|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||3||3||2*||1||3||15||1|
|2. Anders Rowe||0||0||1||1||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||1||1*||2||FD||4||1|
|4. Josh Pickering||3||2||1||3||2*||3||1||15||1|
|5. Richie Worrall - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|6. Drew Kemp||1||1*||0||3||3||0||2*||10||2|
|7. Archie Freeman||0||0||0||0||0|
Team Manager: Laurence Rogers
|1. Chris Harris||2||3||1||2*||2||10||1|
|2. Valentin Grobauer - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. James Shanes||0||0||0||0||0|
|4. Ashley Morris||2||3||2*||1||0||8||1|
|5. Erik Riss||2||2||2*||3||XO||9||1|
|6. Paco Castagna||1*||2*||1*||3||0||1*||8||4|
|7. Jack Thomas||3||1*||0||3||2||1||10||1|
The What the Fork Monarchs don't have their troubles to seek at the moment and there were plenty of problems in the important match against Birmingham tonight.
With Richie Worrall still unfit, no suitable guest available, and no. 7 Nathan Greaves retiring from the sport the night before, Monarchs were depleted at the start and even more so after a crash while leading heat 9 ruled Kye Thomson out with shoulder and rib injuries.
At that point with Birmingham leading by 10 you could have got extremely long odds on Monarchs getting anything out of the match – and yet they very nearly won it!
Team manager Alex Harkess said "We've certainly got Drew Kemp to thank for getting us back into the match, taking four on the trot. I'm pretty sure Anders Rowe is going to come good too, and Archie Freeman could have made a major contribution in his third ride but for his bike spluttering.
"I wasn't happy with the ragged start to heat 13 but I'm not complaining about the decision to exclude Erik Riss in the last heat. I expected all four. If we had got a decision like that against us I'd be fizzing mad."
Sam Masters and Josh Pickering were to the fore throughout of course, but the young man who made all the difference was Drew Kemp on his Monarchs' debut.
Drew had a couple of points from his first three rides and lined up for heat 11 with Josh Pickering the rider replacement for Worrall. This time Kemp shot from the start with Pickering backing up and staying with the youngster, ensuring there was no chance for Chris Harris to make any headway.
Thomson was unfit for heat 12 so it was Kemp again taking his place, alongside young Archie Freeman, and up against the visiting reserves – a rerun of heat 2. Kemp romped away again and indeed Freeman very nearly followed him into second spot, only for his machine to splutter and force him to drop back.
Drew was out again in heat 13, a controversial heat in which Erik Riss twitched on gate 4, Kemp following with a movement, and the ragged start was allowed to go with Sam Masters stranded at the back for the early laps. It finished a 1-5 but the home camp felt it should have been restarted.
Undaunted, Drew Kemp came out for his fourth ride on the trot in heat 14, and this time went with Pickering to the front for a 5-1, giving Monarchs a 2-point deficit going into the final heat. More controversy, as Pickering, Riss and Masters were bunched going in to the first turn. Riss gave Masters a heave and brought him down, earning a rather unexpected exclusion when 'all four back' was probably the decision people thought they would hear.
Monarchs now had a real chance to win, especially when Masters and Pickering gated, but Chris Harris off gate 1 headed for the dirt and went round Pickering as they reached the back straight, taking the second place needed to give his team a draw. It probably left both teams thinking they might have had more from the night.
The killer heat for Monarchs was the ninth, in which Erik Riss went off 15 metres after going through the tapes. Thomson led it, with Thomas behind and Pickering challenging, but when Josh lifted on the back straight he dropped to the back. As if that wasn't bad enough Thomson then flipped over the handlebars in a very awkward crash, and a home advantage became a 5-1 for Brummies.
Apart from James Shanes Birmingham scored throughout their ranks, with Chris Harris and Jack Thomas both scoring 10. They must have believed with 6 races left that they were going to win but would probably have been happy with a draw before the start.
Monarchs will now need some success in their final three away matches if they are to make the Playoffs, but at least thanks largely to Drew Kemp, they are still in with a chance..
The What the Fork Monarchs have a very important match this Friday against Birmingham as several teams battle for Playoff places. The Monarchs and the Brummies are both in contention and want the points.
Things have not been going Monarchs' way recently, especially with the continuing absence of Richie Worrall following his crash on 13th August in which he suffered a cracked finger. It had been organised that Richard Lawson would guest this week but on Thursday he pulled out for reasons that the club accept.
So it will be rider replacement once again with the lack of other suitable guests. Birmingham also use rider replacement for Valentin Grobauer who is again missing, as he was on their recent abandoned KO Cup visit.
Monarchs of course track their two new signings, 19 year olds Anders Rowe and Drew Kemp, who are expected to strengthen the bottom end of the team, though it is reasonable to suppose they will need time to find their feet in new surroundings. Kemp commented "I felt I learnt a lot riding Armadale as a guest last week and it's a track that I can definitely improve on. It's good to go to a team which could win something this year and I hope I can add something to the team."
Brummies' top two of Erik Riss (former Monarchs captain) and Chris Harris need no introduction, and they have a solid batch of backup riders.
Team manager Alex Harkess says "If we get a good contribution from everyone we will be fine. I want a good win, we were winning comfortably when Birmingham were here in the cup and I think we were on our way to a big win."
As with all Armadale matches this season Friday's match will be Live Streamed, however the stream will be available only to those outwith a 25 mile radius of the track. Anyone within that limit but unable to attend should email firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS WEEK'S MEETING:
Friday 3rd September: Edinburgh What the Fork Monarchs v Birmingham (Championship), Armadale, 7:30pm
WHAT THE FORK MONARCHS: Sam Masters (capt.), Anders Rowe, Kye Thomson, Josh Pickering, Rider replacement for Richie Worrall, Drew Kemp, Nathan Greaves.
EDWARDS PLUMBING BRUMMIES: Chris Harris (capt.), rider replacement for Valentin Grobauer, James Shanes, Ashley Morris, Erik Riss, Paco Castagna, Jack Thomas.
Thursday 2nd September 2021, 10:30am
Order your copy of the What The Fork Monarchs v Birmingham Brummies Matchday Magazine now - a perfect accompaniment to your EMTV:Live experience!
Wednesday 1st September 2021, 8:00pm
What the Fork Monarchs have signed Drew Kemp as their Rising Star for the remainder of the season, and he will make his debut against Birmingham on Friday.