SGB Premiership
Leicester Lions 48, Somerset Rebels 42
Match Points: Leicester 3, Somerset 1

THE ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels travelled to bottom-of-the-table Leicester minus Charles Wright, who was feeling the after-effects of a fall the previous night at Edinburgh, and left the East Midlands with a league point to show for their troubles, writes Ian Belcher.

It was Leicester who drew ‘first blood’, opening up proceedings with a 4-2 heat advantage, but after a share of the spoils in the following two heats, Somerset hit home two successive maximum race wins in heats four and five.

The first was courtesy of their guest rider, Brady Kurtz, and reserve Cameron Heeps, with Josh Grajczonek and Lewis Kerr following suit to give the Rebels a six-point lead.

Slowly but surely, however, Leicester clawed their way back into the match to the extent that, with five heats remaining, they had restored parity with the Rebels at 30-30.

Two further drawn heats followed, but heat 13 proved to be a major blow to Somerset’s hopes of a second away win of the season, as the Lions duo of Danny King and Kim Nilsson secured Leicester’s only maximum heat win of the night to put the hosts into a four-point lead with just two heats remaining.

Leicester made sure of victory with a 4-2 race win in the penultimate heat, but Somerset’s hopes of a consolation away point looked to have taken a hit when skipper Josh Grajczonek was penalised for a tapes offence in the final heat, meaning he had to start the re-run off a 15-metre handicap.

As it was, however, Brady Kurtz made sure of that away point for the Rebels when he headed home King and Nilsson for a final share of the spoils.

That left Somerset team manager Garry May pleased to have secured a point from the match, but ruing a lack of race winners by his side.

He said: “Things looked good for us early on when we opened up that six-point lead, but we weren’t able to capitalise on it, and with Leicester coming back at us as they did, it was always going to be difficult in the later heats with King and Nilsson riding well for them.

"But although we scored those two 5-1s, it was a bit disappointing that we didn’t provide another heat winner until Brady [Kurtz] came up trumps for us in heat 15.

“That said, all credit to the boys, they stuck in there to pick up the majority of the minor places to ensure that we came away from Leicester with at least a league point to show for our troubles.”

Leicester (48): Kim Nilsson 12+2, Danny King 12, Lasse Bjerre 12, Erik Riss 6, Josh Bates 6, Ellis Perks 0, Jason Garrity r/r.
Somerset (42): Brady Kurtz (guest) 10, Cameron Heeps 8+3, Michael Palm Toft 8+2, Josh Grajczonek 8, Jake Allen 4+2, Lewis Kerr 4+1, Charles Wright r/r.