SGB Premiership
Somerset Rebels 54, Rye House Rockets 38
League Points: Somerset 3, Rye House 0

THE new-look ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels returned to winning ways in some style on Friday, as they put Rye House to the sword, writes Ian Belcher.

Somerset’s three new signings all made significant contributions to mark their debuts for the club as the Rebels romped to their biggest win of the season to date.

Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr and Cameron Heeps replaced Rohan Tungate, Paul Starke and Jan Graversen, after three successive home defeats convinced team manager Garry May that changes were necessary.

And he seemed to be proved right, as Somerset made a dream start to the match by hitting Rye House with 5-1 maximum race wins in the first two heats, an opening salvo from which the visitors never really recovered.

Rebels skipper Josh Grajczonek and Kerr got the job done in the opening heat, with Jake Allen and Heeps dominating heat two to make the scoreline 10-2.

Once again the racing at the Oaktree Arena was of the highest quality, but although Rye House did close down the Somerset lead on a couple of occasions, the Rebels were in no mood to let this match slip from their grasp as they eventually ran out comfortable winners on the night.

The closest the visitors got was 34-28 after heat 10, but a 5-1 maximum for Grajczonek and Patrick Hougaard in heat 13, sandwiched between wins for Lawson, ended hopes of a comeback.

New boy Lawson led the way with four race wins in his 15-point haul, while Heeps marked his debut for the Rebels with an impressive 10 points, which included a stunning pass and win over the seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls in heat four.

A delighted Lawson reflected afterwards: “If you had offered me a debut with Somerset such as this before the match, I would have gladly taken it.

“Everyone was so helpful before the match as there was a bit of pressure on us three new boys to come in and do the business, but you cannot help to want to do well for a club such as this.

"The fans were great, they just wanted us to do well, and hopefully we’ve helped to put a smile back on their faces with tonight’s win.”

Somerset (54 points): Richard Lawson 15, Josh Grajczonek 11+1, Cameron Heeps 10+1, Patrick Hougaard 8+1, Lewis Kerr 5+1, Jake Allen 5+1, Charles Wright r/r.
Rye House (38): Chris Harris 11+1, Scott Nicholls 10, Rory Schlein 7+1, Edward Kennett 4, Stuart Robson 3+1, Rob Branford 3, Mark Baseby 0.