Team Manager: Steve Pate
|1. Chris Harris||0||3||1||1*||5||1|
|2. Matthew Wethers||1||1||2||0||4||0|
|3. James Wright||3||2||2||3||0||10||0|
|4. Max Clegg||2*||1*||1*||3||3||10||3|
|5. Paul Starke||2||3||2||2||9||0|
|6. Lee Complin||2||R||R||FD||1||3||0|
|7. George Congreve||0||0||0||0||0|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Sam Masters||2*||3||3||3||2||13||1|
|2. Lasse Fredriksen||3||0||1||1||5||0|
|3. Paco Castagna||0||1*||3||2||6||1|
|4. Kye Thomson||1||2||2*||2||7||1|
|5. Josh Pickering||3||2||3||0||1*||9||1|
|6. Jacob Hook||1||0||0||1*||2||1|
|7. James Sarjeant||3||1||3||0||7||0|
The What the Fork Monarchs took a giant step towards the quarter finals of the KO Cup running out 49-41 victors at Brough Park against Newcastle on Sunday evening.
A strong start was backed up by consistent heat wins throughout meaning the result was never really in doubt and Monarchs new boy Lasse Fredriksen winner of heat 1 said after 'It was a good win, last night was a tough one so it was good to get a win tonight. I like coming to new places and I want to beat everyone so to get the heat win was good as well. We move onto Friday now and we need to complete the job and beat Newcastle again.'
Fredriksen set the Monarchs on their way rocketing from the start to win heat 1, with teammate Sam Masters joining him at the front the Monarchs had a dream start.
Further heat advantages in heats 2 and 4 sandwiched a home 5-1 meaning the advantage was still 4.
The home men were solid throughout particularly in the middle order with James Wright, Max Clegg and Paul Starke keeping them in the encounter with 5 heat wins between them.
Heat 10 would be the crucial one, the Monarchs advantage was still 4 at this stage and with the Diamonds having a strong looking pairing of Chris Harris and Matthew Wethers against the previously ineffective Paco Castagna and Kye Thomson the thoughts were this could be the home side's way back in. As it was though it was Castagna who hit the front out the 2nd bend and with Thomson battling his way into 2nd it was the second heat maximum of the night for the visitors and an 8 point lead.
This lead would be maintained the rest of the way with the only very slight disappointment being that Monarchs captain Masters could not complete his maximum in heat 15 the Australian being headed by home man Clegg.
Still this didn't take the shine off a thoroughly professional performance that must make the Monarchs favourites to progress with Friday's second leg at Armadale to come.
Newcastle Diamonds 41: Chris Harris 5+1, Matthew Wethers 4, James Wright 10, Max Clegg 10+3, Paul Starke 9, Lee Complin 3, George Congreve 0
What the Fork Monarchs 49: Sam Masters 13+1, Lasse Fredriksen 5, Paco Castagna 6+1, Kye Thomson 7+1, Josh Pickering 9+1, Jacob Hook 2+1, James Sarjeant 7
Another day another away trip for the What the Fork Monarchs as a weekend of 3 matches in as many days culminates in Newcastle with the Diamonds providing the opposition in KO cup action.
Rob Grant's men have had an up and down start to the campaign with solid home performances being matched by abysmal away efforts that have led many to believe they may do well to avoid propping up the table unless changes are made.
The Monarchs can take nothing for granted today though and with the home men undoubtedly strengthened by the inclusion of Chris Harris guesting at number 1 for the so far ineffective Bradley Wilson-Dean then a tough task is in order if a first leg lead is to be built.
The back up to Harris will come from former Monarchs Max Clegg and Matthew Wethers. Clegg in particular looking like he is ready to become a dominant force around the Brough Park shale.
Wily veterans Paul Starke and James Wright complete the 1-5 both capable of big scores on their day and sure to provide a challenge for all the Monarchs.
The intrigue in the Diamonds line-up comes at reserve where Lee Complin shocked many by announcing his return to the support after a few years out over the winter. Bringing riders back from hiatus worked well for the Diamonds last campaign with both the aforementioned Wright and Adam Roynon enjoying successful returns to the shale and so far Complin has shown flashes of his old brilliance also.
Joining Complin at the bottom end is a newcomer to UK shale Kiwi George Congreve. Points haven't come easy so far but all reports are that the youngster is definitely worth persevering with and the diamonds faithful will be hoping today is the day he starts to find the points to match his efforts.
For the Monarchs then it is a case of dusting themselves down and going again after that heavy defeat at Berwick last night. Thankfully it appears there has been no long lasting effects to Josh or Paco after the heat 15 incident and both line up today although it would be more than likely it has been a busy night in the workshop for Pickering after his bike took the brunt of a sudden stop into the Berwick fence.
Elsewhere as all away tracks will, it will be a baptism of fire for new boys Lasse and Jacob both have acquired themselves well so far though so more of the same effort wise will see results.
Key man may well be James Sarjeant at reserve a steady start to the season for Sarj has seen paid 6 and paid 7 returns but he be looking for more on a track he enjoys and has already visited this season as part of a stoke select side for an early season challenge.
Cup fixtures mean a change in tactics with no tactical rides allowed so the Monarchs will be looking for all 7 to chip in as we look for a lead to take into next Friday's second leg.
Tapes up at 5.30pm with live updates available on the Monarchs website for those that can't make it to cheer on the boys.
Newcastle Diamonds: Chris Harris, Matthew Wethers, James Wright, Max Clegg, Paul Starke, Lee Complin, George Congreve
What the Fork Monarchs: Sam Masters, Lasse Fredriksen, Paco Castagna, Kye Thomson, Josh Pickering, Jacob Hook, James Sarjeant