ON THIS DAY.....MAY 14TH 2016

Wednesday May 13, 2020
Four years ago on this date, May 14th, the Cases Somerset Rebels secured their progress into the quarter final stages of the 2016 Premier league knockout cup when they completed the first round elimination of the Workington Comets.

Having built up a first leg advantage of fourteen points eight days previous, the Rebels finished the aggregate success in some style with a second leg triumph.

Of their previous 20 visits to Derwent Park the Rebels had only once tasted success in Cumbria but Josh Grajczonek quickly laid out the Rebels intentions as he flew by Ricky Wells and recorded the fastest time of the season hitherto in the process.

That win, supported by a third place from Jake Allen set the early tone and after three heats had been completed the home side were still seeking their first winner of the night and were facing an aggregate deficit of 22 points knowing there were only twelve heats left for them to turn things around.

Claus Vissing, a 31-match appearance Rebel from 2012 was acutely aware of the need for some radical acion and with partner Matt Williamson in tow clocked a 5-1 for the Comets in heat four. The Rebels were content enough with three shared heats that then followed as it served to consume heats and not eat in to the aggregate advantage.

What they didn’t want to see though was Bradley Wilson-Dean jettisoning into the air fence in heat eight when his bike seized and forks collapsed. At the time he was doing an excellent job of splitting the Comets and even sensing a win of his own but the last bend incident enabled the home side to go square on the night. The tie though still looked to them a forlorn hope as the Rebels maintained that fourteen point advantage from the first leg and now there were just seven heats left to defend it for.

Workington headed the meeting for the first time when, in heat nine, Kenneth Hansen and Williamson combined for a 4-2 advantage over Rohan Tungate and Zach Wajtknecht but there was no need for too much concern in the Rebels corner of the pits, even less when Paul Starke rode a superb heat 10 to pass Wells to share another heat.

Although behind marginally on the night, the important fact for the Rebels was that they held an 81-69 advantage with just five heats remaining. Within a further two heats they had first levelled the night's scores then inched into a two point lead of their own, a situation that confirmed they were in the quarter finals.

When they made it three 4-2's in-a-row , visit twenty was looking ever more likely to end in a second leg triumph and Starke's heat fourteen split of Adam Roynon and Mason Campton meant the Rebels were only a second place from achieving that as they led 43-41 on the night. But why settle for second when, if you are Josh Grajczonek, you can win the heat? And in fine Josh-like style he did just that and the Rebels celebrated a 46-44 victory, 98-82.

This was a cup victory that tasted good , just as the one eight years earlier and still today those two meetings remain the only occasions when a Somerset side has prevailed in Workington.

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