Team Manager: Dave Peet
|1. Josh Auty||1*||3||3||3||3||13||1|
|2. Stefan Nielsen||2||1||3||2*||1||9||1|
|3. Jason Garrity||R||3||2||2||7||0|
|4. Danny Ayers||1||2*||1*||1||5||2|
|5. Jake Allen||2||3||3||0||8||0|
|6. Ryan Kinsley||2*||0||0||0||2||1|
|7. Josh Bailey||3||1*||1||0||5||1|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Ricky Wells||3||0||2||2||0||7||0|
|2. Justin Sedgmen||0||1||2||1*||4||1|
|3. Josh Pickering||3||2||0||3||8||0|
|4. Joel Andersson||2*||1*||1||3||7||2|
|5. Cameron Heeps||3||2||3||1*||2||11||1|
|6. William Lawson||1||0||0||1||2*||4||1|
|7. Luke Ruddick||0||0||0||0||0|
The Staggs Bar Monarchs dug deep to come away from Scunthorpe only 8 down in the first leg of the KO Cup first round.
It was an up and down meeting with most of the Monarchs having their moments the same being able to be said for the hosts.
Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell saying after "I had a bit of a fear after Friday that we might get beat by 20 today and at times tonight it looked like that might be the case but we battled hard and I think we have a good chance in the second leg.
"I think Willie helped turn it around at the end of the match, the reserves in this league are mostly to an extant novices and Willie should be doing well against these guys, he struggled early but he turned it around today and that certainly helped."
The Monarchs started brightly winning 3 of the first 4 heats although it has to be said there was a hint of good fortune to this as Jason Garrity ground to a halt in heat 3 allowing Josh and Joel to take a 5-1. However we matched these heat wins with last places and it was all square.
Heat 5 was a disaster for the Monarchs as Garrity and Ayres rocketed from the start to take maximum points against Ricky Wells and Justin Sedgmen and when the Scorpions followed this up with a 4-2 in then ext heat things were starting to look ominous for the Blue and Gold.
Further heat advantages in heats 8 and 10 meant the home men had now built up a 12 point lead and had a head of steam.
As the Monarchs have so often done in the past though the Monarchs dug deep with Willie Lawson the catalyst, Lawson had looked underpowered and hadn't troubled the scorers prior to this but off the favoured inside gate Lawson hit the front, his partner Josh Pickering coming round the outside to join him. A tough battle ensued for the next 3 laps with Jason Garrity getting round Lawson on the 3rd lap, Lawson was not finished though and his cut back off the 3rd bend of the last lap was oh so very close to sneaking a 5-1. As it was a 4-2 was just reward for our efforts and the lead was back to 10.
Heat 13 was another enjoyable race with Auty out in front of Wells, the impressive Cameron Heeps and Jake Allen had a ding dong battle, a share of the spoils being the outcome.
Heat 14 could turn out to be key for the Monarchs and what a race it was. Joel Andersson rocketed from the inside gate with that man Lawson getting round the field to join him at the front. The next 3 and a half laps were as close as they come with all 4 riders within feet of each other throughout. Going into the last lap it looked like things were going to fall apart for the Monarchs as Scorpions debutant Danny Ayres found space under Lawson, at the same time his partner Ryan Kinsley went for the outside blast and it looked for all intents and purposes like Lawson's effort would be in vain. The Scot was to have other ideas though executing a fantastic cut back off the final bend to take 2nd back by the narrowest of margins.
A last heat 4-2 advantage to the home men gives the score a nicer shine to them but overall the feeling in the Monarchs camp was one of subdued satisfaction.
After blowing off the cobwebs on Friday night it's into the real deal for the Staggs Bar Monarchs this Sunday as they head to Scunthorpe in the first round of the KO Cup.
The Monarchs have a decent record at the Eddie Wright Raceway but as always at the start of a new season predictions are always hard to gauge.
The Scorpions have had a tough start to the season with 3 fixtures so far all against teams tipped for a playoff push in Sheffield and Leicester. This led to an early team change with 17 year old Jed List being the unlucky one to make way and former Glasgow man Danny Ayres stepping in.
This will be Ayres debut although he did look to be well on the pace at Berwick the other week before being unlucky to get caught up in a second bend incident and sitting out the rest of the meeting.
The Scorpions have not been towards the top of the division the last few years but the feeling is this has been down to bad luck as much as anything with last year's team in particular losing Steve Worrall in the first match of the season to a broken leg this being closely followed by Stefan Nielsen, this meaning that promoter Rob Godfrey has went with riders he knows with most of the 2019 team have been involved before.
The team has strength in depth approach with any of their top 3 Josh Auty, Jake Allen and Jason Garrity all capable of leading the way on any given night. Backup to this top 3 comes in the form of the aforementioned Nielsen and now Ayres.
The reserve pairing like many in the league this year is built on youthfulness and the hope of improvement. Josh Bailey is the senior reserve having had 2 spells with the Scorpions already he will be looking to kick on while Ryan Kinsley is the new kid on the block but he looks impressive with a 7 point home debut including 2 heat wins against Leicester last week.
So a tough looking task awaits the Staggs Bar Monarchs but it is one they are sure to relish. Everyone in attendance on Friday will have been happy with the performances of Josh, Cameron and Luke and the Monarchs faithful are all aware of what Ricky, Justin, Joel and William are capable off. Our recent record at Scunthorpe is excellent with 4 victories in our last 5 visits, although that one defeat was on our last visit when we fell by 16 points.
As this is the cup all 7 will need to weigh in with tactical options limited to reserve switches only, as always with any 2 legged affair when the away leg comes first the name of the game may well be to keep it as tight as possible but as always with the Monarchs we will be heading south looking to come home with the spoils.
Can the Monarchs do it, keep an eye on the Monarchs website and social media for updates and for those in attendance..... see you there!
Saturday 13th April 2019, 1:03am
The Staggs Bar Monarchs finished 20 points adrift of Wolverhampton in their opening night challenge match which at least got us off the launch pad for the new season.