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Edinburgh Monarchs v Workington Comets

REPORT Friday 26th September 2008, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

This was a troubled night for the Scotwaste Monarchs though they battled through for an 8-point first leg win at the last gasp.

The track was slippery throughout, especially on the first turn, and falls by Ryan Fisher (twice) and Andrew Tully damaged the home cause, especially since these two along with Derek Sneddon were the most effective Monarchs.

Aaron Summers was ineffective after a midweek accident, and Matthew Wethers who might have filled some of the gaps was severely hampered by machine problems with both of his bikes.

The track was shining under the lights at the start and it did look as though too much water for the time of year may have been applied. This probably affected Topinka in heat 1 as he slipped to the back while Derek Sneddon took the bull by the horns and drove to the front.

We doubled our lead in heat 2 won by Matthew Wethers, with Reima gifting a point to Summers.

The first turn played its part again in heat 3 with Tully coming off, and the Comets pair of Nieminen and Haines toom an easy 5-1 from Sneddon.

Ryan Fisher looked slick in heat 4 but Aaron Summers was at the back, even though Carl Stonehewer looked pretty uncomfortable in third.

Tully turned in a great chase and came up just short of Neiminen in heat 5, with Lawson third. Still level.

Derek Sneddon gated in heat 6 with William Lawson initially languishing, but able to force his way past Stonehewer to give Monarchs a 4-point lead. Could they start to build on that now?

No was the answer, because heat 7 was a disaster. Firstly Nieminen locked up on the first corner, causing Fisher to fall. Ref Ackroyd (who committed that crazy double exclusion at Newcastle) decided to ignore what had actually happened and exclude Fisher.

Matthew was on his own, and early in the heat he began to splutter, limping home for the point as the scores were levelled again.

Matthew would normally have come in to heat 8 but we had to leave Aaron in. He trailed at the back as Derek Sneddon won again.

Heat 9 was another chance to gain, against Comets? weak third pair, but Fisher flopped off again on that first corner and wasted the chance as Tully won.

Worse still, we could not stop Nieminen and Haines who took their third 5-1 from heat 10. Derek Sneddon gave chase but fell on the last corner.

We quickly levelled the scores again, this time with a bit of help from an engine failure for Topinka. Fisher won easily and Wethers on Sneddon?s bike limped in for a paid win.

Nieminen won heat 12 as Tully chased, and we went ahead by two points in heat 13 with another Fisher win from Topinka, with Lawson just getting past Stonehewer.

We took 4 again from heat 14, Wethers again on Sneddon?s nike and doing the best he could for third place.

Finally we got a heat right in heat 15, with a great first corner move on the outside by Fisher and a forceful pass by Tully on Topinka. This time Nieminen was at the rear caught out by the slippery first turn.

We will be doing well if we can hold an 8-point lead on Saturday.