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NEWS Tuesday 26th August 2008, 8:28pm

by Mike Hunter

This week's action for the Scotwaste Monarchs features home and away matches against the league leaders (Monarchs are level on match points, behind on race points) so it is 1st against 2nd at the Oak Tree Arena (Wednesday) and at the Scotwaste Arena, Armadale (Friday).

Mark Lemon will again be Monarchs' guest with the return of William Lawson hopefully now just over a week away. Other than that Monarchs will be at full strength, and if either of these two matches finishes in anything other than a home win, it could well be a killer blow against the team not clinching their home points.

TEAMS FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 29th AUGUST (start time 7.30, doors open 6.30) are:

EDINBURGH SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Mark Lemon (guest), Derek Sneddon (capt.), Thomas H Jonasson, Matthew Wethers, Ryan Fisher, Andrew Tully, Aaron Summers

SOMERSET REBELS: Jason Doyle, rider replacement for Simon Walker, Emil Kramer, Matthias Kroger, Jordan Frampton, Brent Werner, Stephan Katt.

THE PREMIER LEAGUE: SOMERSET have 38 points from 21 matches and have the following matches left ? HOME v Edinburgh (27/8), Mildenhall (5/9), AWAY v Edinburgh (29/8), Berwick (30/8), Birmingham (3/9), Rye House (6/9), Reading (8/9), Isle of Wight (9/9), Sheffield (11/9).

EDINBURGH have 38 points from 22 matches and have the following matches left ? HOME v Somerset (29/8), Glasgow (5/9), Newcastle (12/9), AWAY v Somerset (27/8), Stoke (30/8), Redcar (11/9), Newcastle (14/9), Glasgow (TBA).

KING'S LYNN have 36 points from 26 matches and have the following matches left ? HOME v Stoke (27/8), Isle of Wight (3/9), Reading (TBA), AWAY v Mildenhall (14/9).

WORKINGTON have 35 points from 27 matches and have the following matches left ? HOME v Glasgow (30/8), Stoke (TBA), Newcastle (TBA).

King's Lynn will almost certainly finish on 45 points.

Home wins would give Edinburgh 44 points and Somerset 42 points. Workington can only reach 41. Others who could make a top four playoff place are Berwick and Rye House.

So the title rests on the away results for Somerset and Edinburgh. It has been pointed out with some justification that the Rebels have matches against sides currently experiencing injury problems, whereas the teams Monarchs have to visit are at their strongest. So to win the league we must make our own luck.

MEETING SPONSOR: Meeting sponsor on Friday for the table-topping clash will be the Hampton Hotel, for the second time this season.

POWERFUL REBELS: Somerset have been a powerful squad all season, recovering from the pre-season loss of Ritchie Hawkins and Tom Hedley.

For 2008 they made the big decision not to re0sign the league's top man Magnus Zetterstrom, aiming for a more solid side, but this has paid off doubly well as Aussie Jason Doyle has come in on a lower starting average and pretty much matched Zetterstrom's displays!

The introduction of German rider Matthias Kroger to replace struggling fellow countryman Henning Loof also boosted the Rebels, who have now qualified for the KO Cup final as well as leading the league.

Emil Kramer has continued in his role of backup to the top man, and Jordan Frampton has carried on his rise to speedway stardom.

There is no more experienced reserve in the division than Brent Werner, the American who has a very good Armadale record, and Monarchs will have to keep him quiet on Friday.

STOKE ON SATURDAY: Monarchs have another vital Premier League match on Saturday when they travel to Stoke. Magnus Karlsson, a member of the 2003 Monarchs' league winning team (now with Scunthorpe) guests in place of William Lawson.

THE INCIDENT: Last Friday's meeting was marred by a pits incident involving Berwick's Michal Makovsky, in which Aaron Summers had his helmet smashed. Monarchs did not want this matter swept under the carpet but at the time of this release, it appears that we could be on the way to a conclusion which will not involve anyone outside the two clubs.

LAST MEETING: Monarchs beat Berwick 59-33 at Armadale in spite of losing a first heat 1-5 and also suffering some machine problems along the way. Ryan Fisher (12) was top scorer.

NEXT MEETING: Monarchs will race Glasgow Tigers in the Premier League at Armadale on Friday 5th September.