A mixture of a lack of heat wins and bottom end scoring was ultimately to be the Parsons Peebles Monarchs downfall as they left Shielfield Park empty handed going down 49-41 to the Berwick Bandits on Saturday evening.
The Monarchs had travelled south in the hope of picking up some league points to help pad the gap between them and the Redcar Bears as the chase for 4th place and the final playoff spot in the league nears its climax and made a promising start being 4 ahead after 4 races.
As is often the case at Shielfield getting out the start was paramount as the track appeared to be prepared in a way that suited neither home nor away riders all of whom were largely tentative particularly entering the 1st bend in the early stages. Ricky Wells and Erik Riss being the Monarchs heat winners in the first quartet of races to allow for this 4 point gap to be built.
Unfortunately this was to be the high point of the night for the Monarchs and total half of the Monarchs heat wins as they could only muster a further 2 the rest of the way.
The Bandits started to chip into the lead immediately after heat 4 hitting back with a brace of 4-2 advantages of their own and without the top end power of captain and number 1 Sam Masters the Monarchs lacked the stopper required to ebb the flow. Further heat advantages for the home men in heats 8 and 10 put them 4 up and looking at the remaining races it was hard to see where the Armadale men could claw the points back.
Monarchs guest Lasse Bjerre who battled manfully throughout did stop the rot somewhat in heat 11 with his sole race win of the night but with Mark Riss at the back no headway could be made.
It was to be a frustrating night for the Monarchs faithful who watched as their men stayed in contact without ever looking likely to snatch anything. The travelling support ever hopeful that a piece of inspiration could come from somewhere to spark a fight back but this was not to come and the Monarchs last chance of a point was extinguished when David Howe who rolled back the years on the night made a lightning start in the last race to head home the Monarchs pair in the last race his partner Nick Morris who had looked unstoppable earlier in the meeting either realising it was job done or knowing he would make no headway on the track pootling round at the back pulling wheelies down the straights.
So it is now onto Scunthorpe for the Monarchs where once again they will look for a spark to fire them into the playoffs and on a confident footing.
Team Manager: Sean Courtney
|1. Nick Morris||3||3||3||3||0||0||12||0|
|2. Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen R/R||0||0|
|3. Danny Gappmaier||0||1||1*||1||3||1|
|4. Kevin Doolan||2||3||2||1||3||11||0|
|5. David Howe||0||2||3||2||3||3||13||0|
|6. Jye Etheridge||3||1||1||1*||3||1||10||1|
|7. Ryan Terry-Daley||0||0||0||0||0|
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Lasse Bjerre||1*||2||3||1*||1*||8||3|
|2. Mark Riss||2||0||2||0||4||0|
|3. Ricky Wells||3||2||2||2||9||0|
|4. Josh Pickering||1||1*||0||2||4||1|
|5. Erik Riss||3||2||3||2||2||12||0|
|6. Max Clegg||2||0||R||0||0||2||0|
|7. Mitchell Davey||1*||1||0||2||1|
After completing the job and collecting the maximum 6 points at home on Friday night it’s a short trip down the A1 for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs as we take on the Berwick Bandits at Shielfield on Saturday night.
Our results coupled with a tremendous fight back by Redcar at home to Sheffield means it is all to race for as although the Monarchs have leapfrogged the Bears back into the playoff spots there is only 1 point in it so away points could be vital.
It is been a difficult season on track for the Bandits and they are guaranteed to finish bottom of the pile but this has been not been down to any lack of trying by the new promotion. The Borderers have had an absolutely appalling run of luck with injuries with only 2 of their starting 1-7 still in place in the form of Kevin Doolan and Dany Gappmaier.
That is not to say there have not been some success stories for the Bandits with both Nick Morris and former Monarch Jye Etheridge enjoying impressive seasons since they joined the Bandits. David Howe will also class his return from retirement as a success and Kevin Doolan has been his usual all action self and enjoyed a well deserved testimonial earlier in the season.
The Bandits have picked up form of late and will be looking for their 5th home win in a row and with the work the new promotional team have done this year a positive end with victories against the Monarchs and next week against the Sheffield Tigers would at least put a rosier outlook on the season The work that has went in at Berwick this year can only be applauded and long it may it continue.
For the Parsons Peebles Monarchs well we will be looking for a repeat performance from earlier in the season when we collected a 48-42 victory and 3 league points all the way back at the start of April. That victory was built on the brilliance of our top 3 alongside impressive performances by Josh and Mark and if all 5 can repeat their scores from that night then another victory could well be on the cards.
As previously mentioned though that was against a very
different Bandits line-up so who knows what is in store.
One note of concern for the Monarchs faithful was the withdrawal of Sam Masters from his last ride of the double header on Friday night, it being obvious that Sam was in some discomfort after coming down on his previously injured shoulder in an earlier race. Sam is made of tough stuff but unfortunately will miss the remainder of this weekends meetings. With a multitude of matches being raced tonight a suitable guest replacement is proving difficult to find althiugh the Monarchs are still hopeful we will find one for this match. If this does not prove to be the case then rider replacement will be utilized with all of the team capable of taking a ride.
Can the boys do it, well one thing is for sure we know they will be there giving their all and with a large and noisy Monarchs fan base on the back straight cheering them one step closer to a playoff place and a crack at a 5th title in 10 years.