Danger men Birks and Toft on their last visit Image Credit: Jack Cupido


NEWS Tuesday 25th September 2012, 1:09pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

The Scotwaste Monarchs are one of six teams in the Premier Playoffs, and each of these sides is only three matches away from winning the Premier League Championship for 2012.

Monarchs race their first match against Scunthorpe, the team who won at Armadale just four weeks ago, on Friday and will welcome back top average rider Craig Cook for the match. We should find out today or tomorrow if Jozsef Tabaka will be fit to ride also. The away match at Scunthorpe is on Sunday at 5pm.

TEAMS FOR THE PREMIER PLAYOFF MATCH AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 28th September (start time 7.30, doors open 6.30) are:

SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Craig Cook, Derek Sneddon, Theo Pijper, Matthew Wethers (capt.), Andrew Tully, Jozsef Tabaka or replacement, Byron Bekker (guest).

SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS: Josh Auty, rider replacement for Thomas Jorgensen, Kevin Doolan (guest), Ashley Birks, Nick Morris, Michael Palm Toft, Gary Irving.

PREMIER PLAYOFFS: The two groups for the Playoffs to decide the Premier League Championship were selected at Sheffield on Sunday. They are:



These groups will be decided on a mini-league basis with Premier League scoring etc.

The two group winners will meet in the final.

PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE: Having beaten Leicester at home last Friday, and lost at Rye House, the Scotwaste Monarchs finished fifth in the League table.

The season started slowly, came to life in August inspired by Craig Cook’s brilliant scoring (and assisted by the return to the team of Tabaka) then stumbled just a bit when Cook and Tabaka were injured in a 24-hour period.

Partly thanks to some good guests a Playoff place has been secured and if the two injured riders return, Monarchs will be formidable opponents for anyone.

KO CUP: The Scotwaste Monarchs race Ipswich in the KO Cup semi final (the other semi is Newcastle v Workington).

To assist teams in the Premier Challenge Trophy with their fixtures, Monarchs have agreed to go to Ipswich on Thursday 4th October.

The second leg is at Armadale on 12th October.

NO MARCEL: German reserve Marcel Helfer will miss the next few matches due to fixtures on the Continent.

On Friday Monarchs will use Byron Bekker who has done a sterling job recently replacing Tabaka, and at Scunthorpe it will be James Sarjeant.

EXCELLENT YOUNG TEAM: As Monarchs’ fans have already witnessed, Scunthorpe are an exciting young team with a great deal of talent.

Sadly for them they are missing David Howe, who has missed most of the season, and Thomas Jorgensen who has a shoulder injury. Kevin Doolan guests for Howe (Kevin was brilliant for Monarchs at Rye House last Saturday), and rider replacement operates for Jorgensen, allowing rides for Morris, Birks and the reserves.

Aussie Nick Morris was part of Glasgow’s league winning team last year and is one of the leading young riders in the sport. He’s just 18 and scoring well for Swindon in his doubling-up role in the Elite League.

Josh Auty probably heads Britain’s relatively sparse list of prospects, and is a notably exciting performer in the top two leagues.

Both Ashley Birks and Michael Palm Toft were in double figures when Scunthorpe won last month, so Monarchs will need to be at their absolute best for this fixture.

LAST MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs beat Leicester last Friday in their last home league match by 55-38, recovering from a mid-match slump which saw a 12-point advantage slump to just one.

NEXT MEETING: Subject to final confirmation, it should be Scotwaste Monarchs v Workington in the second home Playoff match at Armadale next Friday, 5th October.