Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Ricky Wells||1*||3||3||2||3||3||15||1|
|2. Justin Sedgmen||2||0||2||0|
|3. Matthew Wethers||2||1*||1*||2||6||2|
|4. Joel Andersson||R||2||3||2||0||7||0|
|5. Cameron Heeps||2||2||2||0||1||7||0|
|6. William Lawson||3||1*||0||1||1*||0||6||2|
|7. Luke Ruddick||F||0||0|
Team Manager: Cameron Brown
|1. Craig Cook||3||3||3||3||2||14||0|
|2. James Sarjeant||0||0||0||0||0|
|3. Rasmus Jensen||1||1||2||3||7||0|
|4. Claus Vissing||3||3||1*||2||9||1|
|5. Paul Starke||3||2||3||1||0||9||0|
|6. Connor Coles||1*||1*||0||1||3||2|
|7. Kyle Bickley||2||0||2||0||1*||5||1|
Glasgow duly qualified for the semi-finals of the Championship Shield with a 47-43 victory at Armadale tonight. The visitors rode hard, rode as a team and in most cases produced performances close to their potential, something which the Staggs Bar Monarchs didn't do. Not many would begrudge Tigers their win.
And yet… the sum total of the bad luck suffered by Monarchs during the week has been really substantial. Losing Josh Pickering on Wednesday at Birmingham, followed by Luke Ruddick in heat 2 tonight, then Justin Sedgmen in heat 8. Add in Joel Andersson's night which started with a blown engine in heat 3, and ended in heat 14 with a bolt coming out of his forks when on a 5-1 which might even at the last gasp have brought Monarchs a draw.
That is some level of misfortune. But it's also true that the only home man really on song was Ricky Wells. After a couple of meetings below his usual standards he won four heats and let another one slip against Craig Cook, who he did gain a victory over in heat 15.
Alex Harkess said "We had a lot of bad luck certainly, and we missed Josh Pickering, but I wasn't happy with the performances of some of our riders. Glasgow took their chances, I don't begrudge them their win and it certainly helps when you have a rider who is going to win nearly every race."
Matthew Wethers stood in for Josh Pickering and did his usual solid job, but didn't manage to replace the kind of performances or scoring which Pickering has been producing. Matthew's best ride was heat 12 which he led most of the way before being caught by an excellent Rasmus Jensen overtake.
Cameron Heeps gave it his all but was gating poorly which is reflected in his score. He grabbed another of his amazing last gasp second places in heat 7 when he passed Jensen, and he was involved in an excellent heat 15 joust with Wells and Cook.
Joel Andersson scored when his machinery allowed, taking an Injury Rider Replacement for Sedgmen and winning heat 8. Heat 14 was a huge disappointment for him as his forks problem sent him to the back.
William Lawson worked hard in his six races, winning heat 2 and thereafter having a few tussles with the opposition reserves. He should still be capable of more.
Luke Ruddick's night lasted only a few yards as he went into a speed wobble on his way to the first bend and came off. He was then ruled out of the rest of the night, in a meeting in which we hoped that the home reserves would have the upper hand.
Justin Sedgmen started with a second place, followed by a very disappointing fourth in heat 6. He looked completely lacking in confidence as he failed to capitalise on a good start. Then he briefly led heat 8 but had Sarjeant come alongside him, and cause a big pileup on the entry to turn three which required fence repairs. That was sadly the end of Sedgy's night and with Luke also out, we had to run with one rider only (Wells) in heat 10.
Just to add one final thing to incidents which didn't go our way, we had the curious case of heat 3. We have a photo which will no doubt be appearing on social media, showing Rasmus Jensen's wheel in the tapes which are consequently bent at a considerable angle. In spite of this, the race was allowed to start, Vissing winning from Wethers with Jensen third as Andersson's engine blew. So in spite of his blatant tape touch, Jensen scored a point, and was then issued with a post-race warning!
For Glasgow, of course Cook was in superb form and didn't lose until the match was already over. Starke and Vissing were also as good as they have been round Armadale, and Jensen wasn't far behind.
Sarjeant didn't have a good night but the reserves would be pleased with their 8 points combined total.
We hope for a change of luck in the weeks to come but are not quibbling too much about tonight's result.
After the disappointment of the late rain off a few weeks back we go again in the re-arrangement of our Championship Shield match against local rivals Glasgow in the last match in the group stages.
