|MATCH POSTPONED: Tonight's match at Armadale Stadium against Glasgow Tigers has been postponed due to heavy rain. The match will be restaged this Friday 22nd October at 7:30pm. Full details on tickets and streams to follow.|
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||2||3||0||8||0|
|2. Nathan Greaves||1||0||0||1||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||0||1||0||1||2||0|
|4. Josh Pickering||2||3||3||3||11||0|
|5. Richie Worrall||2||3||2||2||9||0|
|6. Joe Lawlor||1*||0||0||1||1|
|7. William Lawson||2||R||3||1||3||0||9||0|
Team Manager: Cami Brown
|1. Craig Cook||FD||2||3||1||6||0|
|2. Sam Jensen||2||0||2||1||5||0|
|3. Ricky Wells||3||2||2||2||9||0|
|4. Broc Nicol||1||1*||0||2||4||1|
|5. Ulrich Ostergaard||3||3||2||3||11||0|
|6. Connor Bailey||0||1||1*||2||1|
|7. Justin Sedgmen||3||1||1*||0||1*||6||2|
The first Scottish derby for two years was a taut and tense affair going right to the wire, but it came to an unfortunate, unsatisfactory but apparently unavoidable conclusion and was abandoned after 14 heats with Glasgow winning 43-41.
First of all of course our best wishes go to Ulrich Ostergaard who piled full throttle into the fence on the first corner of heat 15. The lengthy subsequent delay and eventual ambulance journey to Hospital were the cause of the stoppage, with the curfew almost upon us and no medical cover.
Monarchs' team manager Alex Harkess said "We wish Ulrich a speedy recovery. It was a very frustrating finish to the match because with three heats to go and the scores level, I thought we had the riders to finish the job. But we made too many mistakes overall, and didn't get the chance to race heat 15 in which I felt we would get an advantage."
The match had also started with a fall, though a much less serious one, when Craig Cook cartwheeled off on the first corner of heat 1. Monarchs took a 4-2 in the rerun and shared the reserves' heat behind Sedgmen, though that was the last time during the evening that they held the lead.
Scores swung between Tigers holding a 2-point advantage and Monarchs levelling up for the rest of the night. Wells and Ostergaard won their opening heats, and Ostergaard took a win in his second race also. Sam Jensen was having a useful first meeting at Armadale and Connor Bailey took points as well, while on the home side it seemed that Nathan Greaves had returned perhaps too quickly from last week's injuries.
William Lawson, back on his favoured Armadale engine for the first time for a few weeks, took a remarkable win in heat 8 with Greaves struggling at the rear, then Josh Pickering took his second race win of the night in heat 9, but with Kye Thomson finishing at the rear in spite of an apparently decent start.
Monarchs did peg Tigers back in heat 10 through Masters and Lawson, though Lawson was passed for second place during the heat by Ricky Wells.
Tigers regained the narrow advantage in heat 11 when Cook got his only win, then we had the race of the night in heat 12, won by Lawson under tremendous pressure from Wells with Thomson passing Sedgmen.
One of the night's major moments came in heat 13 when Sam Masters gated, then made a big mistake on the first corner to drop to the back. Ostergaard won the heat to take his personal score to 11, restoring that 2-point lead.
Pickering won heat 14 comfortably but a race-long effort by Lawson to pass the Tigers' pair of Nicol and Sedgmen failed by the narrowest of margins.
That brought us to heat 15, in which Masters gated first but the Tigers were seemingly intent on shutting out Pickering. Ostergaard moved across very sharply, probably too early, and lost control spectacularly. And that proved to be the end.
Taking care of Newcastle with such surprising ease last weekend sets the Monarchs up for the big one – the long-awaited derby doubler that could very well define their entire season.
It was vintage Edinburgh on Friday past with no fewer than four of our six riders on show – Sam, Ritchie, Josh and reserve Kye Thompson clocking up scores in double figures. The Diamonds simply had no answer to the onslaught as the boys in blue and gold ripped up the track like a… well, like a team heading for the title. And there can be no greater incentive than that as we gear up to face the mighty Tigers' roar twice in a couple of days.
Against the Diamonds, Kye top scored with an impressive 15 points from seven rides but even the young Aussie had to look on in awe as his countryman, Joshie Pickering, produced as good a performance as he has ever managed in Edinburgh racing colours. You just couldn't keep your eyes off him.
