Team Manager: Jade Mudgway
|1. Charles Wright||1*||2||3||2||2||10||1|
|2. James Sarjeant||2||0||1*||3||1||7||1|
|3. Jake Allen||2||3||2||2||2||0||11||0|
|4. Michael Palm Toft - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|5. Lewis Kerr||2||3||1||0||6||0|
|6. Ryan Kinsley||0||0||0||0||0|
|7. Jordan Jenkins||2||1*||FD||1||0||1*||5||2|
|8. Greg Blair||0||0||0|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Sam Masters||3||1*||2*||3||1||10||2|
|2. Anders Rowe - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||1||1*||2||0||3||7||1|
|4. Josh Pickering||3||2||2||3||3||13||0|
|5. Richie Worrall||3||XD||3||1||7||0|
|6. Drew Kemp||0||3||2||3||1||3||1||13||0|
|7. Jason Edwards||1||0||R||0||1||0|
|8. Luke Crang||0||0|
The What the Fork Monarchs put in a powerhouse display at Redcar on Sunday evening never being headed and pulling away in the latter stages to win 51-39 in the first leg of their playoff quarter finaL.
There were fantastic performances throughout with Drew Kemp and Josh Pickering both hauling in 13 and even though the scorecard looks barren for Jason Edwards at reserve this was completely due to misfortune as he ground to a halt while leading heat 8.
The racing was frantic and exciting throughout with heat 15 perhaps the pick of the bunch Pickering taking the checkered flag in that one delighted with his and the teams nights work saying after 'We came here with every intention to win. We got the draw early in the season but that was our first away match and we hadn't had any practice so tonight we knew we would go better. We are here to win, home and away we are going to be be very strong.
'For me I was just focused on winning races that's my job now for this team and I need to score as many as possible. Heat 15 showed that, it was pretty cool I only had the option to ride the boards but touch wood I made it work and it was great to win it.'
The Monarchs got off to a strong start with a brace of 4-2 advantages after a shared heat 1 and with a Monarch taking the checkered flag in all 3 races the basis was there for a good night ahead.
A string of shared races would follow before the home men cut the deficit with a heat 8 4-2 of their own. There being a large slice of fortune in this though as Monarchs guest reserve Jason Edwards suffered an engine malfunction while leading. Edwards being worth way more than the 1 point he finished the evening with.
Any thoughts this would act as a springboard for the Bears to get back into it would be short lived as the Monarchs would rattle off 4 heat advantages in the next 5 races with some fantastic races throughout.
Heat 12 in particular a fantastic tussle between Monarchs Kye Thomson and Bears Jake Allen, Thomson just holding it on the line.
This meant it was a 10 point advantage for the visitors going into heat 15 and what would be perhaps the best race of the night.
Sam Masters and Pickering were away well but Charles Wright produced a fantastic cut back to push to the front. The front 3 went into the 3rd bend abreast with it looking like there was no way for Pickering to stay on on the outside.
The Aussie would not be denied through riding the wall of death to hit the front in a move even his teammates went out to check how wide he had ridden such was it's audacity.
With Masters picking up 3rd it was another Monarchs heat advantage and a 12 point lead on the night which while no chickens will be counted must make the Monarchs favourites to progress
After the rain put paid to Friday's fixture the What the Fork Monarchs now head for Redcar Sunday to take on the Bears in what becomes the first leg of the Championship Playoff Quarter Final.
A lot has been written about the match-up this weekend and all previous form shows it as being close to call, 4th vs 5th from the league and 2 draws between the teams back in May confirming this. Although both will look to reasons they think they will come out on top over this clash.
For the Bears confidence can be taken from the bolstering to the top end that has come with the signing of Lewi Kerr, Kerr has been in terrific form since making the switch from Eastbourne and will look to continue this today.
There may be some extra pressure on Kerr and his top 3 compatriots Charles Wright and Jake Allen as Michael Palm Toft misses out with a hand injury, MPT as he is known is an absolutely vital part of the Bears line-up and sitting 4th in the averages is probably the hardest man to cover for as rider replacement is the only option with Allen, James Sarjeant and the reserves filling his rides.
Elsewhere the Bears are at full strength as mentioned the top 3 all are in fine form and Sarjeant always looks to up his game when the Monarchs are in town. While at reserve it is good to see Ryan Kinsley back in action after the return of all his gear a few weeks ago. Jordan Jenkins has also had a sterling season and will be the main threat at the bottom end no doubt.
For the Monarchs it is a 6-man team that heads to Teesside, Anders Rowe knee injury flaring up again at Birmingham on Wednesday meaning rider replacement and extra rides for Kye Thomson and the reserves. The other change comes at that reserve spot where Jason Edwards steps in for Nathan Greaves.
The Monarchs go into this match on the back of a quiet spell but with the confidence gained after that rousing 10-point win at Birmingham last Wednesday. The basis of that brilliant performance came from imperious maximums from both Sam Masters and Josh Pickering and with both Richie Worrall and Kye Thomson in the heat wins as well a repeat of this would be most welcome.
Of course, though it is a two-legged battle so nothing will be won or lost today although wither team could go a long way towards progression with a big win.
Tapes up is at 6.30pm and a large Monarch contingent is expected on the terraces for those that can't make it, the match is being live streamed so get yourself along to the Bears website to purchase that. Live Updates will also be available from the Monarchs official website for those unable to watch along.
Not able to travel to Redcar? You can watch the match live on Redcar's website for £9.99. Click below to pre-order your access: