Somerset Rebels 52 Workington Comets 38: Workington Comets have a 14-point gap to overhaul next weekend after a 52-38 Knock Out Cup defeat at Somerset.

The late withdrawal of No1 Ricky Wells due to illness did not help Comets’ cause but a respectable performance from his teammates and guest Steve Worrall kept them in contention for the next round.

Comets made an explosive start, with Worrall setting the fastest time of the season with Rasmus Jensen behind him for an opening 5-1.

Matt Williamson was excluded from heat two after a messy coming together with Zach Wajtknecht.

The Rebel capitalised in the rerun, winning ahead of his teammate Bradley Wilson-Dean to immediately wipe out Comets’ advantage.

And they took control with another 5-1 in heat three, Paul Starke taking the lead while former Comet Kyle Howarth haunted his old club in second after a duel with Kenneth Hansen.

Comets halved the hosts’ lead with a 4-2 in heat four, with Claus Vissing clearing off into the distance while Williamson couldn’t hold off Charles Wright.

Howarth missed an opportunity to hurt his older side as he was excluded for touching the tapes in heat five, with Wilson-Dean drafted in for the rerun.

The reserve was in blistering form, winning comfortably with Worrall and Jensen always on his tail but never close enough.

Vissing notched his second win of the night in heat six, but Adam Roynon struggled badly after a decent start and eventually retired on the final lap to share the points.

Wilson-Dean was excluded from his third race for a fall, leaving Hansen to muscle ahead of Wright in the rerun while Mason Campton finished third for a Comets 4-2.

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Heat eight saw Somerset regain the lead with a 4-2 courtesy of Jake Allen and Wilson-Dean, with Jensen splitting the pair. Vissing gated in heat nine but Starke and Howarth made light work of him for a vital 5-1 which put Comets six points behind.

Hansen could only split Josh Grajczonek and Allen in an action-packed heat 10. The latter slipped past Hansen on the first bend, before Grajczonek swept into second leaving the home side on a 5-1. The Comets No3 managed to reel in Allen to limit the damage but his side fell eight points behind.

Worrall managed to recover third place from 15 metres in heat 11, but Jensen couldn’t find a way past Wright in the lead in a 3-3.

Hansen then battled his way to the front in heat 12, but Wilson-Dean and Howarth followed him over the line to maintain the eight-point deficit.

A feisty heat 13 saw Grajczonek and Worrall trade places, with the Rebels No1 coming up trumps, while Wright edged into third to extend Somerset’s advantage to 10 points.

Campton showed signs of life with an electric start in the penultimate heat, with Williamson on his heels for what would be a crucial 5-1.

It wasn’t to be as the home pair breezed past Williamson before Starke caught Campton and the Comet couldn’t find his way back to the front in a 4-2.

Hansen came out on top after a creative start in the final heat but was quickly caught by the pack. Worrall capped a stellar guest performance by splitting Grajczonek and Starke to limit the hosts to a 4-2.

SOMERSET REBELS 52: Josh Grajczonek 12, Paul Starke 10, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+1, Charles Wright 8, Kyle Howarth 5+3, Jake Allen 5+1, Zach Wajtknecht 3

WORKINGTON COMETS 38: Steve Worrall 10+1, Kenneth Hansen 9, Rasmus Jensen 7+2, Claus Vissing 7, Mason Campton 3, Adam Roynon 1, Matt Williamson 1