Josh has come of age at last. Lately the long overdue recipient of his first Premiership ride with Sheffield Tigers, the New South Wales flyer had now added consistency to his lengthy array of talents, but it is his reputation as the archetypal entertainer that keeps his adoring fans coming back for more.
Virtually every meeting he competes in has at least one example of some laws-of-physics manoeuvre sure to have the crowd on its feet in gasping anticipation. Against Newcastle we had to wait eight heats for that degree of engagement, although it is true by that time, he already had two heat wins to his name.
Of course, some will say his gating could be better. Yet, while it's true, smarter starts would make for an even more rounded product, think of the spine-tingling drama we would be denied if he had no one to overtake. By all means strive to improve but leave us something to rack our nerves to every so often.
There will be no greater test of Josh's mettle than those upcoming Tigers' derby clashes. Cami Brown's men top the Championship table for a reason. They are the team everyone has been talking about but how well the Monarchs have clawed back what was a sizeable lead to five just points, and that's with the Tigers having ridden two meetings more.
And adding even more spice to an already explosive mix is an Ashfield septet that includes three celebrated former Monarchs whose erstwhile popularity with the Armadale faithfully could well be up for renewal come the weekend. Despite how we view their current circumstances, one thing's for sure, Craig Cook, Ricky Wells and Justin Sedgmen certainly know their way around both Scottish tracks.
It doesn't end there for Glasgow, of course. Californian Broc Nicol is tipped to go right to the very top and with his average increasing by close on two points since the start of the season, the 23-year-old is certainly on the right path.
A rise to prominence even more impressive than Nicol's is that of Sam Jensen. A year older than Broc, the Dane has added just under three to his CMA, an astonishing leap that has taken him from reserve to heat leader in just over two months.
And it only gets better for the Tigers. One of four newcomers introduced in May – only Cook, Jensen and Bailey remain from the aborted 2020 campaign - fellow Dane Ulrich Ostergaard was signed with the express hope of sharing the point-scoring burden with the aforementioned Cookie. And boy has he answered that call in spades. Taking his average from 5.98 to a ridiculous 8.84, Ulrich has become a true jewel in Glasgow's gleaming crown with the type of experience – the 40-year-old can count stints at Eastbourne, Isle of Wight, Swindon, Peterborough, Birmingham, Workington, Reading, Belle Vue, Redcar and Newcastle in a career in UK speedway spanning just shy of two decades – that opposing teams find so difficult to counter. 2015 Premier League Riders champion and an Elite League and Knockout Cup winner with Peterborough (2006 and 2017 respectively), Ulle shares his Tigers' racing duties with Brovst in the Danish league and the UK Premiership Panthers with whom he has held a long association.
At reserve, Tigers' Rising Star is the talented Connor Bailey who had been replaced by Jack Smith on the eve of the current season but returned to the fold just three meetings ago. Much faith has been invested in the young Aussie and his clashes with our own 6 and 7, Joe Lawlor and Willie Lawson, will another interesting facet of the tartan tussle to come.
Nathan Greaves and Joe Lawlor should return for a full-strength Edinburgh.
So, fasten your seat belts – they're installing them at Armadale as we speak – we could be in for a bumpy ride…
Friday 23rd July 2021, 10:00am
If you are attending Armadale Stadium tonight for the first time this season, you will find it slightly different from normal with many measures in place for your safe return to enjoying speedway!
Thursday 22nd July 2021, 8:00am
What The Fork Monarchs were pleased to confirm earlier this week that the capacity of Armadale Stadium under Covid restrictions has been increased.
Wednesday 21st July 2021, 2:27pm
Both Scottish sides the What the Fork Monarchs and the Allied Vehicles Tigers are pushing hard for a place in the end-of-season Playoffs which will decide the Championship title, so the home-and-away clashes between the sides this weekend are the most important since they met in the 2015 Premier League Final.
Wednesday 21st July 2021, 10:00am
Order your copy of the Scottish Derby - What The Fork Monarchs v Glasgow Tigers Matchday Magazine now!
Saturday 17th July 2021, 9:30am
Following updates to Scottish Government restrictions, the Club will make adjustments to operating procedures within Armadale Stadium. Read on to find out more on what to expect and when you can book tickets to next Friday's hotly anticipated Scottish Derby!