Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Ricky Wells||1*||2||2*||1*||1*||7||4|
|2. Victor Palovaara||2||0||1*||3||3||9||1|
|3. Rider Replacement||0||0|
|4. Joel Andersson||2||2||2*||1||2||9||1|
|5. Cameron Heeps||3||3||3||2||2||2||15||0|
|6. William Lawson||2||0||0||0||2||0|
|7. Connor Coles||1*||0||0||0||0||1||1|
Team Manager: Cameron Brown
|1. Craig Cook||3||3||3||3||3||15||0|
|2. James Sarjeant||0||1*||1||2||1|
|3. Rasmus Jensen||1||2||1||3||0||7||0|
|4. Claus Vissing||3||1*||0||3||7||1|
|5. Paul Starke||1*||3||F||0||4||1|
|6. Kyle Bickley||0||3||2||2||2*||1||10||1|
|7. Connor Bailey||0||0||F||0||0|
It was certainly a dramatic night at Armadale tonight, with Glasgow winning 45-43 and maintaining their unbeaten record in the league. They had the unbeatable Cook, and the others did what they had to do and avoided throwing silly points away.
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But the Staggs Bar Monarchs know that they could and should have won, with the phrase "architects of their own downfall" being particularly relevant. The night had begun with guest Kyle Howarth withdrawing from the meeting for what was announced to be "a family problem" and rider replacement was a poor substitute (4 points) for the missing Josh Pickering.
Alex Harkess said "It's desperately disappointing because we know we should have had a better result. Some of the points we threw away were very poor and luck seemed to be right against us as well."
In scoring the full 15, Craig Cook didn't even need to make the start, he was so far ahead of every other rider. He came from the back in heat 1 to pass Victor Palovaara, and even though the Monarchs pair of Wells and Heeps made the gate in the final race Cook sliced between them with ease to make victory certain for his team.
The other rider who deserves great praise from the Tigers is no. 6 Kyle Bickley who showed great tenacity as well as decent gating to rack up 10+1. That simply left riders like Vissing, Jensen and Starke to return reasonable scores in order to ensure victory.
Edinburgh's main scorer was Cameron Heeps who won his first three rides before suffering three defeats by Cook. It was the Aussie's highest score at Armadale.
Monarchs' only other race winner was Victor Palovaara who had a mixed night but finished with two wins. Ricky Wells didn't win a heat but he did suffer in a heat 6 crash with Paul Starke when the riders locked together out of the start and ploughed into the fence.
Wells said "My problem was that I couldn't get off the bike and I hit the fence hard. My wrist and arm were very sore which meant I couldn't hold on well, and I had to stick on the inside line."
Joel Andersson scored 9+1 but missed out in possibly the two most important heats of the night, heats 12 and 14. If ever Monarchs needed victories these were the heats, but Joel was too easily brushed aside. He lost a 5-1 to Jensen and Bickley in heat 12, and was beaten by Vissing in heat 14
There were not nearly enough points from the home reserves. Nobody could possibly blame Connor Coles who tried tremendously hard and had one outstanding ride in heat 4 when he held third ahead of Starke, and then went round Bickley to set up a 5-1 with Heeps. He then stopped entering the last lap – and admitted afterwards that he had miscounted the laps! That will be a lesson learnt.
He also impressed in heat 8 in which he tried everything to pass Sarjeant and Bickley but could not quite get there.
His fellow reserve William Lawson, though, just isn't delivering what he ought to be capable of. He scored 2 and should have had a gift in heat 5 when Sarjeant failed to finish. However he was excluded following the race when it was realised he had pulled his second bike from his van without it undergoing the necessary examinations – a ridiculous error.
It would certainly have been an entertaining night for a neutral fan. Glasgow went three up after that Lawson lost point, but Edinburgh took a 5-0 from heat 9 (they were on a 5-1 but Starke and Bailey both fell). That was followed by a Palovaara – Wells 5-1 from heat 10 and suddenly Monarchs were six up!
However Edinburgh didn't manage a race winner over the final 5 heats, with heats 12 and 14 really being the key races. Glasgow did what they had to do and there's no arguing with that.
The big matches keep on coming as the Staggs Bar Monarchs welcome our nearest and dearest rivals the Glasgow Tigers to Armadale on Friday night in SGB Championship action.
