SOMERSET Rebels suffered the cruel heartache in just missing out on winning the Premier League Championship to add to last week’s League Cup triumph when they lost by just a single point on aggregate to the Scunthorpe.
The Championship was not decided until the final heat of last night’s (October 29) second leg and although Jesper Monberg won the race for the Rebels, guest Richard Hall was unable to find a way past the Scorpions duo of Nick Morris and Josh Auty to get an all-important point that would have given Somerset the title, they eventually losing on aggregate over the two legs 92-91.
Holding a five point lead from last Friday’s first leg at the Oaktree Arena, the Rebels kept things tight in the opening heat of last night’s second leg, the original staging of which had been postponed on Sunday afternoon due to heavy rain, so much so that it wasn’t until heat seven that Scunthorpe finally overcame the deficit.
But if the home fans held any thoughts that their side would now pull away for a comfortable Championship winning performance were quickly dashed as the Rebels hit back in heat 9 with a maximum race win to put themselves back into the aggregate lead.
The next few heats saw first Scunthorpe back in front, but yet again the Rebels refused to yield and going into the final three heats, Somerset held a narrow one-point lead.
A 4-2 race win to Scunthorpe in heat 13 saw the pendulum swing back the way of the Scorpions once again, and a share of the spoils in the penultimate race meant that Somerset needed a heat advantage in the final race in order to snatch the Championship Trophy away from under the noses of the home side, but with Auty and Morris effectively shutting out Hall, despite the most valiant efforts of the Rebels’ guest, it meant that the Premier League Championship trophy would be residing in North Lincolnshire for the 2013 season, Scunthorpe winning on the night 48-42 to give them that one-point aggregate win.
Afterwards Somerset promoter Debbie Hancock put aside the disappointment of Somerset’s agonising one-point play-off Final defeat to congratulate winners Scunthorpe as well as pay tribute to her own team for their efforts not just on the night but over the season as a whole.
Hancock said: “Many congratulations are due to all associated with Scunthorpe, the promotion, the riders and their fans on their League Championship title. Both legs made for a pulsating play-off Final, one that I feel was a credit to the Premier League with both sides more than playing their part in making it one to remember.
"Obviously we are disappointed not to be champions ourselves, we gave it our best shot and I could ask no more of our riders but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, Somerset fans should feel rightly proud of the way the team performed, not just in the Final but over the season as a whole.”