Sunday October 11, 2015
The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels hopes of an unprecedented 4th successive Premier League Championship Grand Final came to an end this afternoon when they were defeated by the Glasgow Tigers 91-89 on aggregate, the Rebels taking the tie into a last heat decider at the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium before they finally lost out to the Tigers.

Going into today’s 2nd leg 6 points up from Friday night’s 1st leg match at the Oaktree Arena, Somerset saw that slender advantage wiped out after just 4 heats, but as was the case last week when winning the KO Cup against Edinburgh, the Rebels fought back and a maximum 5-1 race win in heat 5 courtesy of Brady Kurtz and Paul Stake saw Somerset regain the aggregate lead, albeit by just 2 points.

Two drawn heats were to follow to maintain Somerset’s narrow lead before a 4-2 race win in heat 8 for the Rebels took their aggregate lead out to 4 points, that being maintained as the meeting reached its two-thirds distance.

Like two boxers standing toe to toe slugging it out, first one side seemed to gain the upper hand before the other responded like-wise and Heat 11 saw Glasgow hit home a maximum 5-1 race win to put the Tigers into a 6-point lead on the day which brought the two sides level on aggregate, but once again Somerset immediately hit back to move back into the aggregate lead with a 4-2 race win in heat 12.

That lead, however, was to be a short-lived one as Glasgow responded with a 4-2 of their own in heat 13 to bring the aggregate scores back level once again.

Crucially, a Richie Worrall race win for Somerset in heat 14, this after race partner, guest rider Jonas B Andersen had been excluded in the initial running of the race, kept things level as far as the overall tie was concerned, with the final heat to go.

It was, unfortunately for the Somerset camp, to be the proverbial race too far for the Rebels as the Glasgow duo of Aaron Summers and Richard Lawson secured the all-important race advantage to give the Tigers victory on the day 49-41 and that 2-point aggregate win to take them through to the Grand Final where they will meet local rivals, the Edinburgh Monarchs, who are the defending Premier League Champions.

“The boys gave it everything this afternoon, and whilst we are obviously disappointed to have lost out on a 4th successive Grand Final by the narrowest of margins, you cannot fault the team for their efforts,” said Somerset team manager Garry May, “I know that many people didn’t give us much of a hope of defending our 6-point 1st leg lead, but the boys rode their hearts out to not only defend it, but to take things to a last heat decider.”

“In the cold light of day when we sit down and look back on the season as a whole, although we have missed out on making it through to the Final for the Championship itself, we do have the KO Cup Final win to our name, and we have finished runners-up in the league table, the Pairs and the Fours as well as making it through to the semi-finals of the Play-Offs, and so the team can look back on the season with justifiable pride.”

“Congratulations to Glasgow on making it through to the Grand Final, but having missed out on this year’s Final after contesting the previous three and winning the Championship in 2013, it has only gone to make us doubly determined to bring the League Championship trophy back to the Oaktree Arena in 2016!”

GLASGOW 49: James Sarjeant 16+2, Aaron Summers 14+1, Richard Lawson 9, Nick Morris 7, Hynek Stichauer 2+1, Victor Palovaara 1+1, Kauko Nieminen 0.

SOMERSET 41: Brady Kurtz 10, Richie Worrall 10, Charles Wright 6+2, Josh Grajczonek 6, Jonas B Andersen 5, Paul Starke 4+2, Danny Ayres 0.

Glasgow win 91-89 on aggregate.

Picture: IAN ADAM

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