Wednesday April 05, 2017
The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels first ever match in UK Speedway’s top flight did not come with a fairy-tale ending as the Rebels went down by 16 points to the King’s Lynn Stars in this SGB Premiership encounter.

Somerset were on the back foot from the off, their cause not helped by two debatable exclusion to two of their riders in the opening two heats, the first seeing Rohan Tungate having his front wheel taken from under him by the Stars’ Chris Holder as the four riders entered the first turn.

Just a heat later, Rebels reserve Jan Graversen hit the deck as he took a knock from Kai Huckenbeck on the opening bend, but whereas many might have expected both incidents to at least result in re-runs for all four riders, the referee saw fit to exclude Tungate and Graversen from the said re-runs of the respective heats.

The exclusions immediately put Somerset on the back foot, and what with the Rebels being decidedly second-best away from the starts, before you knew it, King’s Lynn had opened up a 14-point lead with little more than the opening third of the match completed.

To their credit, however, Somerset refused to yield and continued to plug away, the next three heats seeing the Rebels record heat advantages to cut the Stars’ lead, but a further maximum race advantage to the home side in heat 10 effectively snuffed out any real hopes Somerset had of getting themselves back into contention.

To compound their defeat, Somerset lost the services of skipper Josh Grajczonek, who suffered a suspected broken thumb as a result of a heat 7 fall, and whilst obviously disappointed to leave Norfolk empty-handed, there were some excellent performances in the Rebels camp, most notably from Patrick Hougaard, who took two race wins, the second of which saw him win out in an epic battle with King’s Lynn’s Robert Lambert, the pair passing and re-passing each other with Hougaard just coming out on top, while Charles Wright also ended the night with a brace of heat wins to his name, his night coming to an unfortunate end when he crashed in the final race when second behind team-mate Hougaard, a shed steel shoe being a contributory factor in his demise.

“Obviously we are disappointed to have lost,” said Somerset team manager Garry May, “but even so, I think we gave a good account of ourselves, especially considering that Rohan [Tungate] was suffering mechanically all night and we lost the services of Josh Grajczonek just short of the half-way stage of the match.”

“But although we were always chasing the match, the boys never gave up, and continued to battle away, and with a bit more luck and rub of the green with one or two of the decisions, I think we could have nicked a point from tonight’s match.”

“It is too early to say at this stage as to the full extent of Josh’s injury, but early indications are that it could have suffered a broken thumb as a result of his fall, which if confirmed will mean a spell on the side-lines for him, but we’ll have to wait until he has had it properly looked at before we know for certain.”

C Holder 3 1 3 0 - - - 7
L Rose 2’ 3 2 2’ - - - 9+2
N Porsing 1 2’ X 2 - - - 5+1
T Batchelor 3 3 3 3 1’ - - 13+1
R Lambert 3 R 3 2 2 - - 10
K Huckenbeck 3 X 1 2’ - - - 6+1
J Bailey 1 0 2 0 - - - 3
Team Manager: Dale Allitt

R Tungate X X 0 1 - - - 1
P Starke 1 1 3 2 - - - 7
C Wright 2 3 1 3 X - - 9
J Grajczonek 0 X - - - - - 0
P Hougaard 2 2 2^’ 3 3 - - 12+1
J Allen 2 F 2 0 1 1 - 6
J Graversen X 1’ 1 R - - - 2+1
Team Manager: Garry May

Referee: Barbara Horley

1: (re-run) Holder, Rose, Starke, Tungate (f.exc), 59.64 (5-1)
2: (re-run) Huckenbeck, Allen, Bailey, Graversen (f.exc), 59.29 (9-3)
3: Batchelor, Wright, Porsing, Grajczonek, 58.66 (13-5)
4: Lambert, Hougaard, Graversen, Bailey, 59.64 (16-8)
5: (awarded) Batchelor, Porsing, Starke, Tungate (f.exc), no time (21-9)
6: Rose, Hougaard, Holder, Allen (f), 60.04 (25-11)
7: (re-run) Wright, Bailey, Lambert (ret), Grajczonek (f.exc), 60.46 (27-14)
8: (re-run) Starke, Rose, Graversen, Huckenbeck (f.exc), 60.58 (29-18)
9: (re-run) Batchelor, Allen, Hougaard (TR), Porsing (f.exc), 60.52 (32-22)
10: Holder, Rose, Wright, Allen, 60.05 (37-23)
11: Lambert, Starke, Huckenbeck, Tungate, 60.30 (41-25)
12: Wright, Porsing, Allen, Bailey, 60.26 (43-29)
13: Hougaard, Lambert, Tungate, Holder, 60.41 (45-33)
14: Batchelor, Huckenbeck, Allen, Graversen (ret), 59.91 (50-34)
15: (awarded) Hougaard, Lambert, Batchelor, Wright (f.exc), no time (53-37)


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