Dilger and Tully Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Glasgow Tigers v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Sunday 28th March 2010, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

That old familiar feeling - coming back from the dead to seize the spoils at Ashfield! We didn't win but we took the Spring Trophy in a dramatic finale.

Ryan Fisher led the way and has made a great start to the season, but there was great backup from three-win Kalle Katajisto and ever-crafty Matthew Wethers especially.

Fisher had to make the start twice in heat one because Jozsef Tabaka came down the first time. He was probably quite fortunate to get back in the rerun but it wasn't Jozsef's day anyway.

So Fisher did it again from gate four, but we went behind in heat 2. Mitchell Davey is always quick when in front and he led all the way, with Max Dilger steady in second but Kalle surprisingly stuck at the back.

Gate four was by far the best and Matthew made the most of that to run round the boards to the front and head James Grieves in the third race. The Tigers filled the minor places.

Andrew didn't win from gate four in heat 4, but partner Katajisto showed his true colours by bursting to the front, beating Grajczonek, and with Tully third we had levelled the scores.

Racing had been mediocre so far, but even though there was no passing in heat five it was a cracker. Grieves led but Fisher piled on the pressure inside and out throughout the race, missing out by a length.

New Tiger McGowan led all the way in heat 6 and we had the first pass of the day when Andrew slipped inside Robert Ksiezak, then sat alongside Dilger to ensure a shared heat. It was neatly done by Tully.

Gracjonek won heat 7 but Wethers and Summers shared it, then we had an exciting heat 8.

As in the previous night's match Ksiezak was the race leader with Katajisto chasing. On the final turn, Kalle went for broke round the boards and squeezed through for a thrilling win.

We were two down but that gap grew to 8 over the next two heats. Tully held second in heat 9 but rode too tight and allowed Dicken to make an outside pass, joining Grieves in a 5-1.

Aaron made a brave attempt to go round Ksiezak in heat 9 but fell against the fourth bend fence, clearing the track in time to let McGowan take the win over Wethers.

Fisher hit the front in heat 11 and Katajisto again flew past the opposition, into the third turn - and down, on the now-slippery surface affected by rain.

That was a chance lost. We saw the best of Summers off gate 4 in heat 12, leading Grieves all the way. It didn't look like a tactical ride by James though it did prevent us using a TR in heat 13.

In this Fisher was off gate 1, and he couldn't make much of it as Grajczonek flew from gate 4 backed by McGowan. That made it 45-33 on the day, Tigers 6 up on aggregate.

However heat 14 was a good chance for us, with Matthew and Kalle in it, against Dicken and Courtney who had to have his third ride. With Kalle on gate 4, he got the black and white, and Matthew of course was the ideal man for backup.

They controlled the first turn, and as Matthew said "after that it was plain sailing." An 8-1 and now we were a point up on aggregate!

The priority was now winning the race and so even though Tigers got gates 2 and 4, we wanted our no. 1 on the wider gate. He went off 3 while Matthew was lumbered with gate 1.

Another cracking start and Fisher was gone, and Matthew also made a good one to get into third. Four perfect laps and that was that, an aggregate 96-93 win and the Spring Trophy was back in our hands.