SOMERSET REBELS 49 STOKE POTTERS 43
Stoke Potters won 95-92 on aggregate
IN a tight and tense match, Rebels bowed out of the Young Shield against a battling Stoke Potters side.
The Rebels went into the match with a nine-point deficit, following a good understrength performance at Loomer Road the previous Saturday.
The opening four heats of this renewal were all shared, with Jason Bunyan taking the opening heat after coming from behind a fast-starting Simon Walker, with a neat inside move on the opening bend of lap two. Steve Johnston took an easy third place to share the points.
Justin Sedgmen took the win in heat two after Craig Branney had led him to the back straight following a level break.
Emil Kramer missed the Loomer Road leg after aggravating an old back injury but was back to take the win in his opening ride.
With a fast start off the inside gate he was away and gone, winning with some ease. Jari Mäkinen recovered from a slow start to give Lee Complin a hard time for the final three laps of the race but he could not find a way by.
The Potters made it two heat wins from four races when Tom Madsen took heat four from Cory Gathercole. Madsen gated and led on a slick track that suited him down to the ground, and with the outside offering Gathercole no assistance, Madsen rode a fine race to hold off the rampaging Aussie.
The Rebels finally broke the deadlock in heat five when Kramer added his second win of the night, with Bunyan the nearest challenger and Makinen taking third.
In the following heat the Rebels repeated the dose, with Steve Johnston taking the win.
Robert Ksiezak just led off the opening turn and attempted to clamp Johno to the kerb, but the experienced Rebels skipper forced his way through the inside to lead off the next.
Walker was all over Ksiezak's back wheel for the whole race, switching in and out to find an opening that never came.
The Rebels extended their lead to eight points as they took their only 5-1 advantage of the night in heat seven.
Klaus Jakobsen made the start to lead on the opening bend, clamping Gathercole to the kerb. However, he was soon under pressure from the exciting Victorian and by the second bend Gathercole was through the inside to lead.
Sedgmen overcame a slow start and a rough ride around the opening turn to grab third place from Complin and repeat the move to take second from Jakobsen and give the Rebels a full house.
Walker took his customary heat eight win with a storming run around the outside of Jesper Kristiansen and Madsen to thwart a Potter 5-1.
The Potters held the Rebels for the next four heats, taking them to heat 12 without any further loss.
Heat 13 saw the Rebels extend their lead to 10 points, with Johnston coming over the top of Bunyan on the opening turn to stop the Milton Keynes racer's run.
Gathercole attempted to make it a full house for the Rebels but his outside swoop was stopped as Ksiezak moved wide to block his run and hold him off until the final lap.
John Woolridge, as expected, took the only chance he would have to use the tactical move, but his choice of the wearer of the black and white came as a shock to most watching.
With Madsen sitting on an eight-point total, he seemed the obvious choice with the prevailing track conditions, so it came as a big surprise that Complin was chosen to take the ride, especially as he had returned only one point from his three rides.
A surprise it might have been, but the moved worked as Complin flew from the gates to lead from Kramer at the opening turn. Sedgmen took third place as he moved passed Madsen at the first bend.
Kramer chased Complin and was in front as they moved wide at the end of the second lap. Sedgmen, who had been right on terms at the time, could not find his way past and as the race ran to the final stages, Madsen repeated his heat eight move, once again nipping up the inside of Sedgmen on the third turn to turn a shared heat into a Potters advantage, and reducing the deficit back to eight points.
So the whole tie came down to a last-heat decider, with the Rebels now needing a heat advantage to progress to the next round and any other result allowing the Potters to move on to the semi-final stage.
Johnston and Kramer were nominated for the Rebels, with Bunyan and Madsen taking the track for the Potters.
Madsen continued with his great night's work as he flew from the traps to lead Kramer, who took the outside route, and was putting in a huge effort, but as the Dane stuck to the inside line, Kramer's mammoth efforts were finding no reward.
Johnston was also on Madsen's case as he challenged on the inside, having no more luck than Kramer.
The Rebels despair was completed when Bunyan came with a late inside run to take third, giving the Potters a final heat advantage to take the tie by an aggregate margin of just three points.
The Rebels' end-of-season presentation evening takes place on October 30.