Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Erik Riss||3||2||3||2*||2||12||1|
|2. Victor Palovaara||R||1*||3||0||4||1|
|3. Josh Pickering||2*||0||1*||3||6||2|
|4. Richie Worrall||3||3||2||2||10||0|
|5. Ricky Wells||3||3||3||3||1*||13||1|
|6. William Lawson||3||1||F||FD||1*||5||1|
|7. David Wallinger||0||F||0||0||0|
Team Manager: Cameron Brown
|1. Richard Lawson||1*||2||2||0||5||1|
|2. James Sarjeant||2||1*||1*||1*||5||3|
|3. Claus Vissing||0||1*||2||2||5||1|
|4. Paul Starke||1||2||1*||3||3||10||1|
|5. Chris Harris||2||3||3||1||0||9||0|
|6. Jack Thomas||1*||0||0||1||1|
|7. Carl Wilkinson||2||FD||2||1*||0||5||1|
The Staggs Bar Monarchs rounded off the 2018 season by narrowly winning the Scottish Cup which went to a two-man race off after the home side had won the match against Glasgow by 50-40, a reversal of the score from the first leg in March!
After a quite entertaining and dramatic encounter it was announced that the Cup would be decided by a match race, and out came Ricky Wells for Monarchs, and Paul Starke for the Tigers. The admirable Starke had won heats 14 and 15 against the odds to take the event to "extra time" as it were.
Crucially Wells took gate 4 and hit the second corner just right on the wide line. He's pretty unstoppable from that position.
Alex Harkess said "Full marks to both teams for putting on a show. We've had one or two disappointments lately so I didn't want to let this one slip, but we got there in the end."
Monarchs had held the upper hand all night but were never able to gain an aggregate lead. Only in heat 13 with a 5-1 (Riss and Wells) did they draw level. Following that we had drama over the final two heats.
Richie Worrall had been as impressive as ever during his earlier heats but he locked up badly on the first corner of heat 14, letting Starke get ahead but completely baulking Wilkinson. The heat should surely have been stopped at that stage but was allowed to continue, a 3-3.
In heat 15 Chris Harris made the start at the first attempt but this was stopped quickly to issue a warning to Erik Riss. Next running, Wells and Riss were away, but Harris attempted a pass on Riss at the third bend but fell and caused a stoppage.
The rules suggest that Starke, at the back at the time of the stoppage, should have gone off 15 metres in the next running but we have yet to see this rule applied. Starke pulled out a big one from the gate for the Tigers to beat Riss and Wells, but he could not make it three in a row in the run-off. So Monarchs took the Cup and prevented Tigers winning the trophy for the third successive time. The overall tally is Monarchs 24 Tigers 16.
The earlier action had been hard-fought. William Lawson took a heat 2 win when Wilkinson overshot the opening bend, then Monarchs went ahead through their power pair of Worrall and Pickering. They added a 4-2 in heat 4 when Wilkinson fell.
There were then eight successive 3-3 heats, including two very crafty heat wins for Harris who showed his quality in beating Riss and Worrall. Palovaara managed a heat 8 win on a night when nothing else went right for him, and heat 12 was only shared at the last gasp when Pickering pulled off one of his last bend specials against Vissing. Then we entered the dramatic final three races.
So that's it for the Monarchs in 2018, a year which promised more than it delivered for the team. The Scottish Cup was a consolation. For Glasgow, the Playoffs lie ahead but they played their part in an enjoyable Armadale finale.
This week sees the curtain go down on the Staggs Bar Monarchs 70th anniversary season as the Glasgow Tigers make the short hop along the M8 to complete the Scottish Cup.
The Monarchs face a 10 point deficit from the first leg that was held at Ashfield way back on the 23rd of March. Much has changed since then no least the make-up of both teams this being added to by both sides requiring guests for this evening but after a disappointing season for the Monarchs the thought of finishing the season with a victory over our nearest rivals is a small crumb of comfort.
The visitors will be looking for a tune up ahead of their playoff clashes with Workington next week but are missing two of their septet with guests stepping in accordingly. Craig Cook has not admitted defeat in his hope of racing again this season but this week comes too soon for his wrist injury to have healed (although he would have been missing regardless with GP commitments) former Tigers number 1 Richard Lawson stepping in. Then at the bottom end Nathan Greaves continued absence is covered by Carl Wilkinson of Newcastle.
The rest of the Tigers are as per normal with Chris Harris, Claus Vissing and Paul Starke expected to provide the major back-up to Lawson. Harris in particular appears to be back on song as anyone who witnessed his Premiership heroics for Poole on BT Sport on Monday night can attest to. Vissing and Starke have had inconsistent seasons but both have had their moments at Armadale in the past and can never be discounted in any race. Key man for the Tigers could well be at second string in the form of James Sarjeant. The young Englishman is in the best form of his season just now and was a welcome guest for the Monarchs last week recording a battling 7 points against the Comets, a repeat of that performance tonight would go along way to the Tigers regaining the trophy.
At reserve Wilkinson will be expected to do most of the heavy lifting as youngster Jack Thomas has so far struggled to adapt to Armadale although he has shown flashes and with a weakened Monarchs lower end he will look to exploit this also.
For the home men Joel Andersson's season is over due to his broken foot and with the season winding down a championship calibre guest was impossible to find despite the best efforts and contact with several riders and as such David Wallinger deputises. Wallinger is always a willing participant having appeared in many junior events at Armadale. This may well mean that the pressure steps onto William Lawson who will look to round his comeback off with a big score. With the potential for a dip in reserve scoring that puts added pressure onto the top 5 which sees a change in line-up due to the October averages. Erik Riss makes the jump to number 1 with Ricky stepping into number 5. Victor, Josh and Richie will continue to provide the engine room and all will be looking for a big score to end their Monarchs year with only Richie having anything to race for in the Premiership also.
So one last chance to see your Blue and Gold favourites before the long cold winter sets in, with a trophy on the line and a busload of Tigers in town there really is only one place to be to find out if the Monarchs can lift the cup and that's trackside.
For the final time this year, see you there!
Friday 5th October 2018, 9:54pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs were victorious in the most dramatic fashion with the result in deadlock after 30 heats, setting the stage for a run off to decide the destination of the Scottish Cup.
Thursday 4th October 2018, 10:30am
The Staggs Bar Monarchs bring down the curtain on the 2018 season on Friday night at Armadale with the second leg of the Scottish Cup against Glasgow, needing to win by more than 10 points to take the trophy.
Sunday 30th September 2018, 5:00pm
Glasgow Tigers will provide the opposition for our final match of the season in the second leg of the Scottish Cup at Armadale on Friday 5th October.