Premier League

Somerset Rebels 42, Edinburgh Monarchs 51

SOMERSET Rebels slipped to a 42-51 defeat at the hands of the Edinburgh Monarchs on Tuesday night, in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Operating rider replacement for the still injured former Rebel, Sam Masters, the Monarchs hit the ground running, as they quickly built up an early lead they were not to lose.

That lead came courtesy of some rapid gating, and the ability to give their ‘number one’, Craig Cook three rides by Heat five.

Cook capitalised with two wins from his programmed rides, plus a win in the first rider replacement opportunity.

The visiting side had produced a stunning victory, ending the day nine points to the good and with four more points to add to their tally, maintaining their place at the head of the table.

Craig Cook produced a top drawer performance, being beaten only once by an opponent all night, and posting a 15+2 return.

Erik Riss’s debut at the Oaktree Arena was a revelation, as he too hit double figures, with his 14-points seeing only two defeats by an opposition rider.

The pair were backed up by a fantastic 11+2 from Justin Sedgmen, whilst Kevin Wolbert hit 8, with rider replacement unbeaten.

For the home side it was their second home defeat in three meetings, after an unbroken home record of 52 wins.

Several riders produced lacklustre displays, and it was telling that the two top scorers were the superb Charles Wright, with 13+1, including a tactical win, and Paul Starke with a hard working 9+1.

Wright’s performance deservedly earned him the Somerset Rider of the Night award, presented by Sam and Mandy Abbott of Rebels team partners TQ Exel.

Josh Grajczonek backed up the two top scorers with an eight-point return.

For the first time in the two years he has been at the club, Brady Kurtz failed to post a heat win.

The Rebels have some important meetings coming up - including their Scottish tour - and they will have to be at the top of their game if they are to maintain the push for a Play Off place, and another shot at the title to add to their 2013 victory.