|1. Gary Havelock||2||2||2||1||7||0|
|2. Joni Keskinen||0||0||1||1||0|
|3. James Grieves||1||3||6||3||2||15||1|
|4. Dan Giffard||2||1||0||0||3||0|
|5. Ty Proctor||2||2||1||3||0||0||8||0|
|6. Josh Auty||1||0||0||3||4||0|
|7. Arlo Bugeja||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1. Tomas Topinka||3||2||1||2||8||1|
|2. Thomas H Jonasson R/R||0||0|
|3. Derek Sneddon||0||1||0||1||2||1|
|4. Ryan Fisher||3||3||3||3||1||3||16||1|
|5. Matthew Wethers||3||1||2||2||3||1||12||0|
|6. Andrew Tully||1||3||1||3||1||2||11||1|
|7. Aaron Summers||2||0||2||2||6||2|
Expectations are high of the Scotwaste Monarchs this year - but they just keep going out and exceeding them!
This was a remarkable effort as the boys kept up the pressure throughout and never let the Bears back into the match. We were 9-3 up after two heats, 26-16 after 7 heats, nullified a TS in heat 8 and took advantages in heats 13 and 15.
Ryan Fisher was the star of the show, extremely classy with five victories. In heat 14 he was outgated by Auty and Summers and was content to sit in third while Aaron tried his luck.
We were off to a good start with a win for guest Tomas Topinka over Havelock in a time described as the fastest of the season, but in fact it seems it is a track record on the reshaped track.
Andrew Tully took third, then sat with Aaron as they cruised to a 5-1 in heat 2. A great start.
Derek Sneddon made the gate off the inside in heat 3 but then shot right across the turn. Ryan Fisher spotted it, turned back and was away. The Bears also came through to share the heat.
Aaron was excluded on 2 minutes from heat 4, which was the first of several good heats involving Matthew Wethers. He hit the front and held off a powerful outside run by Ty Proctor with Andrew Tully third.
So we were 16-8 in front already but the Bears then took a 4-2 as Grieves held a narrow lead throughout from Topinka. Aaron seemed to be struggling at the rear behind Giffard.
What better way to follow that though than a win from the back for Andrew over Gary Havelock! Havvy led from the gate but Andrew caught him and pushed through on the pits corner, going on to win comfortably.
We were on a 5-1 in heat 7 as Derek made the start. Ryan went to the front and eventually Ty Proctor passed Derek, but we were now 10 points up.
Proctor was given an additional ride as a TS to bolster the weak Bears' pair in heat 8, but Ryan and Aaron took 5 points easily.
It was no surprise that Grieves took a TR in heat 9 but Matthew gave him a great battle before he edged ahead late in the race to take 6 points. However we were still 11 points ahead with all tactical options exhausted.
Ryan easily won heat 10 from Havelock, but Derek had a poor outing here and failed to catch Keskinen.
Once again Matthew lost narrowly in an exciting heat as Proctor took heat 11. Auty was snapping at Topinka's heels but spun round on the final turn.
Derek was left in heat 12 and reacted well by leading Grieves for a couple of laps. He did get passed eventually though and finished third. He may be down on confidence but at least he was still mixing it.
Heat 13 could have been an awkward one, but Matthew swept from gate 4 to lead and Topinka quietly backed up for a match-clinching 5-1.
Heat 14 looked favourable too but this time Auty finally made a start and led home Aaron and Ryan.
Just to add a bit of icing, Ryan was back on the winning trail in heat 15 with an easy win over Grieves, who had inches to spare over hard-charging Matthew Wethers.
A 17 point win, another super showing.
It's Knock Out Cup action again this week with home and away ties on Thursday and Friday against Redcar, a team we haven't beaten for nearly two years!
For the away leg we are without William Lawson, who is riding in the British Final at Swindon, and Thomas Jonasson who will be on his way to Finland for his next round of the World under 21 Championship. Tomas Topinka replaces William while we have to use Rider Replacement for Thomas.
