Nick Morris - big danger at reserve Image Credit: Ron MacNeill


NEWS Tuesday 23rd August 2011, 9:22pm

by Mike Hunter

The Scotwaste Monarchs face Glasgow again at Armadale this Friday, in the knowledge that the Tigers are well on the way to annexing the title Monarchs won last year, and with a determination to show that they are a much better side than the one defeated at home by Glasgow three weeks ago.

Perhaps Monarchs haven't done themselves any favours by inviting Glasgow's return while the talented Nick Morris is still at reserve, but in any case the team want to show that they can beat the best on their own track, and for sure this season at Premier level, Glasgow are the best.

TEAMS FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 26th AUGUST (start time 7.30, doors open 6.30) are:

SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Kevin Wolbert, Kalle Katajisto, Andrew Tully, Matthew Wethers (capt.), Craig Cook, Byron Bekker, Kyle Howarth.

GLASGOW TIGERS: Joe Screen (capt.), Michal Rajkowski, Christian Henry, Richard Sweetman, James Grieves, Nick Morris, Theo Pijper.

PREMIER LEAGUE: The current Premier League table shows Glasgow leading the way, a healthy 9 points clear of Sheffield.

In reality they have a more convincing advantage than that, given the balance of home and away matches remaining for the leading contenders. Glasgow have 8 away wins, twice as many as any other team, and they have not yet dropped a home point.

The Scotwaste Monarchs are more concerned with their own position and currently sit at eighth in the table, a position they should be capable of improving on to ensure a top-half finish in defence of the title they won last season.

AWAY MATCHES: The Scotwaste Monarchs ride two away matches this weekend, heading for Ashfield on Sunday to race the return against the Tigers (4pm) and then down to Scunthorpe for a Monday afternoon match against the Scorpions (3pm) at a venue Monarchs have a good record on.

BYRON IN: After an excellent display last Friday, Byron Bekker has accepted a position in the Monarchs' team, replacing Tim Webster who has asked to be released.

John Campbell said ?In my mind Tim showed enough potential to allow us to run him for the rest of the season but he did tend to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and body and bike were severely battered on a number of occasions.

?Anyway it's thanks to Tim and welcome back Byron, who was an exceptionally popular team member when last with us.?

COOK ON SONG: Having ridden well at home last week, Craig Cook kept up the good work in Monday's Elite League match at Belle Vue with 9 points against Poole.

MEETING SPONSOR: Friday's Scottish derby is sponsored by Media16 of Tranent, the printers of the Monarchs' programme.

TITLE IN THEIR GRASP: As already stated Glasgow are well clear in the Premier League title race, and while it never seems so clear cut when it is your own team in the ascendancy, it is hard to see how they could possibly lose it now.

They have reached this position even with the loss of Josh Grajczonek some weeks back, and in recent matches have owed a lot to the exceptional form of reserve Nick Morris. The young Aussie scored 15 at Armadale three weeks ago, and an amazing 19 at Leicester last weekend.

Their team has no weak links and have been able to win matches even when one or two riders have been below par, a trait Monarchs displayed in their title winning season last year.

Joe Screen is a powerful no. 1 with an average over 9, James Grieves has shown his usual ability to win vital heats, and all the other riders have chipped in at times when required.

LAST MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs beat Redcar 61-33 at Armadale last Friday with a very solid team performance. Kevin Wolbert (13) and Craig Cook (12) led the way.

NEXT WEEK'S MATCH: The Scotwaste Monarchs face Scunthorpe Scorpions in a Premier League match at Armadale on Friday 2nd September.