Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||3||3||2*||2*||13||2|
|2. Nathan Greaves - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. William Lawson||0||1||1||0||0||2||0|
|4. Josh Pickering||3||3||2*||3||3||14||1|
|5. Richie Worrall||1||3||3||3||3||13||0|
|6. Tom Woolley||1||0||0||1||0|
|7. Kye Thomson||3||3||0||3||2*||2||2*||15||2|
Team Manager: Steve Pate
|1. Ben Barker||2||2||2||2||1||0||9||0|
|2. Adam Roynon - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. Connor Mountain||R||1*||1||1||1||4||1|
|4. Max Clegg||2||2||0||1||5||0|
|5. Matthew Wethers||2||2||1*||R||1||6||1|
|6. James Wright||1*||2||0||1*||0||1*||3||8||3|
|7. Ryan Terry-Daley||0||0||0||0||0|
The What the Fork Monarchs scored 58 points for the second successive match and had little difficulty seeing off the challenge of Newcastle, who had managed a much better score on their earlier Knockout Cup visit.
Nathan Greaves missed the match after crashing at a Team GB session the day before, which allowed extra rides for Josh Pickering and Kye Thomson, ensuring four massive scores at the top of the scorechart – Pickering and Sam Masters recorded five ride paid maximums and Richie Worrall would also have had a full score but for miscounting the laps in heat 4.
At no. 7 the increasingly confident-looking Kye Thomson piled up 15 plus 2 bonus from 7 rides, his highest yet.
Monarchs captain Sam Masters said "Big scores for all the boys and we need that confidence boost for a busy month coming up. We need to be on our game and we all are!"
Only William Lawson of the regular team members didn't enjoy a points spree, finishing with a disappointing two-point score.
The only Newcastle rider to take the chequered flag was reserve James Wright in heat 14, in which a neat inside line on the opening bends saw him overhaul Thomson and pull away.
The main entertainer for the Diamonds was Ben Barker, who was looking lively – his only flaw was that he wasn't gating. He certainly gave Sam Masters a tough race in heat 15, one of the best of the night, and in every heat Ben gave it his all.
The best move though has to go to the amazing Pickering once again, when he trailed Mountain and Wright in heat 8. There seemed to be no room but he pulled off a sensational outside pass of both Diamonds.
It's the big match against League leaders Glasgow next Friday, and while Greaves should be back, Monarchs will no longer have the benefit of Thomson at reserve.
Action, incident and absorbing speedway dominated the latest in Edinburgh's series of two-pronged weekends. Victory over Berwick Bandits on both Friday and Saturday bagged the Monarch's a maximum seven league points sending them soaring in pursuit of then Championship leaders Glasgow.
Edinburgh remain in third spot in the table but the margin between the Scottish rivals has shrunk from nine points to five with the Ashfield Tigers having ridden two meetings more than their West of the country counterparts.
Friday's home win followed a somewhat regular pattern for the current season in that it was only late on in the meeting that the Monarchs stretched a lead that had remained too close for too long.
This can be easily explained by the fact that no fewer than nine of the fifteen heats ended all square at 3-3.
Sam and Nathan got the guys off to the ideal start with a 5-1 in the opening heat but there seemed no way of shrugging off the raft of 3-3s that followed. From Heats 2 to 7 it was stalemate after stalemate as the Bandits refused to relinquish their grip on their tartan neighbours. Then in Heat 11 Etheridge and Gappmaier logged an obstinate 5-1 pegged the gap back to just two points.
Fortunately for the Monarchs, this would be Berwick's only race advantage all evening and, by the finish, Edinburgh's winning margin had increased to 10 points thereby denying their opponents even the consolation of a bonus point.
After Friday comes Saturday and it was off to the borders for a decidedly tricky rematch. Any pickings gathered from the likes of Shielfield Park are a real boon for visiting teams, but few expect to leave with the maximum 4-point haul. But that's exactly what the Monarch's achieved. Leading from start to finish, the Monarchs were simply untouchable. In typical style, skipper Sam led the way with a paid maximum, while every single member of the septet clocked up at least one race win. And that is something that doesn't happen every day.
And on a night where the sum of the parts was overshadowed by the whole, it's surely forgivable to sneak in the briefest of mentions for guest Drew Kemp who's excellent eight points from reserve included two first places.
This weekend sees the return to the 'Dale of Newcastle Diamonds, this time on Championship business. June's Knockout Cup clash between the sides was settled in Edinburgh's favour only after a convincing 52-38 mauling at Brough Park in the return leg. At Armadale, the Monarchs led by four points with four heats to go. Cue a real nip and tuck finale with both sides indulging in what can only be described as a crazy game of 5-1 tennis. Luckily, going into Heat 15 with the score level at 42-42, it was Edinburgh's turn to serve up the last 5-1 of the evening and the doubles pairing of Ritchie and Sam didn't disappoint.
Still, a four-point advantage with the Tyneside leg to come felt a bit flimsy to say the least. We needn't have worried, though. From the moment Nathan and guest Stevie Worrall forged a Heat 1 lead, the Monarchs remained well in command of the tie before Heat 13's whitewash by the brothers Worrall finally secured passage into the next round.
For their part, Newcastle suffered significantly from the absence injury-hit Ben Barker with neither guest replacement, Kyle Howarth at Armadale nor Tero Aarnio at Brough Park, able to register a score anything approaching what the Diamonds hoped they'd be capable of. Barker's back, though, and getting stronger with every outing. Sadly, Ben's return has coincided with the loss of Adam Roynan, again through injury. On Friday, the Diamonds will cover his absence with rider replacement.
Two riders in the Newcastle team who hold a passing acquaintance with the Armadale track are Matthew Wethers and Max Clegg. Indeed, one might describe them as experts around the circuit. I'm sure both will relish meeting up with an old friend come Friday. Connor Mountain may have less of an association with the notoriously challenging Lothian Arena, but the Norfolk-born ace has increased his average by almost two points since the start of the season and will be one to watch at the weekend.
If any positives at all could be taken from Newcastle's Knockout Cup exit, it had to have been the double-figure performances in both legs by reserve James Wright. It can be of no surprise to anyone that form such as this will earn him a step up to the main body of the team to come with an average bettered only in the Diamonds' set-up by Roynan and Wethers but a very handy reserve he will be on Friday.
The No.7 jacket will be worn by another guest, former Newcastle Gem, Ryan Terry-Daley who deputises for Archie Freeman.
For Edinburgh, Joe Lawlor isn't ready to return from self-isolation so Tom Woolley deputises and after his nasty spill (nothing broken thankfully) at a Team GB practice session, Nathan Greaves misses out. Rider replacement will be employed. The Monarchs might go into Friday's clash as confirmed favourites but, going by the closeness of most of their home results this season, it's doubtful they will have things their own way quite so easily.
The weather gods are playing ball with a glorious day forecast so why not get yourself along to cheer on your favourites, if that isn't possible then EMTV have you covered with the match live streamed across the world from the Monarchs website.
Wednesday 14th July 2021, 6:02pm
Friday's Armadale action sees the Newcastle GEC Diamonds return in a Championship fixture, some six weeks after they pushed the What the Fork Monarchs close (47-43) in a Knockout Cup tie.
Wednesday 14th July 2021, 12:00pm
Order your copy of the What The Fork Monarchs v Newcastle Diamonds Matchday Magazine now - a perfect accompaniment to your EMTV:Live experience!