Team Manager: Stewart Dickson
|1. Scott Nicholls||2||2*||3||1*||0||8||2|
|2. Ellis Perks||1*||1||3||2*||7||2|
|3. Josh Bates R/R||0||0|
|4. Ryan Douglas||F||1||1*||2||3||7||1|
|5. Richard Lawson||3||3||3||2||2||1||14||0|
|6. Joe Lawlor||FD||0||1*||1||1|
|7. Connor Mountain||3||1||0||1||2||1*||2*||10||2|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Sam Masters||3||3||3||3||3||15||0|
|2. Ricky Wells||0||2*||2||0||4||1|
|3. Josh Pickering||2*||2||1||3||2*||10||2|
|4. William Lawson||3||1*||0||FD||4||1|
|5. Cameron Heeps||2||R||3||0||5||0|
|6. Matt Marson||1*||1||0||2||1|
|7. Connor Coles||2||0||0||0||R||2||0|
The Staggs Bar Monarchs put up a much improved away performance taking a point from league topping Leicester Lions after a 47-42 defeat in the Midlands on Wednesday night.
The catalyst to this improved performance was undoubtedly reintroduced number 1 Sam Masters who raced to a faultless 15 point maximum giving the Monarchs the much needed boost in the big heats that has been lacking so far.
Monarchs team boss John Campbell saying after "What a difference it is to have someone you think can win every race he is in, it gives everyone a lift and Sam was majestic, I actually thought we were going to win the match at one point but the track dried off a little and the home riders got dialled in. Though to come to the league leaders make them use a tactical and get a point I'm happy with. People have written us off but there are plenty of meetings left to run and we can use this as a springboard. Everyone was battling hard and I can't complain the point is the least we deserved and well done to the boys in heat 15 for getting the 5-1 we needed."
The Monarchs recent re-jig of personnel and riding order has been designed to give the team a boost at the start of meetings and this looked to be well worked as the Monarchs raced into a 6 point lead after only 5 races. Heat wins for Masters in two of these being backed up by a surprise maximum result in heat 3 with William Lawson jetting from the start to put paid to concerns he would be a weak link after his promotion to the main body of the team.
The downside to this lead was it allowed the home men the use of a tactical ride and they used this immediately and to good effect bringing in top scorer Richard Lawson in the very next heat and recording a maximum of their own.
The home men then levelled the score in the 8th race when Ellis Perks got the better of Ricky Wells, Wells being perhaps the Monarchs only disappointment on the night. The Lions would then take their first lead of the night after heat 10 when 7 time British champ Scott Nicholls rode a very clever first lap to block Josh Pickering's outside run thus allowing Perks to pick up 2nd as well.
Disaster looked to have struck in the penultimate race, with the Monarchs trailing by 4 at this point a heat advantage was required to maintain any chance of victory. As it was the worst possible result was to come as first Lawson bit the dust on the first corner. The Auchterarder man was at fault so he was disqualified from the re-run. In that second attempt Monarchs sole participant Connor Coles ground to a halt gifting the home men a 5-0 advantage.
This meant that only a 5-1 for the Monarchs would do in the last race to secure a point, Masters again was imperious from the start and this time Pickering would not be denied as he joined his compatriot at the front. 4 faultless laps later and it was a well deserved point for the Armadale men and a much need boost to the camp as they look to get themselves back into playoff contention.
It is the first look at the new look Staggs Bar Monarchs on Wednesday evening and the task could not be tougher as we head to current league leaders in SGB Championship action.
The big news of the week was of course the return to the Monarchs colours of Sam Masters and Sam will mark his re-introduction to the side with the number 1 race jacket on his back and an inflated average of 10.78 to live up to. We all knew what Sam is capable of though and with 13 matches left in the league including this one the time was right to make the change.
The signing of Masters meant that a second change was required and we also welcome to the fold young Matt Marson. Matt was brought to our attention by Cameron Heeps who he has ridden with in Western Australia. Currently plying his trade in the National League for Mildenhall Marson will slot in at reserve and with his relative inexperience there will be no pressure put on him for big points.
Elsewhere these signings also mean a re-jig in order with Ricky Wells moving to number 2 and William Lawson to number 4. This may have surprised a few but this gives the Monarchs probably the best opening combo in the league and the hope is this will get us off to strong starts in meetings as not only in heat 1 will Sam and Ricky combine but Ricky will have his 4 programmed rides in the first 2 thirds of the meeting.
The hope also will be that the promotion into the main body of the team will make little difference to William such is his temperament. Lawson showed improved form at the weekend against Newcastle and this needs to continue.
Josh and Cameron will continue to line up at 3 and 5 respectively with the 2 having been the highlights of the season so far with their continued progression and exciting style anyone in attendance at Newcastle on Sunday being witness to that, not least the race of the season from 15 metres.
The home men were tipped as league favourites before a wheel was turned and so far they have lived up to that billing sitting 5 points clear at the top of the table.
The Lions are not without issues of their own though with Richie Worrall lost for a long spell with a multiple ankle fracture and Josh Bates also out having had an operation on his neck after a crash at Peterborough on Monday. Richard Lawson steps in for Worrall while rider replacement will operate for Bates with all bar number 1 Scott Nicholls allowed an extra ride.
At reserve Joe Lawlor is a recent introduction to the team after Jack Thomas became another who felt he was not getting any enjoyment out of the sport.
The team is lead by the ageless Scott Nicholls who continues to exude class at this level whereas signing of the season might be Ryan Douglas who has returned from a year out with visa issues to post his best ever year in the sport.
Ellis Perks and Connor Mountain are both progressing in their careers as well and have been key man for the Lions.
So a new look Monarchs team with 2 riders making their debuts, 2 riders moving into different positions in the team and all with a visit to the league leaders who have not allowed anyone to leave with so much as a consolation point. Easy right!
As allows all we can ask for and we know what we will get is the best efforts from all involved and who knows maybe we can spring a surprise.
For those not in attendance live updates as always are available on the Monarchs website.