THE Somerset Rebels return to Premier League action at the Oaktree Arena this Friday (June 3) when they host the Redcar Bears at the Oaktree Arena, with the match getting underway at the usual start-time of 7.30pm.
Redcar are nothing if not a cosmopolitan outfit, and are led by 2011 Danish under-21 Champion, Lasse Bjerre, he being joined in the Bears side by no less than three of his Danish compatriots, namely Jonas B Andersen, Jacob Bukhave and Simon Nielsen, who occupies one of the two reserve berths along with Redcar’s sole British rider, Lee Payne, with David Bellego, the 2010 French Champion, and Australian Hugh Skidmore completing the Bears’ septet.
The Bears have not , however, had the best of starts to the 2016 season, and have only won one official fixture this year, that being a home victory over Plymouth, and have already seen their League Cup and KO Cup ambitions fall by the wayside.
Somerset go into the match without Jake Allen who will be away riding for Australia in the following day’s Under-21 World Cup semi-final in Denmark, and the Rebels will operate rider replacement in his place with Paul Starke and the team’s two reserve riders, Bradley Wilson-Dean and Zach Wajtknecht eligible to take Allen’s rides.
Rebels team manager Garry May said: “Despite the fact Redcar haven’t had the best of starts to the season, we will not be taking them lightly as they have riders in their ranks who have previously shown a liking for riding at the Oaktree Arena, so we will go into the match with the same professional attitude with which we go into every match, irrespective of the opposition.
“Of course we would prefer to be going into the match with a full septet, but it just wasn’t possible for Jake [Allen] to ride for us on Friday night and then get out to Denmark in time for the next day’s Under-21 World Cup semi-final.”
“In saying that, however, all the boys are riding well at the moment, and I am sure that the rest of the team will more than adequately cover for Jake’s absence.”