Somerset Rebels miss out on Premier League title by one point at Scunthorpe Scorpions
Cases Somerset Rebels missed out on the Premier League title by the narrowest of margins at Scunthorpe Scorpions last night, losing on aggregate by just one point.
A nail-biting Grand Final decider went all the way to the final heat, with the Rebels needing a 4-2 win to lift the silverware after the home side wiped out their five-point advantage from Friday night's first leg.
It wasn't to be for Somerset, though, as Scunthorpe got the 3-3 they needed to seal a 92-91 aggregate win.
Jesper B Monberg did all he could by winning the all-important final heat for the Rebels, but Richard Hall - in as a last-minute replacement for the injured Craig Cook - could not get in front of Nick Morris or Josh Auty.
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It was a heartbreaking end to an enthralling meeting for the battling Rebels.
Scunthorpe drew first blood with a 5-1 win in heat two, following a shared opener, but the Rebels hit back immediately with a maximum of their own through James Wright and Monberg in heat three.
Back-to-back 3-3s were then followed by 5-1 and 4-2 heat wins for the Scorpions as they went ahead 24-18 on the night, and also got their noses in front overall for the first time.
In that seventh heat, Wright had been excluded for touching the start tape and his replacement, Lewis Kerr, fell in the re-run.
Kyle Newman was then excluded in heat eight for clipping a Scunthorpe wheel and causing a stoppage, but Alex Davies won the re-run to keep it at 3-3.
Heat nine had two restarts, each time with all four back, and Claus Vissing and Newman made the most of it by bagging a 5-1 and restoring Somerset's aggregate lead.
That three-point overall advantage didn't last long. The Scorpions won the next two heats 4-2 and led 36-30 on the night after 11 heats - 80-79 to the hosts on aggregate.
The twists and turns kept coming.
The Rebels won heat 12 4-2 to regain their one-point overall lead, but Scunthorpe snatched it back with a 4-2 of their own in heat 13.
With just two heats to go, it was finely poised with Scunthorpe leading 86-85 - 42-36 on the night.
The drama continued to build in heat 14 when Scorpions rider Ashley Birks fell on the second lap and was excluded from the re-run. Newman then touched the tapes at the restart and had to start from 15m.
Newman and Wright weren't able to get past Michael Palm Toft in the second re-run, so it ended 3-3 and sent everything down to the final heat.
At 89-88 in the home side's favour, a draw in heat 15 would have been good enough, while the Rebels needed at least a 4-2.
Josh Auty and Nick Morris went for the hosts, while Hall and Monberg were handed the Rebels responsibilities.
Although Monberg won it - seeing him finish as top Rebels scorer with 10+1 - the Scorpions duo held firm to bank the three points they needed to be sure of winning the Premier League crown.