Rockets put in a decent home performance to get over their poor result against Somerset

The Silver Ski Rockets restored much-needed pride after the previous weekend’s nightmare against Somerset by securing a ten point first leg advantage in a 50-40 Knock-Out Cup victory over Glasgow on Saturday night.

The portents were not good beforehand. Already forced to operate a National League guest (Ben Morley) as cover for Mathieu Tresarrieu, who was committed to a European Grasstrack Championship round in Germany, team manager John Sampford had to quickly draft in a further National Leaguer in Brendan Johnson following an injury to Stefan Nielsen. The double British U-19 champion was involved in a heavy crash with James Sarjeant while riding in a Fast-Track role at Coventry on Friday, and is also now questionable for Monday’s British Final at Wolverhampton.

Cometh the hour, however, cometh the man. In this case, cometh the men. The side rose tremendously to the task, with Steve Boxall and Luke Bowen perhaps the biggest heroes. Both have struggled for points recently but combined here for 19 (paid 21) – and also worked perfectly together as a tandem with two 5-1s and a 4-2. The pick of the bunch came in a Heat 5 where Bowen bustled past both visiting No.1 Kevin Wölbert and Christian Henry in a single movement to join Boxall at the front and lift the Rockets to a 19-11 cushion at a stage where it looked as though the Tigers’ containing job would win through.

Mention must also be made of stand-in Ben Morley, handed the difficult No.2 race jacket. The 20 year old responded with a crucial 5 points, including a vital Heat 8 victory over the vastly experienced Henry and Andre Compton.

The Rockets were also left to feel a little hard done by after a Heat 13 incident that left them robbed of a potential 5-1. Edward Kennett and Jason Garrity made the gate ahead of Wölbert and Theo Pijper, only for the latter to fall and remain down on the circuit. Referee Willie Dishington was left with little option but to halt the race, with the crowd equally unamused by the Dutchman’s suddenly restored ability to shift himself and his machinery as soon as the red lights had come on. They remained unhappy when Wölbert took the win in the re-run to save a 3-3.

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Rye House promoter Len Silver, however, focused on the positives after the match. “Glasgow were a hard team to beat, but I am really proud of the way the team responded to the challenge and the position of adversity they were in.

“What pleased me most was seeing Steve (Boxall) and Luke (Bowen) back on form. The race win from Ben (Morley) was also criticla. I went to him before the heat and said, “You’ve got a real chance to beat these guys, but you’ve got to stay up by the fence for four laps,” which he did.”

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Whether a ten point cushion is enough will be determined in the second leg at Ashield this evening (Sunday). The Rockets will have Ben Hopwood in place for the missing Tresarrieu, with Danny Phillips covering for Nielsen.

Rye House: Steve Boxall 11+1 (5 rides), Edward Kennett 9+1 (5), Jason Garrity 9 (4), Luke Bowen 8+1 (4), Jason Bunyan 8+1 (5), Ben Morley (guest) 5 (4), Brendan Johnson (guest) 0 (3)

Glasgow: Anders Thomsen 13+1 (5 rides), Kevin Wölbert 8 (5), Rusty Harrison 6 (4), Theo Pijper 5 (4), Andre Compton 4+3 (5), Christian Henry 2 (4), Marc Owen (guest) 2 (3)

The Raiders made it a Rye House one-two in Knock-Out Cup action on Saturday night as they took an 18-17 MDL Cup win over Milton Keynes in the six heat fixture that followed the main event. The success, which was littered by falls, gave them an aggregate 39-32 victory over the Knights following a 21-15 victory in the away leg.

Rye House: Jason Garrad 9 (4 rides), Luke Harris 5+2 (4), Rob Watts 4+2 (4)

Milton Keynes: Shaun Tedham 6+2 (3 rides), Rikki Mullins 6 (3), Jack Kingston 3 (3), Niall Strudwick 2 (3)

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