REPORT Friday 22nd May 2009, 10:00pm
If we thought that Scunthorpe would be fairly easy opposition, then that proved to be a mistake as the Scorpions kept alive their chances of a match point till the final heat.
This had much to do with the performances of Magnus Karlsson and David Howe, but also Wilijnson, Bergstrom and Lambert chipped in with points as they realised they might pick something up.
Our old friend Magnus was the best visitor of the season, his majestic riding almost leading to a full maximum.
Monarchs were below their best on a track with nothing much happening on the inside line. Fisher, Rajkowski and Wethers all crashed, and Matthew picked up a hand injury which forced him out of heat 13.
David Howe was quickly off the start to take heat 1, not allowing Fisher close enough to make a challenge.
Heat 2 was eventful. Michal Rajkowski was away well but slowed before reaching the first corner, losing many yards on the opposition. Sean Stoddart led as Rajkowski set out after the opposition. On the first bend of lap two, Hart fell, causing Bekker to swerve outwards and allowing Rajkowski to cut up the inside and into second place!
Bekker wasn't pleased and maybe the race should have been halted and rerun, probably with the same result.
Summers and Tully dealt with the opposition in typical style on the first corner, and though Wilkinson tried to mount a challenge, he fell on the pits bend.
Magnus Karlsson shot from gate 4 to easily win heat 4, and with Howe and Karlsson taking further wins in the next two heats, both beating Fisher, it certainly looked as though these two would dominate the match. This meant in turn that Monarchs had to cash in on the heats they were not in.
They didn't manage to do that in heat 7. This required two reruns, first Bergstrom falling and then Rajkowski, with Monarchs on a 5-1 each time. Finally Wethers beat Wilkinson to increase the lead to 9 points.
Summers and Stoddart took a comfortable 5-1 from heat 8, just in time to allow Magnus Karlsson a TR.
This was another eventful heat. First, Wethers lifted and shot through the tapes. It looked like a machine problem but he admitted later it was his own fault. He was replaced by Rajkowski who promptly headed Karlsson, with Tully also in the picture trying to come through on the inside.
After a couple of laps of fascinating dicing, Karlsson got round the outside of Rajkowski and quickly pulled clear for the six points.
Fisher won heat 10 but Summers trailed disappointingly, unable to find a passing line on the inside.
Heat 11 was also shared as Rajkowski finally lowered Howe's colours, but Wethers struggled at the back affected by his injured hand.
Heat 12 looked promising but the Scorpions were starting to sniff a possible point at least. Off the second bend Wilkinson did very well to come between Rajkowski and Tully to take and hold the lead.
Stoddart replaced Wethers in heat 13 which was the fourth win for Karlsson, though Fisher managed to get ahead of Howe to limit the damage. Monarchs now 8 up.
They could have made the points safe with a maximum in heat 14 but Bergstrom got between Tully and Rajkowski, and a 5-1 in the final heat would still have given Scunny a point.
Going into the first corner Karlsson and Fisher clashed, with Fisher falling. The American wasn't happy, and different views of the incident give different opinions. A stoppage would have been possible but the race was allowed to continue, with Tully challenging Karlsson fiercely.
It was a thrilling tussle, and going into the pits corner for the second time, Tully edged ahead. Karlsson moved out to try to find extra drive, lifted and fell.
Magnus was excluded, Tully easily beat the faded Howe in the rerun and Monarchs had the three points.
HERMISTON MONARCH OF THE MATCH: Andrew Tully.