REPORT Sunday 7th October 2007, 10:00pm
Leading after 7 heats at Ashfield, the Scotwaste Monarchs always held a grip on the aggregate situation and ran out deserving winners of the Scottish Cup.
We did remarkably well because we were (as usual) fielding a weakened team, and yet allowed Glasgow to replace Craig Watson with Gary Havelock following their Young Shield defeat in the first match of the double header.
They also used rider replacement for Robert Ksiezak, who had been in such poor form in Friday?s first leg and also in the early part of the Redcar match. After a knock in a first bend tumble, he pulled out which allowed McAllan and Leverington to take rider replacement rides against us.
So Glasgow were probably stronger than their usual 1-7 would be, and yet we took the match by the scruff of the neck. As on Friday we displayed the greater commitment, starting with George Stancl?s big win over Havelock in heat 1.
Derek Sneddon came off worst in an ?elbows? battle with McAllan and finished well back.
Guest Dan Giffard had done well for his own team, and he carried on with an excellent heat 2 win.
Jason Lyons became the first Tigers? winner ahead of Kaj Laukkanen, but Giffard was out again, beating Coles in the battle of the rider replacements.
It was important that Matthew got off to a good start to keep the pressure on, and he did just that, riding neck and neck with Trent Leverington and forcing ahead round the bottom bend for a fine win.
Scores level, and then we went ahead thanks to another powerhouse ride by Stancl to beat Lyons. We took an advantage with Derek ahead of Lee Dicken.
Tigers were ahead in heat 7 but Wethers cut inside McAllan in impressive style to take second place.
Undaunted, we took the lead again as Laukkanen beat Leverington and Bugeja picked up a gift third when Coles stopped.
Leading 22-20, we were not that far away from clinching the Cup already. However we never make it easy for ourselves.
Sneddon and Gifford contested the first corner of heat 8 with McAllan. The home man was trying to use the widest possible line but hit the fence and fell. The blame, according to the trainee ref, fell upon Derek. It was difficult from the terraces to see if that was reasonable, though it was somehow predictable.
The rerun result was too ? a Glasgow 5-1. And when heat 9 went the same way with Matthew at the back, we were 24-30 behind and needing some inspiration.
It turned out that Giffard was out of the match now with shoulder problems and a cracked frame, though he might have done heat 14 had we needed it.
Laukkanen struck a big blow for us by gating and heading Havelock in heat 10, and we had stopped the rot.
Heat 11 looked a likely advantage, but Leverington led home Stancl and Sneddon. We were still a few points away from being sure of the Cup.
No Giffard for heat 12, so we had to use the struggling Bugeja, and with Lyons winning we got just 2 from Laukkanen.
Tigers now needed three 5-1?s to win the Scottish Cup. Havelock got ahead in heat 13 as Stancl and Leverington diced for second ? only to find Matthew Wethers coming between them to take 2 points!
That was virtually it, as we just needed finishers over the last 2 heats. Derek took a TR in heat 14 and chased McAllan home, making sure of the aggregate win.
The trainee ref allowed Lyons to make a flier in the last heat, which was shared. We then waited for the presentation.
We waited quite a while in fact, as both teams came round on the truck and we were treated to some Glasgow presentations and interviews while the Monarchs? team stood at the side.
They took the trophy themselves and had a picture taken, then finally (with Monarchs? fans complaining loudly) Derek received the cup from Alan Dick. He was interviewed, and the rest of the team walked away.
A poorly handled presentation indeed, but it didn?t alter the result ? we won the Scottish Cup again!