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Edinburgh Monarchs v Workington Comets

REPORT Friday 22nd September 2006, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

In the list of unlucky and undeserved defeats, it would be hard to think of a better example than this.

The biggest blow was the loss of Matthew Wethers after the unpredictable Tomasz Piszcz had turned sharply across his path at the first corner of heat 3. Matthew came down in a heap and had to pull out with a wrist injury.

The reserves took his place but didn't cover for his scoring (3 points scored). In spite of this Monarchs rode with spirit and led 43-41 going into the last heat.

Fate then struck again. After scoring paid 12 from 4, Theo Pijper couldn't ride in the last heat having sustained a wrist injury at the start of heat 13. Daniele Tessari was forced into the heat, in which William Lawson held second place until he slowed and stopped.

Without having achieved much, Workington had picked up a 2-point away win. They owed quite a bit to their fast gating guest reserve Robert Ksiezak who scored paid 10, as well as Dame Fortune.

Once again the meeting started with a track record ride from Theo Pijper, and it's now a remarkable 54.6. Henrik Moller made a very poor start, pushed wide at the first corner, but he came back to grab third from Mogridge.

Ksiezak gated in heat 2, but Sneddon came through to mount a challenge. He was close entering the final turn but fell, gifting a point to Andrew Tully.

Heat 3 was a huge blow to Monarchs. On his last visit Piszcz put partner Paul Thorp out of the match, this time he turned sharply across Matthew Wethers, causing him to fall heavily. He was ruled out, and even at that point it was clear the home side were up against it.

Daniele led the rerun but was caught late in the race by Rusty Harrison, while Piszcz made such a mess of several bends that Sean Stoddart easily caught and passed him.

The rain had started to fall and the last thing we needed were stoppages, but heat 4 was needlessly stopped twice. Eventually Ksiezak was excluded for falling, Wright won it and the scores stayed level.

Comets went ahead in heat 5 but again Tessari produced a fair ride for second spot..

Theo and Henrik made the gate on Wright in the next one and though he was close, we took the 5-1 to go ahead. The Comets led the way in heat 7 but a bold outside move on the pits corner by Lawson took him round Piszcz to finish behind Harrison. Level again.

The refereeing generally was inconsistent and unsatisfactory, and this continued when Derek came down on the first corner of heat 8 with Robert Ksiezak helping him off. There was no stoppage so Henrik's easy win didn't bring an advantage.

Derek managed a better ride for second place in heat 9, also shared, and disappointingly Henrik trailed in at the back of heat 10 as Theo won again.

The next two heats were both shared. William at last made a start in heat 11 and recorded the fastest time since the first race, and Daniele won an excellent heat 12 by passing Ksiezak with a fine outside move on the pits bend.

Still level, three heats to go. Heat 13, and again William made his first bend count. Theo moved into second and it was plain sailing from then on.

Clearly heat 14 was going to be awkward, the last of Matthew's rides. We had our reserves out against Harrison and Ksiezak - and what a heat Sean rode! Sticking to the inside as usual, he was in amongst the visiting pair, pressing Ksiezak who led but wasn't quick, and unsettling Harrison. With Derek trailing disappointingly, Sean's second place kept us two points up going into the last heat.

And that's when it all went wrong again. To our amazement there was no Theo Pijper, and it transpired that he had somehow injured his wrist in heat 13. This meant that only William Lawson was eligible by the normal rules, but after discussion Daniele Tessari was allowed to ride as fourth highest scorer.

It was to no avail because the last trick fate had in store for us for a stoppage for William while lying second.

It wasn't a fair result, but these things happen.