LEICESTER 48 REBELS 42 (AGG: LEICESTER 89 SOMERSET 91)

Saturday April 15, 2017
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 'Case'" Somerset Rebels eventually qualifying for the semi-finals in the most dramatic of fashions.

Holding a first leg advantage of 8 points, the Rebels had to dig deep to prevent that being wiped out too early at Leicester, the home side beginning with back-to-back 4-2 advantages, but the two JG's - Grajczonek and Graversen recovered that with a heat 4 5-1 after Leicester guest Nick Morris had fallen.

The Rebels were protecting that first leg advantage and even went ahead on the night when an inspired switch of reserves by Garry May saw Jake Allen support Paul Starke's guest stand in Nicolai Klindt to a 5-1 as the Rebels led 25-23.

But 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.

Team manager Garry May admitted "I thought that was it at that stage, I must admit but Jan (Graversen) put in a great stint in heat 14 with a third place to support the win from Paddy (Patrick Hougaard) and that levelled things up completely. But then to see heat 15 turn out the way it did was just incredible".

Lions' number one Kim Nilsson pulled clear of the pack in that 15th heat, the 30th of the tie, and despite Grajczonek chasing hard with ex-Rebel Morris in third place it looked as though his point would knock the Rebels out. Until the final lap when Grajczonek drove up the inside of Nilsson and suddenly a replay looked the only outcome, but disaster struck Nilsson as he suffered a puncture and pulled up, gifting the Rebels the 4-2 advantage and an aggregate 91-89 victory.

"You can't help feeling it for Kim", admitted a jubilant May afterwards "I thought we had lost it to be honest then started believing when Josh passed him that we were going to have to go through another 30 heats but speedway can be a ruthless sport and on this occasion we benefitted.

Final Score: Leicester 48 (89) v Somerset 42 (91)

LEICESTER - 48: N. Morris 10+1 (FD,3,3,2',2), K. Nilsson 9 (1,2,3,3,R), J. Bates 7+1 (3,1,1,2',0), E. Riss 7 (3,0,2,2), K. Gomolski 7+1 (0,3,1',3), L. Bjerre 6+2 (3,1',0,2'), D. Ayres 2 (1,1,F)

SOMERSET - 42: J. Grajczonek 13 (3,3,3,1,3), P. Hougaard 8 (2,2,FD,3,1), N. Klindt 7+1 (2,1',3,1), J. Allen 6+1 (2,0,2',0,2), J. Graversen 3+1(0,2',1), C. Wright 3+2 (1',R,1,1'), R. Tungate 2 (0,2,0,R).

Picture: STEVE DIXON


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