Somerset Rebels 63, Sheffield Tigers 28: Rebels show play-off credentials
Cases Somerset Rebels reaffirmed their play-off credentials with a crushing 63-28 defeat of Sheffield Tigers in the Premier League last night.
The Tigers could manage only two heat advantages all night at the Oaktree Arena - a 4-3 win in heat eight thanks to Hugh Skidmore's tactical ride, and a 4-2 win in heat 11.
Meanwhile, the Rebels battered their opponents with no fewer than nine 5-1 victories out of the 15 heats.
Both captain Jason Doyle - riding with a jaw injury following a fall in Poland last Sunday - and Alex Davies secured paid maximums for the hosts, and there were also strong showings from Jesper B Monberg (10+2), James Wright (10+1) and Claus Vissing (10+1).
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Doyle and Davies got things off to a perfect start with the first 5-1 in heat one, and another maximum followed in heat three when Monberg tore past Richard Hall on the line to take second behind Wright.
The Monberg-Wright combination produced another 5-1 in the fifth heat, as did the top two of Doyle and Davies in heat six - nullifying the threat of Sheffield's first tactical ride with Ricky Wells.
Wells gained no extra points with the black and white helmet cover and, after six heats, the Tigers found themselves 26-10 down.
Skidmore's tactical temporarily reversed the slide. Although Davies won heat eight from the Tigers' Joe Haines, Skidmore finished ahead of Tom Perry and doubled his one point for a 3-4 Sheffield heat win.
The Rebels responded with back-to-back 5-1s, firstly with Monberg and Wright - despite the latter starting 15m back following a start-line infringement - and then through Doyle and Davies.
Monberg and Perry gained another 5-1 in heat 12, followed immediately by one from Doyle and Vissing.
Doyle and Davies were given the honours in heat 15, and rounded off the meeting in typically dominant fashion for the Rebels.
Skipper Doyle made the start, but Davies had to force his way past Skidmore to clinch the 5-1 and wrap up an emphatic 63-28 success.
The Rebels have just one regular Premier League match left, when Workington Comets visit the Oaktree Arena at Highbridge next Friday (7.30pm). After that, it will be the action and excitement of the play-offs.