CASES Somerset Rebels booked their place in the Premier League Cup Final with a stunning 51-39 win at Sheffield Tigers – to secure a 105-75 aggregate win in their semi-final.
Team boss Garry May had said prior to the match that his aim was not to defend that first leg lead, but instead go to Sheffield with the intention of winning the second leg as well, and the Rebels played out those tactics to perfection.
After Sheffield gained a heat advantage in the opening race, Somerset kept things tight with a succession of drawn heats before hitting home consecutive maximum 5-1 race wins in heats seven and eight to put themselves six points up on the night and extend their aggregate lead out to a formidable 24 points.
Although Sheffield hit back in the next two heats to square the match up at 30 points all, with just a third of the tie remaining, Somerset’s aggregate lead was still standing at the same 18 point mark with which they started the match.
Somerset then made certain of their place in the final, where they will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Glasgow and Workington, with Josh Grajczonek’s race win in heat 11.
But, despite having assured themselves of being in the final, the Rebels were far from done and, with Sheffield now a totally demoralised outfit, Somerset ran in three further maximum race advantages over the course of the final four heats.
Somerset’s scoring was led by their skipper Grajczonek, who dropped just a single point from his five rides to an opposition rider, while Rohan Tungate (12+1) and Charles Wright (13) both weighed in with double figure scores for the Rebels, with Bradley Wilson-Dean scoring paid 10 from the reserve berth.
“All the boys rode superbly; it being a great all-round team performance," said May afterwards.
"Josh [Grajczonek], Rohan [Tungate] and Wrighty [Charles Wright] were simply awesome, while the rest of the team gave them brilliant support, which made all the difference.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys rode tonight, the team has had some great victories on the road this season, and this one ranks up there amongst the best of them.”
Sheffield 39: Kyle Howarth 9+2, Dimitri Berge 9, Arthur Sissis 8+1, Richard Lawson [guest] 7+1, Josh Bates 6+1, Nathan Greaves 0, rider replacement for Jason Garrity
Somerset 51: Josh Grajczonek 13+1, Charles Wright 13, Rohan Tungate 12+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 8+2, Paul Starke 3+2, Tom Bacon [guest] 2+2 rider replacement for Jake Allen.