We lost Andrew Tully on the parade but still ran the Tigers right to the last heat, going down 43-47 but taking the aggregate bonus by 90-89.
It was a fine effort to take the bonus with 5 men, though in fact we might well have done even better with a little more luck and perhaps slightly different use of our resources. However it is plain for all to see that the team is coming together now.
Andrew?s accident was missed by many who weren?t even looking. Apparently his throttle jammed, resulting in Andrew smashing the fence and his bike, and being ruled out of the match with shoulder and leg injuries.
Rather surprisingly, the referee ruled that as the meeting was deemed to have started, we could use Daniele to replace Andrew subject only to the maximum 7-ride rule. How this will affect Andrew?s average, and when he gets it, remains to be seen.
(The rules do state that the meeting commences an hour before the advertised start time, but the specific question of injuries on parade isn?t really covered by the rules.)
This meant effectively that we had to race heat 2 and one other with just a single rider. We had the choice of all Daniele?s and Andrew?s rides PLUS the rider replacement rides, and logically we should have chosen the hardest heat, probably heat 5 or heat 9. Instead we postponed the choice and eventually ran with one rider in heat 14, not really the best move.
Nevertheless almost everything about the match was positive for the Scotwaste Monarchs. The heroes of a fine effort were Henrik Moller and Daniele Tessari who won three heats each (in fact we had the majority of race winners!)
In heat 1 Ronnie was over-eager to get away and ruled a tape-toucher. Henrik made up for that by leading all the way, but Ronnie couldn?t squeeze through (in fact I don?t recall a single pass all meeting after the first bend). As on his last appearance, Henrik recorded the day?s fastest time.
Daniele showed what a lively reserve he will be by slipping inside the toiling Smethills out of turn two and winning heat 2 easily.
Ksiezak missed the start in heat 3 and dribbled to a halt on the first corner, so we shared it unopposed behind Parker.
Heat 4 looked hopeful for us but Matthew and Daniele made poor starts. Again Tessari was quickly passed Smethills and closed on Tessari, only to fall when chasing hard on the pits corner of lap 3.
Matthew didn?t have a good day and he couldn?t overcome his slow starts, losing out to Smethills as Tigers took a 5-1.
The first corner of heat 5 was a tight one with Ronnie on the outside, but he did well to squeeze round Ksiezak and just lose out to Parker. We were six down now but were soon improving that position.
In fact we took 4-2 advantages out of the next three heats. Daniele brilliantly beat Stancl in heat 6, Henrik got another one in heat 7 and it was Daniele to the fore again in heat 8. Matthew, William and Matthew took the additional third places and we were now level.
However Parker and Ksiezak gated in heat 9 and though they weren?t going quickly, and Daniele and Matthew were in touch, the 5-1 was completed.
Straight away we were back with a maximum advantage of our own. William and Henrik gated and Stancl stopped at the back.
Ronnie went to the front in heat 11 though Leverington was pressing him, and Daniele secured another point to put us 2 ahead!
We should then have extended that with a fine ride from William, leading Parker all the way. As always Glasgow?s star piled on the pressure, but he couldn?t get through, and even though he drew level on the final turn William on the outside had the better line to the flag. Then his chain came off.
So the heat was shared as William limped over the line, chainless, in second spot with Daniele third once more. That though was Daniele?s seventh ride, used up by heat 12.
Ronnie split the Tigers? pair of Stancl and Leverington in heat 13 and pushed Stancl really hard with his inside line passing attempts. Matthew completed a poor personal day by falling at the rear.
We knew now that we needed Henrik to win heat 14 to make sure of the bonus, and he duly did that with ease. Score 42-42 with one heat left.
As in heat 1 Ronnie was somewhat over-anxious at the start and viewed from the fourth bend he seemed at fault as heat 15 was declared an unsatisfactory start ? with Henrik having apparently made the gate!
In the rerun though it was the old story from Parker and Stancl, with Henrik trying hard to challenge.
It could have been even better, but we would surely have settled for the bonus at the outset, especially after losing Andrew.
Our final Premier Trophy match of the season might be more significant for Glasgow than it is for us, but we will be hoping to maintain recent improvement with a good Ashfield showing.
If all goes according to plan, Daniele Tessari will be back from his GP fun in Italy, and William will have made the massive return journey to Eastbourne where he will have been competing in the British Under 21 Final.
Andrew Tully will also have had a Saturday night meeting, guesting for Berwick.
The only rider missing from our usual septet will be Derek Sneddon who hopes to return next Thursday. Derek has a decent record at Ashfield but we should be able to cover with rider replacement.
Tigers have been stronger at home this season than at any time since they moved there in 1999, and we would have to be right at our best to have a chance of winning against a solid home side.
David McAllan is listed in Tigers? lineup, subject to fitness, and any replacement should he not make it will have to be from the Conference League. The other reserve on the new averages will be Lee Smethills and a lot of responsibility would fall on him.
Quite a lot will also depend on whether we can take a few points off Stancl and Parker. Last time there Ronnie Correy showed he had the ability to beat them if he steers clear of problems, and after Friday?s display William Lawson might do something, if he isn?t too exhausted.
With a semi-final slot in their sights Tigers will start as favourites even without McAllan, but it seems likely that we will give them a run for their money.
Sunday 29th April 2007, 8:50pm
We turned in a very spirited show at Ashfield in spite of the loss of Andrew Tully on the parade, when his throttle jammed and put him through the fence.