Edinburgh Monarchs Academy
Team Manager: Scott Wilson
|1. Max Clegg||3||3||3||3||3||15||0|
|2. Mark Parker||XO||1*||0||1||1|
|3. Adam Roynon||2||2||3||3||1||11||0|
|4. Alex Spooner - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|5. Danny Phillips||1||FD||0||0||1||0|
|6. Dayle Wood||3||FD||1||1||1||1*||7||1|
|7. Kyran Lyden||1||1||0||2||0|
|8. Mickie Simpson||1*||1||2*||2||6||2|
Leicester Lion Cubs
Team Manager: Dave Howard
|1. Dan Thompson||2||3||3||2||2||12||0|
|2. Ashton Boughen||1*||FD||3||2*||3||9||2|
|3. Max Perry||F||2*||1*||1||4||2|
|4. Tom Spencer - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|5. Joe Thompson||2*||2||2||1*||0||7||2|
|6. Owen Booth||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|7. Max James||2||3||3||3||2*||2||F||15||1|
The Stellar Monarchs Academy lost for the second time this season on the Armadale track, going down 43-47 in spite of a stunningly impressive return to action by Max Clegg. It's a close score and obviously the absence of Jacob Hook had a considerable effect, but it was impossible not to be highly impressed by the ability of Max James and Ashton Boughen especially, backing up Dan and Joe Thompson – these four all being teenagers.
Clegg admitted after the match "I surprised myself a little by doing so well, especially as it is 4 weeks I think since I had last ridden. I felt a bit rusty in my first ride but settled down after that. Leicester have a really good team so I think we did well to run them so close without Jacob Hook in the team. I am looking forward to the return match next week when I feel we can give them a hard match."
Max recorded the fastest NDL time of the season at 57.9 in heat 1, and he was involved in probably the best race of the day in heat 6, his second ride, when he had to work hard to overcome a determined Joe Thompson. Thereafter he cruised to victory in three further heats and never looked like being beaten. It certainly seems quite wrong that he is not involved at a higher level in British Speedway.
Adam Roynon gave best backup with 11 from his five rides, though he was taken from the back in heat 3 by the fast-rising Max James and wasn't as dominant as in the early season meetings. Academy manager Scott Wilson operated what was effectively a three-reserve lineup permitted by this year's rules for number 8 riders, and switched the trio (Wood, Lyden and Simpson) effectively, but it wasn't enough to counter the Cubs' attack.
We had to remind ourselves that Max James and Ashton Boughen are still only 15 as we watched them flying round the track – supremely talented prospects. James didn't win heat 2, that went to faster gating Dayle Wood, but his win over Roynon in his next ride was a real eye-opener. He reeled off further wins or paid wins in heats 4, 7 and 8 to put the Lion Cubs in command. A last bend fall in his final ride put a slight damper on things but he's certainly going places.
The other flying 15 year old was Ashton Boughen who managed just a point in his first two heats (falling in heat 5) but he too found the winning groove to head his opponents in heats 8, 11 and 14. There was no real answer to these prodigies.
By heat 11 Leicester were 10 points ahead but the Monarchs Academy kept fighting, taking a heat 11 5-1 (Roynon and Simpson) and later an advantage in heat 15. It cut the gap to just 4 points by the end and yet it had felt for most of the match that the visitors were going to come out on top.
Had Jacob Hook been present that gap might well have been turned round (guest Danny Phillips did not have a good night at all) but we have to also remember that another youthful talent, Vinnie Foord, was also missing through injury from the Leicester side.
Thursday 15th June 2023, 6:45pm
Whilst there is a senior Stellar Monarchs match this Friday night at Glasgow, the Armadale action for the week is a day later, on Saturday with a 7pm start as the Stellar Monarchs Academy against the team which has been by far the most successful in the National Development League in recent times, the Leicester Lion Cubs.