SGB Championship

Somerset Rebels 51, Redcar Bears 39

A powerhouse performance from Nico Covatti ensured the 'Cases' Rebels got 'over the line' with a race to spare against a resilient Redcar Bears that had pegged back an early advantage set by the home side, writes Stephen Allen.

Covatti, who finished with three wins and two second places to his name, earned strong praise from manager Garry May.

May said: "Nico has been going well lately, he has certainly found some form and looked really comfortable out there tonight.

"He made some great passes and had good speed, we just need to get Vally [Valentin Grobauer] going a bit more consistently and we will be getting there."

One of those Covatti second places went down as an exceptionally brave ride as he dived into a marginal gap to in an attempt to make a double pass on former Rebel Charles Wright and the experienced Ulrich Ostergaard in heat five.

The move was only half successful as Wright clung on to his lead, as then Ostergaard fell victim to another motoring Rebel, Valentin Grobauer, slotting in for a shared heat to protect the Rebels' six point lead.

The Bears closed that gap with maximum points from heat eight but a workman-like ride from Rory Schlein in heat 10 coupled with an on-the-line steal by Todd Kurtz restored the half dozen advantage.

Redcar attempted to try and reduce that deficit by introducing Charles Wright as a tactical substitute in heat 12, one race after being the only representative for the visitors when Jack Smith had failed to turn leaving the back straight and took a spectacular visit to the air barrier.

Wright came through the re-run with pride after making Rebels skipper Chris Harris run riot behind him - so wide Harris went on one lap he almost made an unscheduled visit to the clubhouse!

But Wright, nominated to replace reserve Nathan Greaves, ran out of time between heats and amidst the confusion that followed Wright's subsequent replacement Jack Smith also fell foul of the time limit, so Ostergaard took on the mantle as lonely Bear.

He shot out the tapes giving neither Grobauer of Atkins any hope of catching him.

Wright did make it to tapes in time for heat 13 and made his presence known with another win over Harris, but all eyes fell on back-marker Rory Schlein who had looked a beaten man until he found some speed off the final turn and pipped Michael Palm-Toft on the line to save the heat for Somerset.

Covatti was in no mood to hang around and he wanted to get the job done, which he did as Jordan Stewart reared coming away from the tapes. That also allowed Rowe to enjoy a freer run to the first turn and set up the match winning Rebels 5-1.

Covatti then sealed his personal glory by holding off Wright in heat 15 whilst Schlein once again left his best until the flag came out, denying Palm-Toft a point for a second time to offer up a final score of 51-39 and three league points to the Rebels.


Somerset - 51: N.Covatti 13 (3,2,2,3,3), C.Harris 10 (3,3,2,2), R.Schlein 10+1 (3,2,3,1',1), A.Rowe 6+2 (3,0,1',2'), H.Atkins 4+2 (2',1,0,1'), V.Grobauer 4+2 (0,1',1',2), T.Kurtz 4+2 (EH,1',1,2')

Redcar - 39: C.Wright 13 (2,3,3,3,2), M.Palm-Toft 8 (2,3,3,0,0), J.Stewart 7+2 (1',1',3,1,1), U.Ostergaard 7 (2,0,2,0,3), J.Smith 2+1 (0,0,2',FD), N.Greaves 2+1 (1',1,FD,0)