Somerset Rebels beat Leicester Lions to reach Premier League play-off final
Cases Somerset Rebels have booked their place in the grand final of the Premier League play-offs after tonight's 54-39 win over Leicester Lions.
The Rebels needed to win by seven points or more at the Oaktree Arena to be sure of advancing to the final, but two 5-1 wins in the final two heats made sure of it in emphatic style.
The final score also made the match seem more one-sided than it actually was, with the Lions making Somerset work hard for their points all evening.
Three of the opening five heats were shared, while the Rebels took the other two 4-2 to take an early 17-13 lead after four heats.
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Leicester claimed their first heat advantage in the seventh outing, with Jan Graversen and Linus Eklof combing for a 4-2. They had been on for a 5-1, but Claus Vissing forced his way past Eklof to pocket the two points for Rebels.
The hosts struck two telling blows with back-to-back 5-1 wins in heats nine and ten.
Jesper Monberg and James Wright claimed the first of the maximums, despite Wright starting 15m back after picking up another warning for moving at the start line. Magnus Karlsson joined him 15m back after breaking the start tapes.
Jason Doyle and Alex Davies then quickly repeated the 5-1 heroics to put the Rebels 36-24 up.
Leicester wasted no time in employing a tactical ride, and captain Kauko Nieminen made the most of it in heat 11. He won and helped the Lions to a 7-2. Kyle Newman's bike packed in at the first corner, but Vissing reduced the damage by advancing from third to second.
Two shared heats followed, with Rebels captain Doyle producing a stunning ride in heat 13 after Vissing retired with a mechanical failure.
The skipper was forced wide in the first corner, but raced around the outside of Lions duo Karlsson and Nieminen in a brave move to turn a potential 5-1 loss into a 3-3.
It was a telling blow, and the seven-point win needed was all but assured after Wright and Newman gained a maximum win in heat 14.
Doyle and Davies repeated the feat in heat 15, with the impressive Doyle finishing the night on 13 points.
The Rebels will be in action at Leicester for their final play-off group game today, before returning to the Oaktree Arena next Friday, October 19.
The match and the opposition will be announced shortly.