Tuesday October 01, 2019
Two key maximum heat advantages from the division's Best Pair served to distort the score from this first leg of the play-off semi-final to some extent, as Somerset looked for the best part of the meeting, a good match for the Tigers.

From the moment Anders Rowe had the audacity to put Craig Cook under real pressure in the opening heat the signs were there that the Rebels were here to try and do at least a containing job on the home side, although with the home reserves clocking up maximum points in heat two Somerset were thereafter left playing catch-up.

Nick Morris tried hard to reel in Claus Vissing in heat three but with Nico Covatti a comfortable third place the shared heat was a decent result for the Rebels, as too was Rory Schlein's hard-earned heat four victory, helped by a splendid get-away, but had to spend most of the distance fending off the interests of Rasmus Jensen with sheer intent. A neat pass by Chris Harris on Cook in the opening lap was matched by Rowe's clever move on Sam Jensen a turn later and the visitors were celebrating a heat gain, and the scores closed to 16-14.

Schlein and Cook endured a fierce but fair tussle with them both sharing time out front, but crucially the man there when the flag dropped was in Somerset's colours and the heat was drawn. Things looked bleak in the early part of heat 7 as the Tigers gated on a 5-1 but Morris was able to get by Bailey in the closing phase of lap two before the Tigers' reserve slid off gifting Covatti a paid second place, consequently, another shared heat.

Rowe was sublime in heat eight as he used plenty of skill and sense to make a move on leader Kyle Bickley on the third lap and take up the initiative, but his teammate Luke Harris had been left on the start with no power firing through his machine as he dropped the clutch. The talking point of the meeting followed when Vissing and Sam Jensen combining to block out Rory Schlein's 'throw-it-all-in' attack, looked to have been split by Aussie but somehow the referee viewed it that he was still behind the home pair when they crossed the line, so instead of conceding a 4-2 the Rebels dropped four points to the Tigers, slumping to 30-24. Morris and Covatti did their best to try and recover that result but Cook was too hot to handle and as he came out the final turn of the second lap Cook had found the speed and the line to take him by Covatti, and apply pressure on Morris. Determined not to allow the Tigers' number one from saving the heat, Morris fought doggedly and the Rebels were celebrating their second heat advantage of the evening and with just five heats remaining trailed only by four (32-28).

The first heat of the final third was shared equally, as too was, in the end ,heat twelve, despite both Morris and Nathan Stoneman outgating the home pair. So, with the meeting delicately poised at 38-34, Chris Harris received a warning for jumping the start in heat 13. Once recalled, it was the Tigers who both made the running and quickly sealed off Schlein's progress to put Glasgow into a 43-35 lead. Covatti made the start in the penultimate heat and had, until Connor Bailey managed to overhaul a battling Luke Harris, been sitting on another 4-2 but Bailey's pass converted it into a shared heat, thus retaining that 8 point difference.

Schlein fought tooth and nail to try and protect that margin, outgating both Rasmus Jensen and Cook but the might of that Best Pair prevailed and instead of leaving Ashfield with just single points between the two sides, the journey back to Somerset was spent trying to work out just how the Rebels can pull a deficit of 12 points back in Wednesday's concluding leg.

C.Cook,3,2,2,2',2'=11+2 (5)
M.Andersen,0,1',1',NS=2+2 (3)
C.Vissing,3,2,3,1'=9+1 (4)
S.Jensen,0,0,2',2=4+1 (4)
R.Jensen,2,3,3,3,3=14 (5)
C.Bailey,2',F,0,0,1'=3+2 (5)
K.Bickley,3,1',2,2=8+1 (4)
C.Harris,2,3,2,0=7 (4)
A.Rowe,1',1,3,1'=6+2 (4)
N.Morris,2,2,3,3,0=10 (5)
N.Covatti,1',1',1,3=6+2 (4)
R.Schlein,3,3,1,1,1=9 (5)
N.Stoneman,0,0,0,F=0 (4)
L.Harris,1,0,R,0=1 (4)
Ht 1: C.Cook, C.Harris, A.Rowe, M.Andersen, 3-3 3-3 [57.17]
Ht 2: K.Bickley, C.Bailey, L.Harris, N.Stoneman, 5-1 8-4 [58.37]
Ht 3: C.Vissing, N.Morris, N.Covatti, S.Jensen, 3-3 11-7 [57.88]
Ht 4: R.Schlein, R.Jensen, K.Bickley, L.Harris, 3-3 14-10 [57.28]
Ht 5: C.Harris, C.Vissing, A.Rowe, S.Jensen, 2-4 16-14 [57.67]
Ht 6: R.Schlein, C.Cook, M.Andersen, N.Stoneman, 3-3 19-17 [57.43]
Ht 7: R.Jensen, N.Morris, N.Covatti, C.Bailey, (fell) 3-3 22-20 [57.8]
Ht 8: A.Rowe, K.Bickley, M.Andersen, L.Harris, [rtd] 3-3 25-23 [58.49]
Ht 9: C.Vissing, S.Jensen, R.Schlein, N.Stoneman, 5-1 30-24 [58.93]
Ht 10: N.Morris, C.Cook, N.Covatti, C.Bailey, 2-4 32-28 [58.16]
Ht 11: R.Jensen, C.Harris, A.Rowe, C.Bailey, 3-3 35-31 [57.78]
Ht 12: N.Morris, K.Bickley, C.Vissing, N.Stoneman, (fell) 3-3 38-34 [58.4]
Ht 13: R.Jensen, C.Cook, R.Schlein, C.Harris, 5-1 43-35 [57.96]
Ht 14: N.Covatti, S.Jensen, C.Bailey, L.Harris, 3-3 46-38 [59.4]
Ht 15: R.Jensen, C.Cook, R.Schlein, N.Morris, 5-1 51-39 [ ]
REFEREE: Mr Michael Breckon
SOMERSET won toss and chose gates 1&3 | GLASGOW choose gates 1&3 in heat 15

Photos Taylor Lanning

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