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Newcastle Diamonds v Edinburgh Monarchs

PREVIEW Sunday 23rd May 2010, 12:00pm

by Gordon Fraser

It's back to the unfinished business of the Premier Trophy this Sunday when Monarchs travel to Newcastle Stadium (6.30 start) to try to turn the tables on the high flying Diamonds who have already qualified for the semi-finals.

However it will take something exceptional to spring a surprise result because the rider absences which benefitted Monarchs on Friday in their crushing win will be reversed on this occasion. Newcastle should be back to full strength with the Danish duo of Kenni Larsen and Rene Bach returning to action.

But for Monarchs, this being a Sunday fixture, their German pair of Max Dilger and Kevin Wolbert will be riding on the continent. Wolbert's absence will be most keenly felt after his storming display on Friday when he was unbeaten by an opposion rider in six starts.

Jozsef Tabaka is expected to return to the side to partner Flyin' Ryan Fisher and rider replacement will operate at No 3 for Kevin. This means all the other Monarchs apart from Ryan will be able to cover his four rides. Dilger's place will be taken by Cal McDade who steps in once again at No 6.

This means extra races for several riders for the second time in three days which can sometimes take a toll on riders and more particularly on their bikes. Monarchs will also hope that Andrew Tully is none the worse for his early fall on Friday which severely restricted his scoring.

Newcastle have been inconsistent on their home shale this season so far but they annihilated their troubled neighbours Redcar Bears in last Sunday's local derby with Larsen (15) and Bach (12) unbeaten. Mark Lemon dropped two points in his final ride otherwise he too would have completed a maximum.

Track conditions should be very different this week however because last week's match was held up by rain and extensive track work. If Monarchs want to keep this one close, Fisher and Tully will have to at least match their opposite numbers and skipper Matthew Wethers will have to step up to fill the third heat leader role.

Monarchs travelling fans will also be hoping to see young Kalle Katajisto give another astonishing 'Darcy Ward' style performance like he did on Friday, and if none of Sneddon, King, North or McKinna have exceptional days, Monarchs could keep this one close enough to have a chance of maintaining their slim hopes of qualification.

There are enough ifs and buts to make it impossible to know what the outcome will be, but one thing is for sure ? there will be some exceptional speedway to enjoy. This fixture has a history of close results and outstanding individual performances, so with the weather set fair, the Monarchs riders will appreciate your support on the terraces.

Probable line-ups

Edinburgh: Ryan Fisher, Jozsef Tabaka, rider replacement for Kevin Wolbert, Matthew Wethers, Andrew Tully, Cal McDade (guest), Kalle Katajisto.

Newcastle: Kenni Larsen, Derek Sneddon, Jason King, Rene Bach, Mark Lemon, Dakota North, Adam McKinna.