REPORT Thursday 21st June 2007, 10:00pm
With Josh Auty now in their side full time, Redcar are a formidable outfit and a score of 41 represented a reasonable if not brilliant performance.
Matthew was fit to reclaim his position from potential guest Lee Complin, but Henrik Moller was absent.
There was rain around the South Tees Motor Park and at one point (about heat 10-11) the match seemed in danger of abandonment, but all was well in the end.
We shared heat 1, and should no doubt have done the same in heat 2, but Jack Roberts touched the tapes. He just failed to catch Compton off his 15-metre handicap.
When we visited in the Premier Trophy, the Grieves/Kerr pairing took us to the cleaners. They were off with a 5-1 in heat 3 this time.
Just when we feared that things were going wrong, we put our two tough guys Sneddon and Wethers together in heat 4. In spite of a poorish start, Derek forced his way through on the first bend with Matthew inside him, and they withstood Tresarrieu?s challenges until the Frenchman fell leg-trailing out wide on the last lap.
Grieves and Kerr then recorded an even easier 5-1 with Theo Pijper well at the rear, and although we should have shared heat 6, Jack Roberts (while lying second) went too fast into the bottom bend and came off.
Correy gated in heat 7 but Andrew fell on the first bend, colliding with the fence. After some treatment he was OK. In the rerun Ronnie missed the start and lost a 5-1 to Auty and Tresarrieu.
It seemed certain Auty would come into heat 8, but when it didn?t happen we took advantage with Derek on a TR and Matthew backing up to score an 8-1.
The score was then a flattering 28-23 and over the closing stages we fought hard to keep the margin down.
Matthew became the first Monarch to beat Kerr, and after a shared heat 10 we had an exciting first couple of laps in heat 11. Derek and Theo went ahead, Auty galloped round the outside to go to the front. Tresarrieu was also trying a wide sweep and got ahead of Theo, but the Frenchman then went down again.
Theo laid down well, and took advantage of the second chance to lead all the way in the rerun.
At last Ronnie made a start and he gave Grieves no chance to win heat 12. 5 down with 3 heats left.
Theo split Havelock and Tresarrieu in heat 13, but we lost a 5-1 to Kerr and Auty in heat 14. Matthew had had two successive lasts and was probably tiring.
Lining up for the last heat, Theo dived forward into the tapes. After some discussion John Campbell withdrew Theo rather than putting him off 15 metres, to keep Ronnie on the favourable gate 3.
It worked, Ronnie gated, moved wide on the pits band to block Grieves, came down lower to discourage Havvy and clinched a good race win.
That was 5 race wins, an acceptable return. Now for the home match.