The Tigers have made a storming start to the season and with a victory at Armadale this year already under their belts they will travel with no fear as they look to keep the momentum going.
The men from the west have already secured a Championship Shield semi final spot, with Redcar sitting in the way of reaching the same stage of the KO Cup, 3 wins out of 3 in the league including an away win at Eastbourne also confirms the form being shown.
This charge is of course led by Craig Cook, Cook is in one of those quite frankly ridiculous runs of form we seen so often in Monarchs colours where the belief is he will go through the card every time he takes to the track, a 11.30 average and 41 heat wins in 46 starts gives testament to this and it would be a real boost to the Monarchs if someone could lower his colours early on Friday evening.
Backup for Cook has come from a solid top 5 with each of Rasmus Jensen, Claus Vissing, Paul Starke and James Sarjeant having had their moments. Jensen has been one of the signings of the season after his move from Workington impressing not just for the Tigers but for the Swindon Robins in the Premiership and at home in Denmark where he took a podium place in the national championships last month. Vissing is a former Monarch who at his combative best can be lightning from the gate and a hard man to pass.
Englishman Starke and Sarjeant are two that would class Armadale as among their favourite tracks to visit with both having excellent meetings in West Lothian on their resume not least Starke who has taken the chequered flag on multiple occasions on each of his most recent visits.
At reserve Kyle Bickley will be expected to be the main man, Bickley perhaps fortuitously fell into the Tigers laps with the closure of the aforementioned Comets but fortune favours the brave as they say and the Tigers have certainly benefitted from his sharp gating and steady riding an increase of over 3 points on his average so far shows that improvement.
Joining Bickley at reserve will be newcomer Connor Bailey, a shrewd coup by the Tigers management when they brought him over from Australia to replace Luke Chessell. Bailey slots in at reserve due to partiality and with a National League place already snapped up the Tigers will be looking for the kind of impact made by the likes of Matthew Wethers or Rory Schlein who the Monarchs both used in similar situations in their formative years although Bailey will be given all the time he needs to adjust with no real pressure on his shoulders.
That's more than enough talking nice about the Tigers though (I might need a quick shower now after that) with the best will in the world the Staggs Bar Monarchs should not be concerned with what is on the other side of the pits with their own performances all that matters.
A couple of changes to the line-up take place with the injury bug showing no sign of abating. Last week's reserve guest Connor Coles moves into the team fully as an injury replacement for Luke, with no known return date for Luke the move was made to make sure that Coles is available for all of the Monarchs fixtures and if he can ride in the same steady fashion as he did ironically while guesting for the Tigers earlier in the season then he will have done his job.
Josh's comeback lasted all of one lap last week before he slid off and re-jarred the shoulder that had seen him miss the previous month, Kyle Howarth of Sheffield stepping in with big shoes to fill.
Elsewhere we are as expected with many viewing the key men as being at opposite ends of the team. Ricky and William have both admitted they have not been overly happy with how their seasons have went so far with a lack of consistency the main bug bear, big performances required from both this week to make sure the Tigers head home pointless.
Our dynamic duo of Swedes will be looking to build on promising weekends last week Victor returning with a man of the match performance on Friday night while Joel enjoyed his best matches of the season hitting double digits at home last Friday paid 9 at Redcar and 5 from 2 rides at Peterborough on Sunday in the Fours, repeats of both of these performances also required.
Cameron Heeps has been in scintillating passing form but he will be looking for the easier life that getting out of the start gives you as up against opposition of this quality you cannot afford to give them any advantage.
So a huge match lies ahead, the weather forecast is playing ball, the visitors are full of confidence and a colossal tie looks in prospect.
There is no better place to be than at a Scottish derby so let's all get out there and shout on our favourites.
See you there!
Wednesday 26th June 2019, 5:00pm
This Friday's match at Armadale is one of the main events of the Scottish season every year – the Championship fixture between the two Scottish giants, Monarchs and Tigers.
Wednesday 26th June 2019, 12:29pm
We are pleased to announce that Connor Coles is coming in to the Staggs Bar Monarchs' team and making his debut on Friday. He will be an injury replacement for Luke Ruddick, one of three of our riders who are currently on the injured list. Luke's return date is unclear.