Team Manager: Gary Flint
|1. Chris Harris||2||3||3||2||10||0|
|2. Ty Proctor||1*||1||3||2*||7||2|
|3. Theo Pijper||2*||3||1||2||8||1|
|4. Leon Flint||3||1||0||0||4||0|
|5. Ricky Wells||3||2*||3||1*||3||12||2|
|6. Jye Etheridge||3||3||2*||3||1||12||1|
|7. Kyle Bickley||0||R||2*||1*||3||2|
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||2||3||FD||R||2||10||0|
|2. Lasse Fredriksen||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|3. Paco Castagna||1||0||1||3||5||0|
|4. Kye Thomson||0||1||0||2||3||0|
|5. Josh Pickering||2||2||2*||3||0||9||1|
|6. Jacob Hook||1*||0||0||1||1|
|7. James Sarjeant||2||1*||1||1*||5||2|
The What the Fork Monarchs went down to a heavy defeat 56-34 at Shielfield on Saturday night against an impressive Berwick Bandits side.
The home men were in fine form from the off leaving the Monarchs chasing their tails and insult was added to injury when Josh Pickering came off trying to round the field in the last heat, teammate Paco Castagna the unlucky one as Pickering's bike clattered into him.
Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess saying after 'The score line was perhaps no great surprise, it's a tough place to come particularly if you haven't been before. I thought we got better as the match went on but by that point we had too much to do.
'As the match gets to the latter stages gate 1 is impossible and that was our downfall. Sam was excluded when on gate 1 and he feels unfairly as he is made the start and we feel that should have been 1st bend bunching at worse. Then heat 15 Josh comes off and unfortunately Paco comes off worse so I'm not sure we've got out of the meeting with 7 fit riders we'll have to wait and see.'
The Bandits are a formidable side at home and they were clearly up for the tussle having went down by 10 at Armadale on Friday night. The home men putting their stamp on the meeting from the off, heat advantages in 5 of the first 8 heats meant any hopes of a Monarchs victory were gone with a 32-16 deficit the score line at this point.
Heat 9 did give the Monarchs fans something to cheer for as Sam Masters in as a tactical substitute and Pickering took a 5-1 this coming after a great effort by the latter to stalk and pass Bandits number 1 Theo Pijper on the final bend.
Any hopes this would spark a fight back to at least put the Monarchs in position to challenge for the consolation point were short lived as the Bandits answered with 2 heat maximums of their own in heats 10 and 11. The second after the contentious decision from referee Graeme Hunter to exclude Masters after Jye Etheridge had come down on the first bend meaning the contest was all but over.
The Monarchs woes were not though as Pickering clipped the fence trying to round the field in the last race his bike careering onto the track and hitting Castagna. Pickering seeming ok after more concerned about the damage to machinery and his teammate who needed help getting to the changing rooms.
The Monarchs will now wait the Italian's fitness ahead of a trip to Newcastle on Sunday in the first leg of the KO Cup first round.
Berwick Bandits 56: Harris 10, Proctor 7+2, Pijper 8+1, Flint 4, Wells 12+2, Etheridge 12+1, Bickley 3+2
What the Fork Monarchs 34: Masters 10, Fredriksen 1, Castagna 5, Thomson 3, Pickering 9+1, Hook 1+1, Sarjeant 5+2
The What the Fork Monarchs will look to build on that excellent 10-point victory last night as they make the short trip to Shielfield tonight to take on the Bandits once again in part of an Easter feast with a national league clash between the Devils and Bullets following the Championship encounter.
The Bandits will be a different kettle of fish around their home shale though and they have already shown they are well dialled in having dismantled Birmingham a couple of week ago.
The score that night was 58-32 to the Bandits with all 7 of the home men taking the chequered flag at least once so the challenge ahead for the Monarchs is clear for all to see.
Track changes prior to last season has opened the bends up at Shielfield allowing for more passing opportunities but it is still key to get to that first bend in front and that will be key this evening.
The Monarchs last visit to Shielfield was an absolutely remarkable performance as the blue and gold men were in blistering form running out victorious by a 26-point margin but any thoughts of a repeat of that type of score line will be far from anyone's minds come tapes up.
Both sides will line up as they did at Armadale last night a match that the home men were undoubtedly the happier with come the end of heat 15, dominant performances by top two Sam Masters and Josh Pickering were well backed up by solid scoring the rest of the way notable mentions going to new boys Lasse Fredriksen and Paco Castagna who both picked up their first heat win for the Monarchs.
For the Bandits there was the expected strong performances by former Monarchs Ricky Wells and Theo Pijper, but boss Gary Flint would perhaps have hoped for a little more the rest of the way and his men will be under no illusions what is expected of them tonight.
A note to remember that with this being a double header the action starts a little earlier than usual with a 6.30pm prompt tapes up to allow for 30 heats to be completed. For those not in attendance live updates will be available on the Monarchs website as the blue and gold go looking for their away points of the season.
Edinburgh What the Fork Monarchs: Sam Masters, Lasse Fredriksen, Paco Castagna, Kye Thomson, Josh Pickering, Jacob Hook, James Sarjeant
Berwick Bandits: Chris Harris, Ty Proctor, Theo Pijper, Leon Flint, Ricky Wells, Jye Etheridge, Kyle Bickley