Glasgow Tigers v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Sunday 17th May 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Having released two riders over the winter from our league-winning team, it isn't really reasonable to think we can go on winning away matches regularly - but the team just keep coming up with these results!

Going to Glasgow without Aaron Summers, while the home team were able to use a strong rider replacement for the so-far unproductive Peter Juul, we clearly needed a strong performance to get any kind of result.

Right from the start the team got stuck in and rode with confidence and determination, with Michal Rajkowski proving to be the trump card once again.

Ryan Fisher got off to a great start, sweeping home well clear in heat 1. Parker was actually behind our rider replacement Sean Stoddart from the gate and settled for moving past to shield Bekker for a shared race.

Rajkowski took heat 2, and again Stoddart was in a scoring position but disappointingly lost it to Tigers' guest John Branney.

Davey rode impressively to win heat 3 easily and it seemed he would be a strong opponent at this stage. Jonasson and Tully kept Grajczonek at the back.

Tigers took the lead in heat 4 with an easy win for Grieves, with Stoddart again beaten by Branney.

That was the last time we were behind. Against Tigers' two Aussies, Ryan Fisher and Michal Grajczonek had little difficulty taking a 5-1. The next two heats were shared, with Thomas Jonasson putting in a strong challenge on Grieves in heat 7.

The first running of this heat saw Tully and Branney come down at the first corner, with Branney unfortunately picking up a knee injury and pulling out of the meeting.

Heat 8 was another obvious opportunity to take an advantage and we didn't let it pass. Tully and Rajkowski this time, well ahead of Davey who seemed to have lost his sparkle.

Grieves was rider replacement in heat 9, emphasising the difference Juul's absence was making. He won easily but we shared it, even though Grajczonek briefly passed Wethers. Matthew slipped back through on the inside of the fourth corner, a move he uses well.

Heat 10 was shared, so we were still six up going in to heat 11 which proved to be the best race of the day. Grieves led down the back straight, Fisher pulled off a great move to pass going into the bottom bend. Grieves wasn't giving up though and kept up the pressure, eventually making a brilliant overtake out at the fence on the pits bend. The two shook hands after an excellent race which cut 2 off our lead.

However heat 12 was another of our chances, Tigers fielding only Grajczonek against Jonasson and Rajkowski. Again we were much too quick for the home man, stretching the lead to 8 points.

Heat 13 is a different kettle of fish of course, and our own Fish did an excellent job to split the Parker/Grieves pair for the first time this season. Ryan slipped into second down the back straight and made sure that wide line was covered.

So we were 6 ahead and strongly represented in heat 14, Tully and Rajkowski against Grajczonek and Davey. Our pair again surged miles clear and looked like finishing it in style with a 5-1. Regrettably after such a great display, Michal stopped on the last bend of lap three and two wheeled to a halt out at the fence. Coming from well back, and going nowhere near Rajkowski, Grajczonek fell, later suggested to be for a seized engine.

Incredibly the referee saw this as a reason to stop the heat, exclude Michal and award Grajczonek a point. Mercifully such nonsense had no bearing on the match result with Andrew Tully taking the win, leaving the score at 39-45 going in to the last heat.

Again we had some cause for complaint with the final heat stopped mysteriously after Jonasson had gated alongside Grieves and was contesting the lead. At the second attempt Fisher fell against the fence, and finally Tigers took a 5-1, to make the final score 44-46.