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Edinburgh Monarchs v Scunthorpe Scorpions

REPORT Friday 29th April 2011, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Powerful riding by the Scotwaste Monarchs? top five plus a great debut by Kyle Howarth brought the biggest home win of the season over a pretty disappointing Scunthorpe side.

The Scorpions don?t have a good Armadale record and it didn?t get any better here. But the measure of the home team?s efforts should be their success over David Howe, who after a bad first ride rode very well, but still didn?t win a heat. He lost out in some good tussles with Kalle Katajisto, Craig Cook, Kevin Wolbert and Cook again in the final heat.

The other visiting riders generally trailed a fairly large distance behind, other than in heat 12 in which Andrew Tully broke the tapes. He should still have been able to win the heat of 15 metres but never quite got in the right position against Jorgensen and Bergstrom, the latter unfortunately falling during his post-race celebrations.

Even with Howe in the opening race, Wolbert and Wethers opened up with their customary 5-1 (they have had 10 of these in their 12 programmed heats in the home league matches).

All eyes were on heat 2 with both home reserves making their debut in the side. But it was Thomas Jorgensen, an Armadale first timer, who shot away to win easily. Kyle Howarth took a steady second and there was a battle for third. After a poor start Lee Dicken pressured Steven Worrall (also at Armadale for the first time) and though he seemed to be through at one stage, Worrall came back for the point.

The home pair gated in heat 3 but Katajisto lost control as he tends to do in his first ride, and slithered to the fence as the Scorpions came by. Andrew Tully did the fastest time of the season (still more than 2 seconds off the track record) but Kalle made no headway.

Craig Cook had been doubtful until the afternoon of the match but there was no sign of that as he easily won heat 4, and even better for the home fans, Howarth rode a good race to keep Wilson and Worrall at the back. The new boy was a big favourite already.

David Howe made the gate in heat 5 but this time Kalle, off gate four, pulled off a beautiful outside sweep to go ahead down the back straight. There were no mistakes this timein an intriguing chase with Tully keeping Howe in his sights while the visiting no 1 kept close to Katajisto.

When Howe wasn?t out though, the racing was less good. Wolbert and Wethers had an exhibition ride against Wilson and Jorgensen, and the score was now 24-12.

Viktor Bergstrom came out on a TR (which perhaps rather displayed the lack of candidates) and Monarchs countered by bringing Howarth in for Dicken. Sure enough the youngster gated with Cook and with another steady ride he took a paid win and defeated the TR move.

Lee Dicken came out in heat 8 and made a good start, but his rustiness showed as he took too long to get round the first turn and found himself at the back. Wethers cruised to victory though, and there was no sign of the Scorpions exerting any pressure.

Another easy 5-1 from Tully and Katajisto over the very poor Wilson widened the gap, and then it was the turn of Wolbert and Wethers again. Enough said. We were now 42-18 ahead.

It was time for David Howe?s TR though and this was a good heat. Cook took Howe right to the fence on the first turn and that let Howarth nip through to lead. Cook went ahead and Howarth made it really tough for Howe, who took the best part of three laps to pass. Even then young Howarth almost pushed his way back through, and the heat was shared with Haines well back.

Andrew Tully rather unnecessarily went through the tapes in heat 12, which should not have been a hard one for him. There must have been a fair expectation that he would still win off 15 metres, but he never quite found the right position as the visitors rode quite a canny race to take a surprise 5-1.

Heat 13 was a real corker. David Howe finally got ahead, but he had a very lively Kevin Wolbert chasing and Craig Cook not far away either. Wolbert was really throwing himself round, trying every line, and on the final corner he pulled off another of his amazing passes by powering off the inside of the turn to win by inches.

Kyle Howarth led the way in heat 14 with Kalle doing some shepherding. Aarnio closed in after a couple of laps and Kalle had to switch to the outside and go ahead, turning as he crossed the line to wave young Howarth home to his third paid win of a fine debut.

Howe was in the thick of things again in the last heat. He made a good start but a brilliant second bend by Cook gave him the lead. We had another Wolbert chase to enjoy as he went for his maximum, but this time Howe had learnt enough to block that inside pass and ensure that he had beaten all the Monarchs other than Wethers.

Thank goodness he came because his team mates achieved very little.