Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Richard Lawson||3||3||3||9||0|
|2. Lasse Fredriksen||0||FD||2||1||3||0|
|3. Kye Thomson||3||3||0||2||8||0|
|4. Paco Castagna||1||2*||2||5||1|
|5. Josh Pickering||2||3||3||8||0|
|6. Luke Killeen||2||1*||F||1*||0||1*||5||3|
|7. Bastian Borke||F||0||0|
Team Manager: Stewart Dickson
|1. Kyle Howarth||2||R||2||0|
|2. Alfie Bowtell||1*||1||3||1*||6||2|
|3. Troy Batchelor||2||2||2||3||9||0|
|4. Paul Starke||0||1*||0||1||1|
|5. Justin Sedgmen||3||2||3||2||10||0|
|6. Stefan Nielsen||1||1*||0||1||FD||3||1|
|7. Sam Hagon||3||FD||3||0|
The Stellar Monarchs clinched their Championship Playoff place tonight by recording a big victory over Plymouth but a much narrower one against the Birmingham Brummies who were the main rivals for a Playoff place. The latter match was abandoned after 12 heats with the score at 38-34. This meant Monarchs secured sixth place comfortably in the end, five points ahead of their nearest challengers.
Monarchs' captain Josh Pickering scored a flying full maximum in the Plymouth match and was full of praise for the circuit. "The track was perfect," he said, "a bit of dirt on the inside and a bit on the outside, just how it should be. No holes or bumps developing, stayed smooth all night."
After a league season which has been fraught with problems Monarchs were able to track a solid and competitive side for these last two fixtures. Richard Lawson was an outstanding guest at no. 1 and was unbeaten in both meetings, while young Aussie Luke Killeen scored well at reserve. Unfortunately he was called on to take extra rides in the second match after Bastian Borke took a heavy tumble swerving to avoid a back wheel and finishing under the fence.
The Dane has a shoulder injury and withdrew from the match, heading off for a check-up. Kyle Howarth and Sam Hagon were also casualties during the second fixture.
In the opening fixture of the evening Monarchs were in excellent form throughout the team with all their seven riders scoring at least 5. Plymouth of course had been forced into numerous changes even from the team supplied at the beginning of the week, but each of their riders had at least one good race and provided decent entertainment.
Monarchs led 19-4 after four heats and there was never any danger they would be caught after that. As well as the unbeaten runs by Lawson and Pickering, Kye Thomson was in excellent form with 11 from his four rides.
Kyle Howarth top scored for the visitors with 12 points while in this match, guest Justin Sedgmen was a bit disappointing with just 4. Probably the best heat of the night was heat 14 in which a bold outside run by Sam Hagon brought him a win against Killeen after Paco Castagna had crashed.
The first fixture was completed in about 75 minutes but there were far more problems in the Brummies match. Heat 1 saw a big tumble on the first bend as Alfie Bowtell moved out and rammed Fredriksen, sending Kyle Howarth into a spectacular somersault. Kyle seemed to recover but pulled out of his second ride and also the meeting.
Heat 2 featured the Borke crash, and two heats later Sam Hagon also suffered an injury as he went into the fence on the bend where he had previously pulled off such a good overtake. In heat 6 Lasse Fredriksen suffered another of these unlucky exclusions which referees seem to reserve especially for him. He was on the outside of a first bend crush and had no chance of staying on board.
Monarchs took an early lead thanks to their top two men but also a couple of excellent heats by Thomson and Castagna who took 9 points from heats 3 and 6. Sedgmen was a changed man in this match riding for his own team, gating strongly and riding with tenacity, and even taking a point off Pickering. Troy Batchelor was also giving good opposition with some clever riding.
The home team's advantage was cut to two points in heat 9 won by Sedgmen, but Lawson and Fredriksen doubled that again in heat 10. The next two heats were shared and the match was then abandoned due to time constraints – the mayhem in a few of the early heats had made it impossible to complete the fixture. The result stands however.
Play Off fixtures will be announced shortly.