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Somerset 52 Comets 38 (KO Cup, 1st leg)
Photo by Dave Payne
Sat 07 May 2016 by Comets Press Office
The Comets headed back up north with a 14-point deficit after the first leg of this KO Cup tie against last year's winners Somerset following an absorbing first leg at the Oak Tree Arena on Friday evening.
The Comets went into the meeting without skipper Ricky Wells, who had reported sick early that morning. However, thay were fortunate to be able to get Newcastle's Steve Worrall to stand in as a guest at short notice and he proved to be a valuable addition for the Comets.

A perfect start to the match saw Steve Worrall and Rasmus Jensen race to a 5-1 in the opening race, although the tables were turned in heat 2 when the Rebels recorded the same score in the re-run.

At the first time of asking Matt Williamson and Zach Wajtknecht collided on the first turn with both riders coming to grief. All four back seemed the likely outcome but unforunately referee Mike Posselwhite excluded Matt, which was considered to be very harsh by members of both camps. Typically at the time of the stoppage Adam Roynon was leading the race but in the re-run he was clamped to the kerb by Bradley Wilson-Dean and that allowed Wajtknecht to go round the outside and into the lead.

A Rebels 5-1 from Paul Starke and guest Kyle Howarth put Somerset in front for the first time but a Comets 4-2 in heat 4, with Claus looking spectacular out in front, halved that lead.

The next two heats were shared, with impressive reserve Bradley Wilson-Dean replacing Howarth (excluded for tape touching) and then winning heat 5 before Claus won heat 6 in style once again, defeating Rebels number one Josh Grajczonek in the process.

But, with Wilson-Dean excluded after falling when exiting turn turn two on the opening lap of heat 7 Kenneth won the re-run with Mason coming home third to level the scores at 21 points apiece.

Jake Allen took the chequered flag in heat 8 from Rasmus but with Wilson-Dean claiming third place the Rebels edged ahead 25-23 as there then was a break for track grading.

Following the track grade the Rebels claimed a 5-1 in heat 9 as Starke and Howarth relegated the hitherto unbeaten Claus to third place. Then, another advantage in heat 10 put the Rebels eight points in front as Grajczonek led Kenneth home after Jake Allen developed bike problems on the third lap when in second place. As Allen slowed he was first passed by Kenneth and then was chased down by Mason, who just missed out on third place by half a wheel at the chequered flag.

Former Comet Charles Wright took the chequered flag in heat 11 while Steve Worrall had to start from a 15 metre handicap after touching the tapes. Kenneth claimed his second race win of the night when he won heat 12 in great style as the teams went into the interval with the Rebels 40-32 ahead.

After further track grading during the interval the Rebels extended their advantage with three successive 4-2's, although for three laps heat 14 looked like a shared heat until Paul Starke passed race-leader Mason at the end of lap three.

'CASES' SOMERSET REBELS 52:
Josh Grajczonek 12, Jake Allen 5+1, Kyle Howarth (guest for Rohan Tungate) 5+3, Paul Starke 10, Charles Wright 8, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+1, Zach Wajtknecht 3.

WORKINGTON 'THOMAS ARMSTRONG' COMETS 38
Steve Worrall (guest for Ricky Wells) 10+1, Rasmus Jensen 7+2, Kenneth Hansen 9, Mason Campton 3, Claus Vissing 7, Adam Roynon 1, Matt Williamson 1.

Referee: Mike Posselwhite
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Last Updated :  Tue 10 May 2016, 21:10 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall