THE Somerset Rebels hopes of retaining their Premier League Pairs crown ended in heartbreak last night when Nick Morris was excluded after coming to grief in a tight first turn with the Edinburgh Monarchs' Max Fricke.
Played out in front of a packed Oaktree Arena, the eagerly anticipated Final was to be an anti-climax with Morris' exclusion from the initial running of the race - and although Somerset captain Olly Allen duly won the re-run, the Edinburgh duo of Sam Masters and Max Fricke picked up five points for their second and third place finishes.
Somerset team manager Garry May said: "It was a bitterly disappointing way to lose the meeting but the referee had to make a decision and unfortunately it didn't go our way.
"But, that apart, both Nick and Olly rode fantastically well tonight, and the fans were treated to an excellent night's racing, it was just a shame that they did not have the Final the meeting deserved, but we cannot change things and congratulations to Edinburgh on their victory tonight."
The preliminary Group stages were of a contrasting nature as Somerset won Group B with comparative ease - as Nick Morris and Olly Allen dropped just three points to top the group with 25 points.
The second semi-final saw Somerset and Workington come to the tapes to determine who would be Edinburgh's opponents in the Grand Final, and initially at least, it looked to be a carbon copy of the first semi-final, as Morris and Allen made by far the better starts to hit the front from the off.
After a minor setback, Allen passed both Comets' riders to regain second place behind partner Morris and take Somerset through to the 'winner takes all' Grand Final.
But it wasn't to be for the Rebels' pair, as Morris' exclusion saw them leave empty handed.