Somerset Rebels’ Oaktree Arena has held few fears for Edinburgh Monarchs in recent seasons, but the Capital speedway outfit felt the heat in humid conditions in their Premier League clash on Wednesday night as the Rebels coasted to a convincing 57-35 victory to maintain their unbeaten home record in style.
The Rebels have been nigh on invincible in 2016, but Monarchs’ hopes of getting off to a strong start crumbled when they surrendered a 5-1 in the opening race, and after conceding a brace of 4-2s Monarchs were suddenly 13-5 down after just three races. And it got no better in the next race when the home side secured another 4-2 advantage to stretch their lead to ten points and Monarchs’ win in front of the Sky cameras in the corresponding fixture a year ago seemed a distant memory.
Skipper Sam Masters was handed a double-points tactical outing for Monarchs in the fifth race in an attempt to put the brakes on the dominant Rebels, who were in danger of running riot.
And Masters, a former Rebels rider, came up trumps to win the race and with Mark Riss in third place, the 7-2 haul slashing Monarchs arrears to just five points. But Monarchs’ joy was short-lived as the Rebels slammed in a 5-1 in heat 6 against Kevin Wolbert and Max Clegg to take control again 24-15. And with Monarchs top four short of race wins at this stage, the Rebels were simply not placed under any degree of pressure.
Monarchs were now battling for their collective lives as the Rebels, displaying scant mercy, secured their third 5-1 of the night in heat nine for a 35-22 lead. And after Ryan Fisher suffered what looked a puncture in the tenth race which handed the Rebels a further 5-1, it was all over for Monarchs as the home side surged towards the winning line as they led 40-23. A 4-2 in heat 11 for the rampant Rebels gave them a virtually unassailable 44-25 advantage.
And they duly clinched the match with three races to go after sharing the twelfth race 3-3.
Fisher suffered an ankle injury in a crash in heat 14 and could be out of Thursday’s trip to Sheffield Tigers.
Somerset: Tungate 15, Allen 11, Grajczonek 11, Starke 9, Wlson-Dean 7, Shanes 4.
Monarchs: Masters 13,E. Riss 6, Bewley 6, Fisher 5, M. Riss 3, Wolbert 1, Clegg 1.