to end the meeting as Peterborough started it, with a maximum race win, and with it the meeting victory 46-44.

Olly Allen said: “My bike started to splutter soon after we started the 3rd lap, and there was nothing I could do to stop Fisher and Bjerre from coming through. I’m gutted as I thought we rode superbly well tonight and deserved the win, but that’s speedway!”

Although obviously disappointed we didn’t get the win, we do at least have the consolation of an away point to show for our efforts and there are many positives which we can take away from the match.”

Garry May said: “I was really proud of the way the boys rode tonight, especially when you consider that a number of the team had never ridden the Peterborough track before.”

“But now they have that experience and can put it to good use when we come back here to face Peterborough in the League match later in the season.”

PETERBOROUGH 46

R Fisher 2’ 3 3 1 3 - - 12+1

L Blackbird 3 1 2 2’ - - - 8+1

L Bjerre 1’ 1 1’ 3 2’ - - 8+3

U Østergaard 2 3 2 2 - - - 9

A Dryml 1 1 3 R - - - 5

J Jacobs 2 X 0 1’ - - - 3+1

O Greenwood 0 0 1’ 0 - - - 1+1

Team Manager: Blayne Scroggins

SOMERSET 44

N Morris 0 2 1’ 2’ X - - 5+2

T Kurtz T 0 0 2 - - - 2

B Kurtz 0 2’ 0 2 - - - 4+1

P Aspgren 3 3 1 3 - - - 10

O Allen 3 2 3 3 1 - - 12

C Wright 1 3 2’ 3 1’ 0 - 10+2

P Starke 1 0 0 - - - - 1

Team Manager: Garry May

Referee: Barbara Horley

HEAT DETAILS SCORE

1: (re-run) Blackbird, Fisher, Wright, Morris, T Kurtz (exc, tapes), 61.2 (5-1)

2: Wright, Jacobs, Starke, Greenwood, 62.1 (7-5)

3: Aspgren, Østergaard, Bjerre, B Kurtz, 61.3 (10-8)

4: Allen, Wright, Dryml, Greenwood, 61.7 (11-13)

5: Østergaard, Morris, Bjerre, T Kurtz, 62.1 (15-15)

6: Fisher, Allen, Blackbird, Starke, 62.3 (19-17)

7: Aspgren, B Kurtz, Dryml, Jacobs (f.exc), (awarded) (20-22)

8: Wright, Blackbird, Greenwood, T Kurtz, 62.8 (23-25)

9: Allen, Østergaard, Bjerre, Starke, 62.3 (26-28)

10: Fisher, Blackbird, Aspgren, B Kurtz, 63.0 (31-29)

11: Dryml, T Kurtz, Morris, Jacobs, 62.5 (34-32)

12: Bjerre, B Kurtz, Wright, Greenwood, 62.6 (37-35)

13: Allen, Morris, Fisher, Dryml (ret), 62.9 (38-40)

14: Aspgren, Østergaard, Jacobs, Wright, 63.0 (41-43)

15: (re-run) Fisher, Bjerre, Allen, Morris (f.exc), 63.2 (46-44)

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