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Edinburgh Monarchs v Newcastle Diamonds

REPORT Friday 12th June 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Newcastle always look like tough opposition on paper, and this time they were actually quite tough on the track as well.

Bringing William Lawson as a guest had something to do with it, but most of their own riders also did a bit and with the score at 30-27 after nine heats, anything looked possible.

The track was a bit slick so you didn?t want to go missing the gate. Heat leaders King, Larsen, Tully and Wethers all had last places on their records though Tully especially also pulled off some superb overtakes.

The dominant man in the meeting was Ryan Fisher. He gated well and looked completely comfortable with a machine which was doing what he wanted. It?s not always the case with Ryan but he was perfect here.

We had Matthew in as rider replacement for heat 1, the strong pairing designed to deal with the perceived threat from William Lawson, and they delivered an opening 5-1.

Aaron Summers looked a lot better than last week and easily won heat 2 in a fast time, with Sean Stoddart third to give us a sound 9-3 start.

Michal Rajkowski made the start in heat 3 but rode a shambolic opening lap and was in fourth place as they came past the starting gate to start lap 2. King led from Tully but Andrew worked his way inside and pulled off an excellent inside pass in mid-bend.

Matthew Wethers won a shared heat 4 with Larsen giving spirited chase, but we lost heat 5 as Rajkowski repeated his trick of going from first to last in a lap. Tully moved in the other direction up to second but was too far back to catch Lawson.

Fisher again showed his fine form and strolled off with heat 6. Larsen was surprisingly at the back but Adam McKinna took second, showing plenty of resilience as Aaron Summers tried to pass on the inside.

In heat 7 Derek Sneddon made the start as Sean Stoddart rode a strong outside line to get into second. Wethers decided to sit with Sean rather than go for the lead, keeping King at the back.

Stoddart had been moved into heat 7 to make sure of the strongest possible pair in heat 8 where 5 points should have been on offer, and so it proved with Fisher and Summers taking the maximum. That made the score 29-19, TR time.

And what a shock heat 9 was. Adam McKinna gated with Kenni Larsen inside him, and that was that with Rajkowski and Tully trailing well back. Larsen went ahead in the last few yards to secure full points and now we were only 30-27 ahead.

We needed to show some resolve now and you could see the team respond. Tully was straight back out as rider replacement with Fisher and while the American sailed off again, Tully stalked Sneddon and passed him for an excellent paid win.

Lawson won heat 11 but only just held off a strong passing attempt by Wethers, and this time Summers kept McKinna quiet.

Heat 12 looked as though it could go any way and at last Rajkowski got it right and held on to his fast start. Summers forced his way into second and we were now stabilised eleven points up.

Lawson had won two heats but he was at the back as heat 13 went our way, a 5-1 which virtually polished things off.

Derek Sneddon took the second TR but Tully didn?t allow him a heat win, a strong second bend doing to trick. We were now guaranteed the three points but it had taken a strong run of heats to get us there after that heat 9 setback.

Fisher duly completed a superb paid max in the last race with Wethers bundled almost into the fence by Derek Sneddon on the opening lap.