Reading slipped to a 48-41 Premier Trophy defeat on Friday night at Somerset, which leaves them a mountain to climb if they wish to qualify for the semi-finals. Reading's have given themselves some hope of at least picking up the
aggregate bonus point in the return match on Monday at Smallmead Stadium (7.30pm), but have left themselves with a lot of hard work to do in their remaining fixtures if they are to progress to the Premier Trophy semi-finals.

Things got off to a fairly even start with 3-3 drawn heats for the opening two races, but the Rebels got their noses in front with a 4-2 in heat three when veteran Neil Collins and former Racer Glenn Cunningham defeated Racers
pair Phil Morris and Andrew Appelton.

The Racers levelled the scores with a 4-2 of their own in heat four when Matej Zagar won his first race of the night over Paul Fry, and team-mate Chris Mills beat Rebels reserve Simon Walker for third place.

Things got better for the Euphony Racers in heat five when a 4-2 put them in front at 16-14. Danny Bird made an excellent start leading Cunningham from tapes to flag and Schramm rode a fantastic four laps to hold on to third
place ahead of the experienced Collins.

Heat five was a disaster for Reading. Zagar suffered an engine failure at the tapes, and reserve Steve Braidford also suffered the mechanical gremlins on the third lap to gift the Rebels pair of John Jorgensen and Matt Read a 5-0, to put the home side back in front at 19-16.

Heat seven was shared at 3-3, but Reading had a little bit of luck when Read fell whilst challenging Chris Mills for third place. Rebels reserve Jamie Smith who was in great form all night won the heat ahead of Schramm and Mills, which left the scores at 25-22 with seven heats remaining.

Zagar won heat nine for Reading ahead of Cunningham and Collins, but Euphony Racers teenage reserve Braidford is proving a real find for the Berkshire club, as he had a great battle for a couple of laps with Collins and made
him work very hard for his third place.

Appleton suffered a tapes exclusion at the start of heat ten, forcing team manager Ivan Shears to draft in Mills as a replacement. Jorgensen shot from the tapes for a comfortable win for Somerset, but with partner Read falling
again, this time on the first bend, the Racers pair of Morris and Mills were able to get Reading another shared heat to leave the scores at 31-28 with five heats to go.

The Euphony Racers clawed the scores back to a single point as a result of a 4-2 in heat eleven. Bird and Schramm took advantage of a good first corner,
before Fry eventually passed Schramm for second place, with Smith bringing up the rear.

With just one point separating the two teams Reading must have been thinking of a late fight-back to possibly win the match. Unfortunately for the Racers, Rebels pair Collins and trump-card reserve Smith shot from the tapes
in heat twelve and led Morris and Braidford all the way for a crucial 5-1.

Heat thirteen was shared with Jorgensen defeating Reading's big two of Zagar and Bird. But the match was won for Somerset with Smith featuring in another 5-1 in heat fourteen, this time with Cunningham, leaving Appleton well beaten in third place.

Euphony Racers salvaged some pride with Zagar and Bird securing a 4-2 in the final heat over Cunningham and Jorgensen, but it was not enough to stop their team going down to a final score of 48-41.

 

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