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Edinburgh Monarchs v Rye House Rockets

REPORT Friday 22nd July 2011, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

The Scotwaste Monarchs held the upper hand throughout against Rye House, though not for the first time it was powerful riding over the second half of the match which really settled matters.

Rockets were by no means poor though a couple of their top five, specifically Brundle and Hawkins, didn?t get to grips with things. They had good reserves in Nelson and Bowen but Jordan Frampton has had better evenings at Armadale.

The top five Monarchs were in fine form and Tim Webster had his best meeting so far. Only Kyle Howarth had an off night, but this wasn?t a matter of much concern.

The first heat was an efficient 5-1 from Kevin Wolbert and Kalle Katajisto over the normally speedy Frampton, with Kalle showing early signs of the kind of controlled and sensible riding we are looking for from him.

The Rockets reserves are strong and it was not a great surprise that we lost heat 2, though it was a surprise that Kyle Howarth finished well at the back with Tim Webster riding steadily to split the Rockets, beating Bowen with a bit to spare.

Andrew Tully continued recent excellent home form with a comfortable win in heat 3, and he was joined down the back straight by Matthew Wethers. However Matthew?s inside line proved vulnerable and Chris Neath rounded him, and held second.

Heat 4 might well have been stopped as Nelson two-wheeled across the first corner, forcing Cook out to the fence to avoid him. However on it went and Kyle Howarth held the lead from the hard-pressing Boxall, who eventually got up inside Kyle going into the third bend of lap three. Kyle came down, and it was the usual awkward decision for the referee who can?t see well from his position.

He chose to exclude Howarth and award the result.

Tully and Wethers wasted no time in pushing Monarchs on again, beating Frampton with a bit to spare, and clearly Rockets? no. 1 was not as formidable as usual.

Kalle moved smoothly ahead of heat 6 and we waited for Kevin Wolbert to do something about his bad start, but rather disappointingly he didn?t even manage much of a challenge on the third-placed Bowen.

Neath beat Cook in heat 7 but most people were probably watching third spot as Tim Webster again did well to beat the more experienced Hawkins.

Monarchs were on a 4-2 in heat 8 but Howarth?s nightmare continued as he fell trying to challenge Nelson on lap 2. Kalle Katajisto made no mistake sharing the rerun in which Brundle limped home for a gift point.

The powerhouse Tully-Wethers pair was too much for the previously impressive Steve Boxall in heat 9, and the next heat virtually settled matters.

Chris Neath took a TR, but Wolbert and Katajisto swept home for a 5-1 to give Monarchs a 14-point lead.

A TR for Frampton in heat 11 was the last throw of the dice for the Rockets and at last we saw a really good heat.

In the first running Webster made another good start but got caught outside Craig Cook on the second bend, and came down. He was a bit unlucky to be excluded. In the rerun Cook gated well enough but made a mistake on the first corner, which let Frampton surge ahead. That might have been that, but Cook set out after him and tried cutbacks on each corner, finally succeeding in style on the final lap. Great effort.

Howarth finally scored in heat 12, a third as Andrew Tully took his score to paid 12.

It was all Monarchs now, and Wolbert and Cook swept home in heat 13 ahead of Boxall with Frampton trailing.

Webster had another exclusion in heat 14 when he came down on a tight first corner, and again he was quite unfortunate. Wethers beat Neath in the rerun.

The final heat was another good one. Monarchs had two unbeaten riders in Tully and Katajisto, against Neath and Boxall. At first kalle edged ahead and looked like going on for his paid maximum, but once again Neath showed how well he can ride this track. He slipped up inside Kalle for a well-deserved win, a small consolation for the visitors.