The Staggs Bar Monarchs failed to raise their game tonight in spite of a strong start, and eventually slipped to a 44-46 defeat to Workington which means the Comets win the Border section of the competition and qualify for the semi-finals.
It is our second defeat in the three home matches in the Shield, a disappointing effort. Alex Harkess said "That was very poor on our part and our lower order riders are not improving as we were hoping they would. Indeed not many of our riders got pass marks tonight. But Workington deserve credit as they have been good throughout the qualifying stages."
Early on, it looked like Monarchs had the measure of this match, building a 12-6 lead after three interesting opening heats. The opener was hotly contested for first and third, and Mason Campton made heat 2 exciting after missing the start, passing Josh Pickering and putting pressure on race winner Coty Garcia.
Max Ruml, needing a good match, then touched the tapes and was replaced by Garcia, who again shot from the gate with Mark Riss. However Dan Bewley showed how well he is riding now with a strong pass, going on to put considerable pressure on Riss. Mark held on though, and Coty got the third spot after passing and repassing with Ty Proctor who seemed unhappy.
So far, so good. Mason Campton held off the chasing Erik Riss to impressively win heat 4, but Nicolai Klindt was held at the back by Josh Pickering. Klindt didn't give any hint of the part he was going to play later on.
Heat 5 was very much a turning of the tide. Mark Riss was poorly away and offered no challenge to Bach and Jensen, so we were only two up now. Klindt was transformed to beat Wells in heat 6, Erik Riss defeated the impressive Bewley in heat 7 but Garcia was overhauled after a decent start.
Comets looked likely to make headway in heat 8 after Jensen and Campton made the start, but Andersson cut impressively inside the Comets' no. 7 followed later in the heat by Pickering, to maintain Monarchs' narrow 2-point lead.
We lost that in the following heat though as Max Ruml could not capitalise on a good start with Klindt winning again from Mark Riss, and Campton taking the point with some forceful riding against Ruml. That levelled the scores and the next three heats were all shared, the most notable of which was heat 12 in which Ruml led for most of the heat but was eventually worn down by Comets' captain Proctor.
So we had our top two in two of the remaining three heats to give cause for optimism. We did indeed take a 4-2 from heat 13 with Erik Riss sweeping from gate 4 to win and Ricky Wells heading Bach.
We had switched Mark Riss to no. 4 to give us a better chance in heat 14, but in spite of that he lost out to the flying Bewley and Campton. Mark passed the Aussie at one point but lifted and it was fortunate there wasn't a pileup.
So we were now two down going in to the last heat. Bewley came off on the first bend of the final heat, and it was not completely obvious why he got back in other than that it was early in the heat. It made no real difference though as Klindt was the strongest rider from gate 4 and won the rerun, to ensure the two point win.
Probably Erik Riss was the only home man to ride to his best form. Our second strings and reserves were generally disappointing. Comets were much more solid with Klindt and Bewley the top men, and they deserved the win.
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Ricky Wells||3||2||3||1||1*||10||1|
|2. Joel Andersson||1||1*||2||0||4||1|
|3. Max Ruml||E||0||0||2||2||0|
|4. Mark Riss||3||1||2||1||7||0|
|5. Erik Riss||2||3||3||3||2||13||0|
|6. Coty Garcia||3||1||0||0||0||4||0|
|7. Josh Pickering||1||1*||1*||1*||4||3|
Team Manager: Tony Jackson
|1. Rene Bach||2||3||1*||0||6||1|
|2. Rasmus Jensen||0||2*||3||2||7||1|
|3. Ty Proctor||0||1*||1*||3||5||2|
|4. Dan Bewley||2||2||2||3||0||9||0|
|5. Nicolai Klindt||0||3||3||2||3||11||0|
|6. Kyle Bickley||0||0||F||0||0|
|7. Mason Campton||2||3||0||1||2*||8||1|
After another enforced and unwanted break it's back to action at Armadale this week as the Staggs Bar Monarchs host the Workington Comets in Championship Shield action.
This will finish our home campaign for the shield and it is the Comets who are the ones with something to race for as they head north knowing a draw or win will clinch a semi berth for the Cumbria side.
The Monarchs are currently mathematically out of the running although with no indication that the result of the protest of the Comets team in our fixture at Derwent Park has been resolved then theoretically if that was reversed we still stand a chance of qualification. However no one in the Monarchs camp really expects any favours on that front.
So it will be Workington with the bit between the teeth as they look to complete the group unbeaten, the only reason they are not already through is that remarkably 3 of their 5 fixtures have ended in draws. Home and away to Berwick and at home to Glasgow last Saturday. A remarkable result at Ashfield looked to have put them in the driving seat but they could not finish the job last weekend and it is now last chance saloon for the unpredictable Comets.
It is hard to know what to expect from the visitors with some startlingly brilliant performances being mixed in with some fairly average ones but perhaps that was always to be the case when looking at their team.
A mixture of youth and experience meant it was always going to be hard to judge just what the Derwent Park side were capable off and while there have been flashes from most of the team no one has been consistently outstanding.
There is plenty of firepower in the side with a Danish triumvirate of Nikolai Klindt, Rasmus Jensen and Rene Bach towards the top end and Ty Proctor revitalised after early season visa woes. Dan Bewley has mixed in some sensational performances with some average and this is probably to be expected for the just turned 19 year old. Mason Campton has made a successful return from an early season wrist injury but questions are still being asked as to whether the Comets would have been better served sticking with replacement Bradley Wilson-Dean.
Completing the side is Kyle Bickley who is finding life a little tough at this level it has to be said after making the step up from the National League.
For the home side it is a full strength line-up (isn't it nice to see that for both teams) as we look to build some momentum after the unbelievable result at Ashfield just under 2 weeks ago. After a paid 11 haul over the 2 legs Coty Garcia continues in the side for Matt Williamson and with a further couple of weeks to prepare we can expect much of the same from the Argentinean.
Elsewhere we will be led as usual by our big two of Ricky Wells and Erik Riss who are in fantastic form. Ricky dropping only 2 points over the two legs against the Tigers with Erik not far behind with only 5 points dropped from his ten rides over the two legs. They have been well backed up at home by Mark who will be looking to build on his early season form while of course both Joel and Max have shown flashes and Max in particular should be buoyed by a trip home during the break.
So another big night in store as the Comets go in search of the result that will propel them into the semis, can the Monarchs stop them? There is only one way to find out and that's to get yourself to Armadale to take in the action.
See you there!
Friday 8th June 2018, 9:05pm
Despite never leading till heat 14 it was Workington who prevailed at Armadale this evening 46-44.
Wednesday 6th June 2018, 8:30pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs race their final home Championship Shield match at Armadale this Friday against Workington Comets, who are unbeaten in the competition.
Thursday 31st May 2018, 11:00am
We are very pleased to confirm that our big celebration of our 70th Anniversary will take place on Friday 22nd June with the staging of the Platinum Jubilee Fours.
Wednesday 30th May 2018, 8:00am
Although there will be no fixture at Armadale this Friday, 1st June, thereafter we'll have a match on every Friday, with the exception of Cardiff GP weekend, all the way through to September.
Tuesday 29th May 2018, 8:00am
We uplifted a collection for Club asset Mitchell Davey on Friday following his awful accident at Birmingham on 9th May and the Monarchs and Tigers fans dug deep to help the ultra popular rider.