We have never won at the South Tees Motorsports Park although on our first visit there, shortly after the track opened, we only lost by a single point after Gary Havelock and Kevin Little scored a 5-1 in the last heat following a harsh exclusion for William Lawson after falling in a 'first bend bunching' incident.
Of course we don't have to win there on Thursday but, such is Redcar's record round Armadale, that we had better keep any arrears to an absolute minimum.
Our guest, Tomas Topinka, has an impressive record round Redcar having scored 19+2 from two meetings there last year and 23+1 from two meetings there in 2006. This gives him an average of exactly 9.00 for that track which it would be hard to better given the top end strength of the Bears. The Rider Replacement for Thomas Jonasson allows Matthew Wethers, Ryan Fisher, Andrew Tully and Aaron Summers to replace him.
Just as Andrew Tully was a key man at Scunthorpe with his local knowledge of the Normanby Road track so is Aaron Summers in this match. All the riders gained some experience of the Redcar track in our match there which was abandoned after heat 9 last April but Aaron's outings for the Redcar Cubs gives him a much more detailed knowledge of the track in all its conditions. He's well nigh unbeatable round there in the Conference League and his winning times have been good enough to win many races at Premier League level.
The Bears' team struggles at times with Finnish newcomer Joni Keskinen unable to make any impression since his arrival as a temporary signing to replace the injured Chris Kerr. While Gary Havelock and James Grieves continue to rule the roost the tremendous improvement in young Australian Ty Proctor has given the Bears three strong heat leaders. They will be difficult to contain and if we struggle to keep them from a scoring spree then we will need to ensure that the rather uninsurable tail end is kept quiet.
Keskinen apart, the performances of Arlo Bugeja and Dan Giffard have sometimes given the team some concern. On their day they can be highly effective as we found out in heat one of our abandoned match when they rattled up a 5-1 against us. With out strength at reserve we should have the edge. Josh Auty has such undoubted talent that it is strange to see him wallowing in the Redcar reserve berths. His performance at Armadale last year when he rattled up 11 points was breathtaking but there seems to be a bit of spark missing this year due to some extent no doubt to his poor gating.
The return match at Armadale on Friday will be no pushover either. Indeed the records show we may struggle to win especially since we will again be without two riders. Thomas Jonasson will again be missing due to his under 21 commitments as will Andrew Tully who has been given a wildcard entry to the World under 21 Championship replacing an injured rider in the round in Germany.
For this match we will have to use Rider Replacement for Thomas and have recruited Sean Stoddart for Andrew Tully. Sean should certainly be able to score heavily against the Redcar tail but we may have to do a lot better than in previous seasons against the Redcar big two of Havelock and Grieves. The record of the Redcar big two round Armadale is frightening. James Grieves has had two matches for Redcar at the Dale and scored a 15 point maximum both times! Gary Havelock had had four matches since the Bears joined the Premier League. Lat year he scored a paid maximum and paid 14 on his two visits to the Dale (the only rider to beat him was Theo Pijper) and in the previous year his two matches yielded 32 points with 16 points on each occasion (including tactical ride points).
If Havelock and Grieves repeat these scores we will be in trouble. Add to that the unknown quantity that is Ty Proctor and the potential of Josh Auty and the conclusion has to be that Redcar are the team likely to cause us most problems at home this year.
Still they haven't met this current Monarchs' squad which they will not find quite so easy to roll over (hopefully!).
As always may the better team win (provided it's Edinburgh).
The likely line-ups will be:
Redcar: Gary Havelock, Joni Keskinen, James Grieves, Daniel Giffard, Ty Proctor, Josh Auty, Arlo Bugeja.
Edinburgh (Thursday): Tomas Topinka, Thomas Jonasson (R/R), Derek Sneddon, Ryan Fisher, Matthew Wethers, Andrew Tully, Aaron Summers.
Edinburgh (Friday): William Lawson, Thomas Jonasson (R/R), Derek Sneddon, Ryan Fisher, Matthew Wethers, Sean Stodart, Aaron Summers.
Thursday 29th May 2008, 1:18am
Monarchs had never won at Redcar, but our current team just love setting new records and could hardly have performed much better than they did in a 55-38 first leg victory over the Bears.