Premier League

Somerset Rebels 48 Ipswich Witches 42

SOMERSET Rebels returned to winning ways following last week’s home defeat at the hands of Edinburgh, but they were made to fight every inch of the way by a determined Ipswich outfit.

The first half of the match was one of ‘nip and tuck’, each time Somerset managing to eke out a narrow advantage, so Ipswich would claw things back, with Danny King and Rohan Tungate showing the type of form which won them the Premier League Pairs Championship at Somerset’s Oaktree Arena at the beginning of July.

With the scores level at 24 a-piece after the first eight heats, Somerset suddenly, and almost out of nowhere, banged in two successive maximum 5-1 race advantages in heats 9 and 10 - the first seeing Richie Worrall and Charles Wright team ride to perfection to head home the hitherto unbeaten King, with Brady Kurtz and Somerset’s new signing Rasmus Jensen following that up with the second ‘full house’.

Ipswich, however, still refused to lie down and looked to be heading for a maximum 5-1 of their own in heat 12 until Somerset’s Charles Wright produced a move of breath-taking proportions in squeezing through a gap which didn’t exist between the Ipswich duo of Manzares and Nielsen and the air-fence to pass both Witches in one move with just a lap to go which saw Somerset eight points to the good with just three heats remaining.

The Witches hopes of taking anything from this match suffered a big blow when Danny King was excluded from heat 13, he coming to grief after trying a move to pass Brady Kurtz up the inside as the riders took to the first bend, a move which, at best, could only be described as ‘ambitious’ in the extreme.

The resultant 5-1 to Somerset in the re-run put the Rebels into a 12-point lead, which ensured that victory would be going their way.

Team manager Garry May said: “It was good to get back to winning ways at home, even if it did take us a while to get into our stride, we knew that Ipswich would give us a tough match as they are looking to get into those all-important play-offs, but our boys really knuckled down after a tense first half of the match and deserved their win.”