Belle Vue cemented their place in the 2018 Premiership play offs with a stunning performance against the Somerset Rebels on Wednesday, triumphing 48-42 in a fiercely contested meeting.
Victory for the Rentruck Aces ensured mathematically that neither Swindon nor Wolverhampton could catch them, and King’s Lynn have already selected them as their semi-final opponents.
But the Cases Rebels, who had already confirmed their top four spot, did not make easy work of it for the home team and put severe pressure on them throughout the course of the night.
It wasn’t until Heat 15 that the Rentruck Aces could exhale after a 5-1 courtesy of Max Fricke and Craig Cook sealed the deal, though it came at the expense of Jason Doyle who crashed out.
Club No.5 Craig Cook said: “It’s fantastic feeling to have made the play offs. The lads had to work extra hard to cover for Dan [Bewley] and everyone did a tremendous job to make this happen.
“Even though they’re already safe in the top four, Somerset came here with an agenda to try and knock King’s Lynn off top spot and they put in a performance that you’d expect of a top team.
“We’re glad to see Jason [Doyle] was able to get up after that fall. It’s not how we wanted to end our night because it was a great Heat 15 in prospect. But the job’s done now and we’re happy.
“King’s Lynn have chosen us for the semi-finals and we’re pretty pumped about that. We like their track and we’re determined to pay them back in full for the two times they’ve beaten us at home.”
The win on the night also means that the Rentruck Aces can relax on their trip to Swindon on Thursday, September 6 which will be their final league fixture ahead of the Play Offs.
The Robins had been in contention for the last spot had the Rentruck Aces lost in Manchester, with Belle Vue’s trip to the Abbey Stadium being “Plan B” in the event of defeat at home.
But while it’s good to have a contingency plan, says team boss Mark Lemon, his side had every intention of ensuring it wouldn’t be needed, adding: “We didn’t want to wait until Thursday.
“The belief in this team never wained and I was confident they could do what needed to be done, but until the result’s in the bag you can’t underestimate your opponent or assume anything.
“The result does mean we can relax a little going down to Swindon on Thursday. But it is still a league meeting and we have a job to do, and we’re going down there fully intent on winning.
“Swindon will be wanting to close their season on a high while we want to make the most of the track time we have ahead of the play offs so we’re expecting a tough battle with the Robins.”
The Cool Running Colts face the Isle of Wight at home on Friday, September 7 while the Rentruck Aces battle Somerset once again in Manchester on September 19 in the KOC semi-final.
Tickets for both home meetings are now available online at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race night.
RESULT - BELLE VUE V SOMERSET - WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Belle Vue ‘Rentruck’ Aces 48: Max Fricke 12+1, Craig Cook 10+1, Steve Worrall 9+1, Rohan Tungate 9, Dimitri Berge 7, Mark Riss 1, Dan Bewley R/R
Somerset ‘Cases’ Rebels 42: Jason Doyle 12, Richard Lawson 10, Jack Holder 9+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 4+1, Jake Allen 4+2, Aaron Summers 3+1, Nico Covatti 0
SWINDON V BELLE VUE - 7:30PM - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Swindon ‘CFS Filtration’ Robins: Troy Batchelor, David Bellego, Adam Ellis, Tobias Musielak, Nick Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Jack Smith; TM: Alun Rossiter
Belle Vue ‘Rentruck’ Aces: Max Fricke (C), Dan Bewley R/R, Steve Worrall, Rohan Tungate, Craig Cook, Dimitri Bergé, Todd Kurtz (G); TM: Mark Lemon