Somerset Rebels 47, Poole Pirates 43
‘CASES’ Somerset Rebels’ historic first home meeting in the SGB Premiership took place in front of a bumper Bank Holiday crowd on Friday evening.
Earlier in the day, the Rebels had been given a torrid introduction into life in the SGB Premiership, when they visited Wimborne Road, the home of Friday’s opponents, the multi-title-winning Poole Pirates.
The evening part of this double-header couldn’t have been more different as the Rebels septet were ready to do battle and were quickly into their stride, with Rohan Tungate and Paul Starke claiming a Heat 1 win.
In Heat 2, Klindt was quick off the mark but he had no answer to Jake Allen who came powering around the wide line, to complete the pass but, with Jan Graversen fourth, they shared the points.
The Pirates hit back in Heat 3 when Brady Kurtz defeated Patrick Hougaard and Charles Wright.
The home side quickly restored the lead and added to it as they took advantages in the next two heats: Heat 4 saw captain Josh Grajczonek race away with Graversen in third.
And a ‘Full House’ followed when Charles Wright and Patrick Hougaard fended off Jack Holder.
Once again, the Pirates hit back, when Hans Andersen and Nicolai Klindt claimed a maximum.
The meeting then came to a state of stalemate so both team managers swapped reserves for Heat 8.
The deadlock was broken in Heat 11 as Josh Grajczonek and Jake Allen quickly put the race to bed and the Rebels were eight points clear.
Pirates hit back with a maximum but the Rebels put themselves within reach of all four league points with a 4-2 advantage in Heat 14.
With the home side now assured of victory, with the scores standing at 45-39, the only issue was the destiny of the fourth league point.
In the event, it went the way of the ‘Bank of Poole’, as Hans Andersen shot from the tapes to lead every inch of the way.
It had been an entertaining match, witnessed by what was probably the biggest crowd ever seen at the Oaktree Arena for a league match.
On the ‘Cases’ side of the pits, the top honours went to Josh Grajczonek with a 13-point haul.
He was ably backed up by Patrick Hougaard, who not only posted a 9+1 total, but also carried away the ‘Rider of the Night’ trophy.
JOY: Josh Grajczonek and Jake Allen celebrate their Heat 11 'Full House' against Poole Pirates. Pic: Colin Burnett
SGB Premiership KO Cup, first round, second leg
Leicester Lions 48, Somerset Rebels 42 (89-91 on aggregate)
THE outcome of the Rebels’ quarter-final KOC tie went right down to the wire and a slice of fortune at Leicester on Saturday night with the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels eventually qualifying for the semi-finals in the most dramatic of fashions.
Holding a first-leg advantage of eight points, the Rebels had to dig deep to prevent that being wiped out early at Leicester, but the two JGs – Grajczonek and Graversen – recovered ground with a heat four 5-1.
Disaster hit the visitors in heat 10 when Hougaard, chasing Bjerre and Nilsson, hard locked up and spun out, leaving Charles Wright to trust a lone ranger ride in the re-start.
The Lions took full advantage and followed that maximum up with two more across the next three heats, both involving Nick Morris, to find themselves 10 points up on the night, two on aggregate, with just two heats remaining.
Lions’ number one Kim Nilsson pulled clear of the pack in that 15th heat, the 30th of the tie, and it looked as though his point would knock the Rebels out.
Until the final lap, that is, when Grajczonek drove up the inside of Nilsson and disaster struck the latter as he suffered a puncture and pulled up, gifting the Rebels the 4-2 advantage and an aggregate 91-89 victory after a tense encounter.