Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||3||3||3||3||15||0|
|2. Lasse Fredriksen - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||3||2||1*||3||9||1|
|4. Paco Castagna||0||0||3||2||3||8||0|
|5. Josh Pickering||3||3||2||2*||2*||12||2|
|6. Jacob Hook||1||1||0||0||2||0|
|7. Dillon Ruml||3||1||0||2*||0||1||0||7||1|
|8. Gregor Millar||0||0|
Team Manager: Cameron Brown
|1. Craig Cook||E||3||3||1||1||8||0|
|2. Connor Bailey||2||1||1||1||5||0|
|3. Ulrich Ostergaard||2||1*||2||2||7||1|
|4. Benjamin Basso||1*||2||1*||2||6||2|
|5. Tom Brennan||2||1*||3||0||0||6||1|
|6. Danyon Hume||F||0||2||0||F||2||0|
|7. Broc Nicol||XO||2||0||1*||3||1|
The What the Fork Monarchs gave their best performance of the season to defeat Glasgow 53-37 in the first leg of the Knockout Cup quarter final. Considering Glasgow won by twelve on their previous visit to Armadale, that is quite a turnaround, but it was a fully merited result, with the whole team contributing.
Team manager Alex Harkess said "That was a very good and very determined performance, I was very happy with it. There were some really tough first corners out there tonight but we were very competitive, and there were also some excellent overtakes especially by Josh Pickering as usual, and our guest Dillon Ruml."
Glasgow were solid enough but only managed three race winners, as Monarchs hit hard and often. As ever Sam Masters led the way for the Monarchs, scoring a full maximum, with Josh Pickering in thrilling form once again, only beaten once.
Kye Thomson had his best night of the season, and after his customary slow start Paco Castagna took a brilliant 8 points from his final three rides. Guest Dillon Ruml standing in for James Sarjeant also did very well with an exciting 7 points.
The match got off to a curious start as first Craig Cook then replacement Broc Nicol earned tape-touching exclusions, leaving Sam Masters and Jacob Hook to pick up a 4-2 over Connor Bailey. Ruml won heat 2 and Monarchs took a third 4-2 in an outstanding heat 4.
Brennan led all the way from Pickering but was pipped on the line after an outside dash by Josh, and there was another great battle for the point with Ruml passing Hume.
Cook's first race win in heat 5 helped Tigers cut the gap and it was 23-19 to the Monarchs at heat 7. After two pointless rides Castagna then cut loose with a win in heat 8, while Ruml superbly rounded up the two Tigers with a remarkably wide outside line.
Another Cook win in heat 11 over Pickering allowed Tigers to shave two points off the lead, but Monarchs returned the compliment through Thomson and Ruml in heat 12. It was clear that as always heats 13 and 15 were going to be vital.
And what heats they were. Masters gated in heat 13 but Pickering had to do it the hard way, brilliantly hunting down Brennan and Cook for the 5-1.
After the now-rampant Castagna had cut between the Tigers to win heat 14, we had another thrilling show from the top Monarchs. They didn't gate in heat 15 but with the Tigers swinging wide to gain momentum the home pair were able to hit the front with a cunning tight line.
Tigers' team boss Cami Brown was very honest in praising Monarchs' performance tonight. It's the kind of advantage that with a full team, Monarchs would be fairly confident of defending. But as we know, it won't be a full team.
It's derby day! The greatest rivalry in British speedway has its latest chapter this weekend starting Friday night as the What the Fork Monarchs welcome the Glasgow Tigers in the first leg of the KO Cup quarter final.
Of course, the clubs are no strangers to each other and having already raced home and away against each other both can take confidence from those previous fixtures coming into this weekend.
For Friday's visitors this confidence is well placed having done the double over the Monarchs earlier in the season including a 51-39 romp at Armadale.
The 7 riders in red and white that night all return with the only change being in rider position as Broc Nicol has since dropped to reserve at first replaced in the 1-5 by Danyon Hume but with June's averages now by Connor Bailey.
The Tigers were one of the early season title favourites and this tag looks well justified and there is no apparent weak link in a solid outfit that always looks difficult to take heat advantages off.
Craig Cook, Ulrich Ostergaard, Tom Brennan and Benjamin Basso make up the top 5 alongside Bailey and while Cook and Ostergaard have seen their averages dip slightly this season they were paid for 23 points between them at Armadale 5 weeks ago.
If Cook and Ostergaard's years are starting to show ever so slightly then the youthful exuberance of Basso and Brennan more than make up for it. Basso was a semi finalist in last weeks GP2 event in Prague while on the same evening Brennan was tallying paid 10 including a couple of heat wins at Armadale gusting for Birmingham so both will be a threat in every race, they take part in.
Throw in that reserve pairing of Hume, who defeated Sam Masters on that last visit and Broc Nicol a former double digit point getter at Armadale also and you can see why the Tigers will head East in buoyant mood.
Looking to send them back home with a dent in that confidence is your What the Fork Monarchs. A busy week on the road saw the Monarchs put up very creditable performances gaining a league point at Plymouth and falling one match point on the night short of repeating the feat at Poole.
These performances no doubt were built on the shoulders of captain Sam Masters, 31+1 the league's number 1 tallied over the 2 matches and after a down night by his standards the last time the Tigers were in town Masters will no doubt be looking to show his dominance this evening.
The same can be said for fellow heat leaders Josh Pickering and Kye Thomson both of whom are showing fine form as the season starts to rill towards the halfway point for the Monarchs.
Paco Castagna is this week's match magazine cover man, and he says he is loving life at Armadale and want's to 'let the good times roll' a big score tonight will go a long way towards that.
Lasse Fredriksen misses out a broken shoulder being the outcome of that big off in his second race last week that means extra rides for Paco and our reserves.
Talking of those reserves young Jacob continues his steady improvement and with a paid 11 performance with 2 wins under his belt last week confidence should be high. Joining Hook at reserve will be guest Dillon Ruml, the American an impressive visitor to Armadale so far also.
A big night in store then as both teams look to put a lead together before Saturday's second leg, of course in a derby anything can happen and there are numerous ways to find out exactly how the action unfolds. Tickets are still available on the Monarchs website while pay at the gate is also available. For those that can't make it as always, the match will be live streamed buy your pass from the EM:TV link of the website.
That only leaves one thing and as always, we like to say.
Friday night is speedway night, see you there!
Wednesday 1st June 2022, 10:30pm
What The Fork Monarchs face the weekend Knockout Cup tie against Glasgow with team problems but are nevertheless determined to build a lead on Friday night at Armadale before going to Ashfield the next day to defend. They have been heartened by topping 40 at two tough venues, Plymouth and Poole, this week.