Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Craig Cook - Rider Replacement||0||0|
|2. Lasse Fredriksen||0||1||0||1||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||3||2||0||1||1||7||0|
|4. Paco Castagna||2*||1*||0||1||3||0||7||2|
|5. Josh Pickering||3||2||3||3||2||2||2||17||0|
|6. Mason Watson||0||0||0||0||0|
|7. Jacob Hook||1||0||1||F||0||1||3||0|
Team Manager: Gary Havelock
|1. Richard Lawson||1*||3||3||3||3||13||1|
|2. Anders Rowe||2||0||3||1||6||0|
|3. Ben Cook||1||1*||2||3||7||1|
|4. Zach Cook||0||2||0||FD||2||0|
|5. Steve Worrall||3||3||3||1||1||11||0|
|6. Kyle Newman||2*||2*||2*||2*||8||4|
|7. Joe Thompson||3||1||2*||2||8||1|
The patched-up Stellar Monarchs went down by 20 points (35-55) at home to title contenders Poole tonight on a rare Wednesday fixture, but thoughts in the Monarchs' camp now turn to Friday as the team still has a good chance to make the Playoffs when they race a double header against Plymouth and Birmingham.
The team fought hard tonight but were outgunned, with only captain Josh Pickering able to really trade significant blows with the Pirates. He won three of his seven races and in each of the others he set up race-long chases which kept the crowd entertained. Ho lost only to Richard Lawson and Steve Worrall, but also defeated these visiting heat leaders plus all of the other Pirates.
Josh said "Poole are a top team and we were not fielding our full team so we knew how hard it would be. I go in to every match to win but I am a realist and I know that it is Friday's matches which are more important right now for us. I believe we can make the Playoffs."
Josh opened tonight's fixture with a win over Lawson in a heat rerun after Lawson had come down on the first turn. The Poole reserves took a maximum advantage in heat 2 but Monarchs fought back with a 5-1 of their own as Kye Thomson and Paco Castagna defeated the Cook brothers.
Poole then eased ahead over the next few races before Pickering won heat 7 from the Cooks. That was followed by a couple of Poole 5-1 advantages which opened up a gap that Monarchs were never likely to close.
A Pickering tac sub ride in heat 10 brought an advantage as he teamed up with Kye Thomson, but it was only a brief respite. Paco Castagna in heat 14 was the final home race winner, in a heat which saw Zach Cook crash heavily after running in to the back of Jacob Hook's machine. The younger Cook appears to be unhurt.
As well as Pickering, both Thomson and Castagna managed reasonable scores while Lasse Fredriksen got himself back into the action after his absence with a broken wrist and reported no ill effects. Jacob Hook tried hard and was unlucky not to score a few more, while young guest Mason Watson of the Berwick Bullets showed a nice style in what was a bit of a step up for him.
For the Pirates, as well as Lawson and Worrall, Kyle Newman had a great night with a paid maximum from 4 rides, taking quite a few points from the back with persistent inside line attacks. They don't have a weak link and will again be strongly fancied to win the Playoffs.
In Friday's vital double header Richard Lawson is guest replacement for Craig Cook, and Bastian Borke will return at reserve. While Plymouth and Birmingham will be no pushovers, they will be much less tough than tonight's visitors.
Tuesday 5th September 2023, 7:22am
The Stellar Monarchs race three home matches at Armadale this week and hope to clinch the sixth Playoff place in the Championship. Matches against Poole (Wednesday, 7:30pm) and a double header with Plymouth and Birmingham (Friday, first match 7:00pm) will conclude the regular league season.
Friday 1st September 2023, 11:16am
The Stellar Monarchs pairing competing in the Championship Pairs tonight will be Josh Pickering and Luke Killeen, as Craig Cook is not ready to return to action.