Wednesday July 24, 2019
BIRMINGHAM bosses were keen to focus on the positives after a valiant effort saw them come up just short against title contenders Somerset.

The 47-43 loss may have been a sixth straight defeat for the injury-hit Edwards Plumbing Brummies and the two week break may have come at just the right time.

But a healthy crowd were treated to some entertaining races and the club were delighted their promotions paid off.

Team Manager Laurence Rogers said: “That was probably the most amount of children we’ve ever had at Birmingham and it was great to see so many families taking advantage of our Kids 11 and Under go free offer in the first of our summer holiday home fixtures.

“There were lots of football fans who took advantage of our local season ticket holder offer too and there were all different club colours on the terraces.

“I thought there was some cracking racing at times as well and all-in-all it wasn’t a bad night.

“The only real disappointment was the final result but I thought it was a decent effort from the boys.

“One or two things didn’t go our way here and there and the odd slip up cost us in the end.

“But for the club overall I think there is plenty to build on from this and for the team we now have a bit of time to regroup ahead of a busy August.”

The Rebels’ powerful top order were in dominant form as they limited the Brummies to just four race wins, with Rory Schlein and former Birmingham man Chris Harris proving particularly hard to beat.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the home side as Jason Garrity made an all-action debut, top-scoring with 13 points and winning his last two rides once sorting out some sluggish gating in the early stages.

Five of the first six heats were shared, the exception being the opening race in which the visitors notched a 4-2, but Heat 6 could have seen the hosts go ahead only for Harris to storm past both Steve Worrall and youngster Nick Agertoft to share the race with a 3-3.

And there was another turning point in the next race when Tero Aarnio slid off on turn four, allowing Somerset duo Valentin Grobauer and Nico Covatti to be awarded an unchallenged 5-1.

That left the Brummies six points down and they were frustrated by Todd Kurtz winning Heat 8, before Garrity displayed his pace by chasing down Harris in Heat 9 but being just unable to make a passing move.

Boss Laurence Rogers elected to use Garrity for a tactical substitute ride in Heat 11, but the fast-gating Schlein held sway in another shared race, before Brummies finally gained an advantage in the next as Garrity took the flag ahead of Grobauer.

But it wasn’t the 5-1 they really needed, and Somerset duly moved six-up again with a 4-2 of their own in Heat 13 as Worrall split Schlein and Harris, the latter dropping his first point of the night.

The Rebels only required a share of the points from Heat 14 to secure victory, and former Brummie Covatti held off Paco Castagna to achieve their desired result, before a spectacular Heat 15 win from Garrity limited the visitors to three league points rather than four.

BIRMINGHAM 43: Jason Garrity 13+1, Steve Worrall 9+1, James Shanes 7+1, Paco Castagna 6+2, Nick Agertoft 3+1, Tero Aarnio 3+1, David Wallinger 2+1.
SOMERSET 47: Rory Schlein 12, Chris Harris 12, Nico Covatti 9+2, Valentin Grobauer 7, Todd Kurtz 4, Anders Rowe 2, Henry Atkins 1+1.

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