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Glasgow Tigers v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Sunday 15th October 2006, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Not only did we defend our 4-point lead from the first leg, we went the whole hog and recorded our first Ashfield win since September 2004.

It was a fine effort by all the Monarchs, four regulars and three guests, with Trent Leverington leading the way by scoring a memorable paid 14.

We trailed for much of the match but never lost touch, and pulled off a big turnaround by taking 14 points to Tigers' 4 over heats 11-13 (yes, 13!)

We didn't make a strong start and were 3-9 down (2 behind on aggregate) after 2 heats - though both Theo in heat 1 and Derek in heat 2 had looked quick and competitive.

Heat 3 was a cracking race and the first sign that Trent Leverington was in for a special afternoon. He trailed Rusty Harrison but pulled alongside, riding level with Tigers' guest for most of the heat before taking advantage of Rusty's oversliding at the exits from the bends.

That was a 4-2 with Chris Kerr miles ahead of Dicken, and heat 4 was even better! William and Derek got the better of Shane Parker at the first bend and although Parker was close, he never looked like passing as Derek blocked the favoured outside line.

So the scores were level, and we shared heat 5 as Dicken trailed again. Heat 6 might have been OK if the first attempted start had been allowed to go, but the restart went to Tigers 5-1 with William suffering a machine problem just before the chequered flag while lying third.

The first lap of heat 7 was interesting with Leverington again impressively forging ahead. We had Parked pinned at the back but Kerr misjudged the third turn and fell heavily, doing very well to clear the track and leave Trent in front.

Derek made a start in heat 8 but in his haste to get to the outside line, he ran into the fence and suffered an exclusion. Kevin Little wasn't away well in the rerun but took advantage of a Cockle fall to take second. However we were now six down again.

Harrison won for the second time in heat 9 but William and Sean again pushed the struggling Dicken to the back.

Bird gated for his third win in heat 10, this time Leverington being slightly baulked by Kerr. David McAllan fell at the back and blew his engine after remounting.

We needed something big, and we got it! Kevin Little seemed to be fired up by a fussy start marshall and made the start in heat 11, with Theo joining him as Parker baulked Ksiezak. A big 5-1 gave us the aggregate lead again.

For most of heat 12 we thought we were going to get another, courtesy of fast-gating Trent and Derek, but on the last corner Robert Ksiezak rounded Derek for second. Scores level, 4 up again on aggregate!

Heat 13 has of course been a bogey for us, but not this time! Theo got the better of Bird and William cut back majestically to go ahead, with Parker again in the doldrums. Danny never looks as good when he has missed the start, and he didn't seriously threaten another Monarchs' 5-1.

We now needed to avoid losing two maximum advantages in order to win the cup. Ksiezak led the way in heat 14 with Derek and Rusty battling hard for the vital second, passing and repassing. Derek pulled off a great outside overtake but with half a lap to go, he seemed to have lost the battle.

However Rusty got his line wrong entering the final bend and crashed into the fence, which secured the Cup for Monarchs.

That just left the match to be won. It was some day for us, because we actually won a toss and took gates 1 and 3. Ksiezak made a good start and went wide, Bird tried a cutback but it was again Leverington who was strongest through the middle and went ahead. He rode a perfect race while Theo snapped at the heels of the Tigers all the way.

So we won! Tigers were deflated but not at all unsporting as we were presented with the Cup, 94-86 aggregate winners.