REPORT Saturday 27th March 2010, 10:00pm
We thought we were heading for a big win, but two 1-5 losses in heats 14 and 15 left Monarchs with a tough task if they were to regain the Spring Trophy at Ashfield.
How did it happen? Well it didn't help that Matthew Wethers forgot to turn his fuel on in heat 14 (which also made him ineligible for heat 15) and it didn't help that a sheared engine bolt just before heat 15 took Ryan Fisher out of that one. He was unbeaten at that point.
However credit should go to Glasgow too. James Grieves was right back to his best and engineered the heat 15 5-1 by blocking Tully's outside run. And their heat 14 pair of Lee Dicken and Mitchell Davey were both worth more than they scored.
Monarchs sailed off impressively with Fisher well ahead in heat 1, and Tabaka doing well to take third and even get close to McGowan at one point.
The first lap of heat 2 was dramatic and Mitchell Davey shot ahead up the back straight, only to stop on the fourth corner in a shower of sparks. Thereafter our pair easily led home Jamie Courtney.
James Grieves was right into the groove in heat 3 though Matthew kept it close, and it was tight for third as well with the point going to guest Aaron Summers ahead of Dicken. The Tigers' captain fell on the last bend.
Tully and Katajisto had no problems beating Grajczonek in heat 4 and we were into TR territory already. McGowan had the black and white on for the next but Wethers took him up the back straight - only for the heat to be stopped when Ksiezak fell at the back.
Next time round McGowan did get the six points. Fisher led heat 6 while Tabaka was looking for a way past Davey - only to run into his back wheel and crash heavily into the fence.
He rose but looked a bit wobbly, and was eventually ruled out of the meeting. Fisher had to do it again but won easily.
Heat 7 was a good one - Grieves and Dicken led but Tully gave determined chase, and cut through into second late in the race.
Mitchell Davey was excluded, rather harshly, from heat 8 after he had clashed with Katajisto, and Stewart Dickson was up at the referee's box for the first time this season. Fast gating Ksiezak led all the way with Katajisto working hard on the outside line and looking for cutbacks. Finally he got it just right and swept down the final straight to take the win.
Grajczonek still wasn't showing his best form and he was swept aside in heat 9 after Summers had raced round the outside line, and Wethers tucked inside him. That put us 11 up, which Stewart Dickson mistakenly thought allowed the second TR. Grieves came out in black and white but had to change.
Fisher got the better of Grieves in a tough first turn but this time the unbeaten Katajisto couldn't make progress from the back.
Tully stormed away from McGowan in heat 11, and we gained an advantage when Ksiezak fell and let in Dilger for the point.
So Grieves now did get his TR and led all the way, though Katajisto put up a fine chase.
Fisher and Tully were too quick for Grajczonek in heat 13 and that put us 49-35 ahead with both TRs gone. Surely we were heading for a big win?
Well, no. The mishaps of Wethers and Fisher plus some good riding by the Tigers saw to that, and they probably went into the second leg as favourites to retain the Trophy.