Monarchs were not at their best for the latest Scottish derby, taking just the two points and not the bonus.
Derek Sneddon's three-point return (including two heavy falls) and the same score for Henrik Moller at no. 1 represented under-achievement, and although Theo Pijper and Rusty Harrison were at the right end of the scorechart, they couldn't deliver in the big heats 13 and 15.
Gate 4 produced only 13 points all night, with the rider from that position often stranded at the first corner, so having this gate in 13 and 15 was a big hindrance.
We got off to a poor start when Henrik drifted badly in heat 1, finishing at the back after challenging for the lead early on. Heat 2 was also lost after Derek had fallen at the first corner, gating poorly off that gate 4. Sean at least managed a second from the back over Cockle.
We needed to out it right quickly and that was achieved by Matthew and William racing away for a 5-1 in heat 3, followed by a similar score for Rusty and Derek over Shane Parker!
Again, the gate 4 factor was relevant in these heats.
David McAllan got another good point over Matthew as Tigers won heat 5. Parker was back to normal in heat 6 before we doubled our advantage in heat 7.
Sean was to the fore again here, taking his chance as everyone went to the fence on the first turn. He cut through to join Rusty for a 5-1.
Theo managed to gate from grid 4 in heat 8 and win easily, but James Cockle held off Derek for second. That meant Tigers still weren't into a TR position.
The next two heats were shared, Kauko Nieminen at last coming good in heat 10. It was obvious that Theo was well short of last week's form, due no doubt to a change of engine.
Tigers decided not to wait for a 9-point deficit to emerge and used Parker off 15 metres in heat 11. Bird seemed to make a start but ran into to trouble on both the first and third bends, crashing into the boards. In the rerun Sean held Parker up for quite a bit, and Rusty was never in danger of being caught.
heat 12 seemed a potential advantage for us, but Robert Ksiezak pushed his way in front of Derek with a good move. Attempting to re-pass on the second lap, Derek went over the camber on the pits bend and hit the boards hard.
He took an ambulance ride but thankfully wasn't seriously hurt. In the rerun Matthew managed to get away for a win, so we were still 8 up going into heat 13.
Rusty was unbeaten at this point without being entirely convincing, and off gate 4 he was nowhere. Henrik lay third but was never a threat to Glasgow's big two.
William made the start in heat 14 and once again Sean was making himself useful, battling with Ksiezak for second. The Aussie overslid and fell, and Nieminen hit his bike then the fence.
Nieminen would not have been fit for the rerun but there wasn't one anyway, the race result being curiously awarded.
So we were three ahead on aggregate going into heat 15, but we lost the toss. William was the unlucky one in gate 4, and Theo was no match for Bird and Parker, so the bonus point went west.
HALMOND ENGINEERING MONARCH OF THE MATCH: Sean Stoddart.
For the second time in five weeks ,Glasgow provide the opposition at Armadale - but this time it's on Premier Trophy business. The Monarchs won by six points on the delayed opening night of the season but Glasgow will claim that they might well have at least closed that gap with their big guns due out in the last three heats. We'll never know!
This time round though Edinburgh are far better placed to face the Tigers than on the 1st April. We now have three competitive Premier Trophy matches at home under our belts with the result that the riders, particularly Henrik Moller, have had a chance to acclimatise themselves to the track and get their set-ups right.
The match at Ashfield last Sunday left us with only five points to pull back for the bonus point which could well prove crucial when all the matches in the northern section have been raced. Although this is well within the team's capabilities nothing can ever be taken for granted in these derby matches. Glasgow will be disappointed at not winning by a bigger margin last Sunday but we still have it all to do to take the three points up for grabs.
As usual expect Glasgow to rely heavily on Shane Parker, Danny Bird and Kauko Nieminen to do the bulk of the scoring with all three of them ready to jump in immediately with a Tactical Ride or Tactical Substitute ride should the occasion to use them arise. That has been the Glasgow tactic away from home since the start of the season and it makes it difficult for their opponents to open a big lead. To use them however they need to be 8 or 9 points in arrears and we don't need to be that far ahead for an aggregate success.
Unless the Tigers produce one of their lack-lustre Armadale displays it seems very likely that this match will be decided over the last few heats. But they can expect stern resistance from a team which has started to fire on all cylinders as they found out last weekend. Theo Pijper was unbeatable last Friday while Rusty Harrison improved all weekend. Henrik Moller will have the massive boost of being back on his own equipment this week while William Lawson just gets better and better. Hopefully Matthew will have recovered fully from his heavy fall last Sunday when his clutch cabled snapped and Derek Sneddon continues to challenge for the top reserve of the year award. Even Sean Stoddart suddenly found his form last week so any hopes that Glasgow have of only having to turn up for the points will be way off the mark.
The main back-up for the Glasgow top three often comes from their reserves. Robert Ksiezak makes fast starts winning him a lot of points but James Cockle has been unpredictable this season. The middle order of David McAllan and Lee Dicken has often been vulnerable although we know how good McAllan has been in the past round Armadale.
It will be a major disappointment if we fail to win this match but it could be quite a tussle for the bonus point. If we can stop the Glasgow heat leaders dominating the race winner department three points should come our way.
Saturday 6th May 2006, 10:00am
The Scotwaste Monarchs beat Glasgow by four points at Armadale - but just missed out on the bonus.
Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 4:27pm
The Scotwaste Monarchs face a crucial match in their bid for a Premier Trophy semi-final spot when they take on Glasgow at Armadale on Friday.