THE Somerset Rebels had a night to forget as they went down 54-38 to Newcatsle and saw two of their septet make early withdrawals from the match due to injury.
The meeting started relatively well for the Rebels as although Nick Morris was excluded for an incident in the opening heat, the reserve duo of Todd Kurtz and Paul Starke combined for a 5-1 in heat two to put Somerset into an early 2-point lead.
That, however, was to be as good as it got for Somerset as first team captain Olly Allen took a heavy fall in his first ride, forcing his withdrawal from the meeting due to a suspected dislocated shoulder.
With Nick Morris and Brady Kurtz having very much ‘off’ nights, things went from bad to worse for Somerset when their Swedish rider, Pontus Aspgren, collided with Newcastle’s Lewis Rose in heat 10 - Aspgren was to join team-mate Allen on the ‘injury side-lines’ with concussion and a minor hand injury as a consequence of the incident.
Bereft of two out their top three riders, it now became a case of damage limitation for the Rebels - and excellent performances from Charles Wright together with the reserve pairing of Todd Kurtz and Paul Starke were the mainstay of Somerset’s rear-guard action.
Although Morris was to end his night by taking five points from his final two rides, the match was already well beyond the Rebels, who will be anxiously waiting for updates on Allen and Aspgren’s conditions ahead of their next match at home to Glasgow on Friday night.
“It was one of those night when everything seemed to conspire against us,” said Somerset team manager Garry May afterwards, “To lose a rider of Olly’s abilities as early as heat 4 is bad enough, but to then also have Pontus force to withdraw as well later in the meeting was just too much for us to contend with.”
“At this stage of things it is too early to say how long, if at all, either of the two boys will be out for, I’ll probably have a clearer picture in the next 24 hours or so of how they are both feeling in relation to Friday’s match against Glasgow and then again at Plymouth on Saturday evening.”