Team Manager: George English
|1. Steve Worrall||3||1*||3||3||3||13||1|
|2. Ulrich Ostergaard||1||2||3||1||7||0|
|3. Lasse Bjerre||1||1||3||0||5||0|
|4. Matthew Wethers||3||3||2*||3||1||12||1|
|5. Paul Starke||2||2*||1*||2*||7||3|
|6. Max Clegg||3||3||2||1||2*||11||1|
|7. Danny Phillips||1||0||0||1||0|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Ricky Wells||2||2||3||0||7||0|
|2. Victor Palovaara||0||E||1*||0||1||1|
|3. Josh Pickering||2||0||2||3||2||9||0|
|4. Joel Andersson||0||1||0||1||2||0|
|5. Cameron Heeps||3||3||1||1||0||8||0|
|6. William Lawson||2||0||2||0||2*||0||6||1|
|7. Connor Coles||0||1||FD||1||0|
For the second year in a row the Staggs Bar Monarchs have exited the KO Cup at the semi final stage despite holding a handy first leg lead going down 56-34 against the Newcastle Diamonds on Sunday evening thus meaning an aggregate defeat of 94-86.
The Monarchs had headed south hoping that a 14 point advantage from the first leg would suffice but the writing was on the wall from the off and as so often has been the case on the road this season it was a lack of heat winners that was to cost the Monarchs dear.
8 of the first 10 heats were won by the hosts with only Cameron Heeps able to take the chequered flag for the Armadale men and the aggregate lead had swung to the home men by this point.
A truly remarkable heat 12 was won by Josh Pickering from 15 metres after his clutch had went, dragging him into the tapes the Aussie star saying after the match ''14 up going into today so it's disappointing to go out. We knew we were going to be up against it, the track was a bit tricky early on but we came up short. There wasn't enough heat winners and that was the main thing. You need all 7 chipping in on a night like this and that didn't happen tonight it's not about what I do or Cameron does it's about what the team does. The better team won over the two legs though and that's it. It is annoying though and I think we through that away.''
It was a truly remarkable effort by both Josh and partner William Lawson in that heat 12 as the Diamonds gated on a 5-1 with Josh quickly in hot pursuit blasting round the fence, whether it was Josh's presence that meant that the two Newcastle riders Lasse Bjerre and Max Clegg were riding wider than they were comfortable with this allowed William Lawson to sneak under both and join his partner at the front. A sign of how good their efforts was being that Newcastle centre green announcer Roy Clarke described it as one of the most remarkable races he had ever seen at Brough Park.
This meant the Monarchs were back in front on aggregate but any hopes that this would provide a boost were quickly extinguished as the Diamonds rocketed from the start as they had done so often in each of the next two races to record maximum heat advantages of their own and the tie was over.
Heat 15 was another exceptional race with Pickering and Matthew Wethers passing and re-passing with the Monarch just taking 2nd on the line.
It has to be said despite the disappointment of the scoreline there was some excellent racing on the day unfortunately though this was due mostly to the Monarchs repeatedly missing the starts.
So it is the Diamonds who progress with no one able to argue they were not the better of the sides over the two legs as for the Monarchs attention now turns back to the Championship with ground to make up to clinch a place in the Play Offs.
The Staggs Bar Monarchs know exactly what is required as we head for Newcastle on Sunday evening in the 2nd leg of the KO cup semi final.
The first on Friday night was an ultra competitive affair with the Monarchs coming out on top by 14 points so it couldn't be simpler a defeat by less than that or better an the Monarchs are in the final.
That will not be an easy task though with the Diamonds on fine form at Brough Park and looking closer to full strength than they did on Friday.
Lasse Bjerre returns from illness although Thomas Jorgensen is still missing with a shoulder complaint. Glasgow's Paul Starke steps in on the back of a maximum at Ashfield on Friday night and having scored paid 12 on the Tigers victory at Brough earlier in the season.
Elsewhere the Diamonds will have the same riders in place albeit in a slightly different order. Ulrich Ostergaard moving to number 2 with Starke at 5.
The rest of the line-up were the Diamonds main men on Friday night with Steve Worrall, Matty Wethers and Max Clegg all in fine form. All 3 were paid for at least 2 victories in the 54-36 Diamonds victory over Scunthorpe last week and will need to be nullified if the Monarchs are to progress.
The Monarchs do have some pedigree and experience in their ranks round the northeast circuit though and although they will need to be at their best their is no reason why we can't expect big performances from the Blue and Gold. Ricky Wells and Josh Pickering both have excellent Brough records over the last couple of years while Cameron Heeps will be looking to improve on his trapping from our visit early in the season and we all know if he hits the front he takes some passing.
No one will have more to prove than Victor after being signed up then removed from the team by the Diamonds prior to the season while Joel will be looking for a little more consistency than shown on Friday.
The reserve battle could be key and how refreshing was it to see Willie pop out the gate and battle well for points in his last 2 rides on Friday night, a repeat of this required at Brough would go a long way to seeing the Monarchs reach the final.
The Monarchs last 5 visits to Brough have seen defeats of 10,16 and 2 points along with a draw and a Monarchs victory and of course 4 of those 5 results would do the job of matched on Sunday.
A tense affair lies ahead but the feeling in the Monarchs camp is that a result is achieve-able, the mindset in the team is not to defend a 14 point lead but to go out and treat the match like a one off. Every point will be vital though and we can't afford any passengers.
Can the boys do it? A strong traveling support is expected to cheer on the boys but for those not in attendance live updates will be available on the official website.