Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Ricky Wells||3||3||2||2||3||13||0|
|2. Victor Palovaara||1||2*||3||0||6||1|
|3. Josh Pickering||2*||1||2*||0||5||2|
|4. Richie Worrall||3||3||3||3||FD||12||0|
|5. Erik Riss||3||3||3||FD||9||0|
|6. William Lawson||1||0||F||1||2||0|
|7. Joel Andersson||3||2*||2*||2||9||2|
Team Manager: Cameron Brown
|1. Ben Barker||2||2||2||3||3||2||14||0|
|2. Nathan Greaves||0||0||F||R||0||0|
|3. Chris Harris||0||1*||1||1||3||1|
|4. Paul Starke||1||2||3||2||1*||9||1|
|5. Claus Vissing||E||1||FD||1||2||0|
|6. James Sarjeant||2||1||E||1||1||0||5||0|
|7. Jack Thomas||0||0||0||0||0|
A tough match was expected between the Scottish rivals especially as both are heavily involved in the battle for a Playoff place, but as it transpired the Monarchs took total control, and incredibly had the match won by heat 9 assuming they had finishers thereafter. The score then stood at 40-14 and the final score was 56-33, a slight improvement for the visitors due almost entirely to the efforts of guest Ben Barker and Paul Starke.
Monarchs' team manager Alex Harkess preferred to concentrate on the performance of his riders when he said "I thought we were absolutely brilliant over the first half of the match and we had the result sewn up early. I was delighted with all our riders' performances and their attitude.
"The riders praised the track and I have to add my congratulations to the track staff, they had a very tough day thanks to a torrential downpour at lunchtime. They removed the top surface and rebuilt the track and did a superb job."
Ricky Wells added "It was a tough meeting but a great result for the team. We needed to win this and we did so the pressure's off a bit before Sunday – but we know Glasgow are good at home too.
"A big shout out to Joel (Andersson) who got big points at Sheffield last night and again tonight."
It was clear from the opening heat that Ben Barker was in the mood and the absence of Craig Cook wasn't really a factor in the result. He chased Ricky Wells hard. There was a 4-2 for Monarchs in the reserves heat as well, and when Monarchs added two 5-1s it was clear as early as heat 4 that there was really only one team in it.
Claus Vissing earned a heat 4 exclusion for riding on the centre green prior to the race, a silly offence which the riders should know about, and neither Claus nor Chris Harris had any impact on the match at all.
There was a Wells-Palovaara 5-1 in heat 6, and the two Swedes took another in heat 8. Vissing went down after a tough first corner with Richie Worrall in heat 9 and was excluded, which handed another 5-1 to the home side and a 40-14 lead at that point.
James Sarjeant was proving to be a bit of a trial again with his start-jumping, and he earned two exclusions while also holding the meeting up. It's time someone in authority told him to mend his ways.
Over the last six heats, Tigers did improve and actually outscored Monarchs, this being mainly because they were able to get either Barker or Starke, or both, in every one of the races. Barker won heats 12 and 13, and Starke led home heat 10.
We also had Erik Riss losing control and falling on the first corner of heat 13, and Richie Worrall finally losing his unbeaten record at Armadale in heat 15. He had won 4 races making it 19 unbeaten on the circuit since joining, but having led for the opening lap he also came a cropper on the pits corner.
Ricky Wells also came down heavily in the last heat rerun but when it finally got under way, the Monarchs' no. 1 led home the Tigers' top two on the night.
Monarchs are now up to fourth and sit in a playoff place, but that doesn't mean too much as there are a lot of matches still to be raced.
Having somewhat done the job required at Sheffield last night the Staggs Bar Monarchs look to consolidate their playoff push when the Glasgow Tigers visit Armadale on Friday.
This weekend is crunch time for both the Monarchs and Tigers with it starting to look like it will be the Scottish rivals that battle it out for the last playoff position. There are other teams in the mix but as it stands this weekend will be key as while neither side can guarantee a playoff place it could be said that a home defeat for either would end those playoff and in turn championship hopes.
Derby weekend is always something to look forward but with the playoff scenario as it is these matches take on all the more importance. Matches between the two teams have been tight this year with no more than 10 points between the sides in any of the 5 matches so far. Early in the season it was Glasgow with the upper hand taking victory at Armadale in the Championship Shield. The Monarchs were then able to turn this around and win both legs as we knocked the Tigers out of the KO cup in our last meetings.
Both teams have different looking line-ups since then with the Tigers forced into even further changes for Friday's match due to GP commitments for Craig Cook. Ben Barker steps in to guest for Cookie and will have a job to do to match the potential scoring of the Monarchs legend although on his day he is as good as any visitor to Armadale. Nathan Greaves is also a recent introduction to the Tigers septet and he appears good to race after sitting out Wolves meetings this week still suffering from the aftermath of his horror crash at Ashfield the other week. The rest of the Tigers team is as it has been since day 1 of the season with Chris Harris and Claus Vissing providing the heat leader punch, Harris in particular in the finest form of his season that seems to have coincided with the introduction of Cook. Paul Starke provides a key role as the senior second string and while it has been an up and down season for the former Somerset man he is a noted Armadale performer and appears to be in decent form having guested for Peterborough on regular occasions in the last couple of weeks. Another with a decent Armadale record is reserve James Sarjeant and he is another who will be key to the Tigers as he looks to provide the backup to the top 5. Jack Thomas has had an up and down debut season after he was scooped up to replace Jack Parkinson-Blackburn on the eve of the season but he did show his talent by improving almost by the race at Armadale so far.
For the Home men we line-up as expected with Joel shaking off a nasty looking spill at Sheffield on Thursday night. Of course this will be the first time that Richie Worrall faces off against his former Glasgow teammates and with a record of 3 consecutive maximums in as many meetings at Armadale he will be looking to make it 4. Erik and Ricky will be looking to bounce back from losing out on their maximums last week to get back to winning ways and Victor and Josh continue to impress at second string. This will be the 2nd home match back for Willie Lawson and he will be looking to build on his 2 point haul last week that did include a defeat of Mason Campton.
So it's a crucial Scottish Derby at Armadale both teams desperate for points and looking to inflict a fatal blow to their rivals playoff chances. The Monarchs will need to be at their best to endure Glasgow leave pointless tonight and an extra cheer form the terraces will surely help them on.
Can the boys do it, there is only one place to be to find out and that is trackside.
See you there!
Friday 24th August 2018, 9:30pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs moved into 4th place in teh Championship table with a 56-33 victory over Glasgow this evening. Top man for the Monarchs was Ricky Wells with 13 while guest Ben Barker excellently led the way for the Tigers with 14