With the preceding results meaning the Staggs Bar Monarchs can no longer qualify for the semi final that does not mean there is nothing riding on this meeting as of course it is a local derby and those are never meaningless not to mention the fact that the Tigers can qualify for those semi's with a draw or better.
Any victory for the home men will end the Tigers hopes so the visitors will be sure to be even more determined to score a victory. With that in mind there has been a little bit of a shuffling of the pack by team boss Cami Brown in the hope of adding some strength to the pairings.
These changes have no affect at number 1 where Craig Cook is the talisman of the team, Cook is on one of his incredible runs that we so often saw when he was a Monarch currently averaging a remarkable average of 11.22 for the season so far. It would appear that Cook's winter of discontent in the Premiership has truly focussed him on his Championship commitments with the Tigers being the major beneficiary of this so far.
The reshuffle then comes in the engine room behind Cook with Paul Starke being moved to number 5 leaving a strong middle pairing of Rasmus Jensen and Claus Vissing . With Starke's excellent previous record at Armadale the hope here appears to be that the Englishman will look after himself there while the Danish duo can take advantage of Josh Pickering's absence and provide a strong middle order.
James Sarjeant remains at number 2 with the young Englishman now well settled in at Ashfield and enjoying a strong season also, Sarjeant is another with some fantastic Armadale performances on his resume and if he is firing tonight then a tough night lies in store.
At reserve the Tigers will look for the excellent form of Kyle Bickley to continue and lead the way, Bickley did not find Armadale to his liking last year but this year has seen a massive step forward for the young Cumbrian under the tutelage of Cook with fantastic scoring almost everywhere. With the stepping down of Luke Chessell leading to a 28 day guest facility the Tigers once again turn to Connor Coles for this match after his strong efforts in the Eastbourne double header last weekend. Coles was instrumental in the victory away form home with a 6 point haul and a repeat of this would really put him in the frame for a permanent position.
So the home men's task is simple win and deny the Tigers that semi spot, this task was made all the harder on Wednesday night with Josh's heavy fall in heat 15, reports form the track were this was a frightening looking off and everyone was relieved to hear that Josh escaped relatively unscathed with concussion and some shoulder ligament damage the prognosis, this would appear to mean a couple of weeks rest and with the Monarchs not back in action till the 8th of June away to Leicester there is time for Josh to rest up.
Stepping in for Pickering this week is Monarchs legend Matty Wethers, Wethers is the most experienced man in the league around our track and is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in form this year. A 2019 average of 7.90 attests to this and of course there is no one better at the tight inside swoop at the Dale than Wethers so hopefully we will see a few of those this week.
The absence of Josh will put additional pressure on the rest though and no doubts this will need to be picked up by the heat leaders. It was another disappointing away performance at Perry Barr during the week with only 3 heat winners again being the Achilles heel, the home form has been different to this though and it is imperative that Ricky, Cameron and Justin maintain there excellent home form so far. Joel had his best home match of the season slast week with a paid 7 score and he will be looking to build on this meanwhile the job of the reserves remains the same with Luke no doubt hoping for a less damaging night for his machinery after another expensive couple of crashes this week. While Willie really needs to start showing the talent and experience he has and turn this into bigger point hauls.
A barn storming derby lies ahead with a heavy Glasgow presence in attendance on the third bend a certainty as they smell blood and travel in expectation of clinching a semi final slot, the job for the Staggs Bar Monarchs riders is simply to win and stop this and the job for the Monarchs fans to cheer even louder than normal and give the guys the lift required.
As always there is only one place to see all the action and that is trackside.
See you there!
Friday 24th May 2019, 8:25pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs fell 43-47 to the Glasgow Tigers at Armadale this evening. Top scorer for the Monarchs was Ricky Wells with 15+1 while Craig Cook led the way for the visitors with 14 The Staggs Bar Monarchs also lost the services of Justin Sedgmen and Luke Ruddick during the course of the match to injury updates will be provided when available.
Thursday 23rd May 2019, 9:00pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs will use old favourite Matthew Wethers as a guest against Glasgow tomorrow in the final Championship Shield match of the season.
Tuesday 21st May 2019, 6:48pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs expect the biggest Armadale crowd of the season for the visit of Glasgow in the last Championship Shield match of the qualifying stages, with the Tigers requiring a draw at least to qualify for the semi-finals.