SGB Premiership

Somerset Rebels 45 (0), Poole Pirates 48 (3)

THE ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels final league match of the season proved to be a thrilling affair, but one which the Rebels were to ultimately lose in a last-heat decider to the Pirates, writes Ian Belcher.

In a match of the proverbial ‘two-halves’, Somerset started liked an express train to put themselves into a 10-point lead after the opening 4 heats.

Although Poole closed that gap down with a 7-2 tactical race advantage in heat 5, Somerset reached the halfway stage of affairs with a 9-point lead.

Two heats later, however, that lead had evaporated to just a single point with Poole hitting home two successive maximum races wins in heats 9 and 10, and with the next four heats all showing a share of the spoils, the teams went into the final race of the night with Somerset still holding that one-point advantage over the Pirates.

Needing the meeting win to assure themselves of a place in the title-deciding play-offs, heat 15 saw the Poole duo of Kurtz and Andersen take full advantage of the favoured gate positions to hit the front from the off to keep Somerset’s Richard Lawson pegged back in third place.

It was cruel ending for the Rebels, who had led the match throughout over their more illustrious opponents, much to the disappointment of Somerset team manager Garry May.

Speaking afterwards, May said: “It was a terrific match, but at the end of the day we still lost, despite leading for 14 out of the 15 heats.

“After dominating things in the first half of the match, those two 5-1's from Poole mid-meeting swung the pendulum their way.

"Although we managed to hold on to our one-point lead going into the final heat, Poole made the favoured gate positions tell and, though Richard [Lawson] tried his best, the Poole boys made sure that there was no way past for him.”

“It was obviously disappointing to end our league campaign with a loss on home shale, but we still have the chance of some silverware with our KO Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton to come.

"I know the boys will be doubly keen to make up for missing out on the league play-offs by making through to the Premiership KO Cup Final.”


SOMERSET 45: Charles Wright 12, Josh Grajczonek 10, Richard Lawson 10, Lewis Kerr 6+1, Patrick Hougaard 4+1, Kevin Doolan [guest] 3, Cameron Heeps r/r

POOLE 48: Brady Kurtz 12+1, Timo Lahti 12+1, Edward Kennett 10+1, Hans Andersen 8+3, Paul Starke 6+1, Georgie Wood [guest] 0, Jack Holder r/r