REPORT Friday 21st September 2007, 10:00pm
The Scotwaste Monarchs overcame a wet track and Somerset Rebels to give themselves a chance of Young Shield qualification.
The track was very wet after rain in the morning and again in late afternoon, and this certainly had an effect on the match. In spite of the conditions the match was not a dull one, and it was interesting to see who could cope with the conditions and who could not.
On the home side the biggest struggler was Derek Sneddon. Derek just could not stay upright, constantly finding himself in awkward positions. He fell four times during the evening and looked thoroughly unhappy.
Simon Walker and Danny Warwick were strugglers too, though all three of these riders contributed to the entertainment.
The match started predictably with Zetterstrom winning heat 1. Simon Walker was excluded at the first attempt, sweeping across the turn as three riders came off. It seemed a harsh exclusion.
There was carnage on the first turn of heat 2 also ? Katajisto made a good start but didn?t turn, trapped on the line by Frampton, and down they all came again.
The Rebels pair gated in the rerun but guest Paul Clews was soon past Warwick and pressing Frampton. Frampton held on in spite of the strong challenge to put the Rebels ahead.
Clews and Frampton renewed their rivalry in heat 3 as rider replacements, behind race winner Kaj Laukkanen, and again Frampton won the duel with Clews.
Three rides in a row for Clews, he partnered Matthew to a heat 4 5-1 over Hawkins, and it was already obvious that our guest reserve had an important part to play.
Zetterstrom beat Laukkanen in heat 5, and it was a disappointing outing for Katajisto who had chances to pass the struggling Walker but didn?t take them.
We can usually rely on the Stancl/Sneddon pair to provide some advantages, but in spite of a good start to heat 6 Derek got into an awkward place outside Hawkins and Frampton, and fell on the pits bend trying to ride out of trouble. Stancl won it, but no advantage.
Zetterstrom took his rider replacement ride in heat 7 and beat Wethers, with Katt third ahead of Katajisto and we were level at 21-21.
Heat 8 didn?t look good with another fall for Sneddon. Warwick led from Clews with Frampton third, but when Clews passed Warwick, the Rebels? no. 7 fell in a rash attempt to regain the lead. With Sneddon back on board, the heat was stopped and awarded as a 4-2 to Monarchs.
Clews now had paid 9 but he fell early in heat 10, another win for Laukkanen.
Derek finally managed to do 4 laps without falling, hanging on to beat Katt in heat 10 with Stancl winning from Hawkins.
With Zetterstrom in heat 11 we knew what to expect ? only it didn?t happen! Matthew took him leaving the first corner and raced ahead, only for Walker to fall on the pits corner. He rose but didn?t move off the track, and the race was stopped, much to the displeasure of the home fans.
But did Matthew not do it again in the rerun! The same move took him ahead off the second bend, and by cleverly hugging the inside he blocked the most likely passing line and scored a great win.
Kalle took the third and we were six up. Kaj won heat 12 but Clews fell again, which at least avoided a Zorro TR in heat 13.
It looked as though we might beat Zetterstrom again as Wethers and Stancl led him into the pits bend, but Hawkins had come off at the previous corner and showed no inclination to move. He was quickly up after the stoppage, and this time Zetterstrom did take advantage. An annoying sequence of events, but the referee is powerless other than to fine anyone he thinks is malingering.
Derek fell yet again in heat 14, as Katt and Warwick went ahead. Clews was quickly into second, but the race was stopped with Derek this time not clearing the track. It did look as though revenge for earlier incidents might have been a factor.
Warwick then fell and also earned an exclusion, so that just about ensured the win before Clews finally won the second rerun from Katt.
The last heat was another Zetterstrom stroll so the final score was 48-41, and we await other results to see if we are to make the Young Shield.