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Edinburgh Monarchs v Workington Comets

PREVIEW Friday 19th October 2012, 12:00pm

by Gordon Fraser

The curtain comes down on the 2012 Monarchs' season on Friday (19 Oct) when the blue and gold brigade have the chance to put a frustrating couple of weeks behind them go out with a bang in front of their home fans against Workington Comets at Armadale (7.30).

At stake is second place in the three-team Premier League Play-Off section already won by Scunthorpe and a three-point win for Monarchs will relegate the Comets to last place. Any other result will see the Cumbrian side go home happy.

The new Premier League Riders Champion, Craig Cook is denied a return match with his one-time team-mate Richard Lawson who is out injured, and so he is faced by the inevitable guest No.1, Aaron Summers who has seen a lot of the Scotwaste Arena lately.

Derek Sneddon finishes his 2012 campaign with a match-up against the former Berwick and Scunthorpe favourite, Tero 'the Hero' Arnio from Kuusankoski in southern Finland who should be well acclimatised to the Scottish weather at this time of year.

Theo Pijper rounds off a highly successful season which has seen him return to his old form around the 'Dale. But his recent high scoring will be put to the test by the flying former Newcastle star, 22-year-old Rene Bach from Hjordkaer in southern Denmark.

The testimonial man, Matthew Wethers, has had an up and down season, so will be keen to go out in style with a strong performance. The No.4 slot opposite him in the pits will be empty due to the absence of Kenny Ingalls whose rides will be covered by rider replacement.

Andrew Tully has struggled to force his way to the front on the wetter tracks at this time of year, so he will have to put in some good starts to match his opposite number who refuses to lie down to a plague of injuries, one-time Dale Devil, Adam Roynon from Barrow-in-Furness.

Jozsef Tabaka is a real crowd pleaser because he does not have any trouble passing opponents, just bad luck in struggling to finish four laps. This could be the week when it all comes together, so former Monarch Ashley Morris from Wolverhampton should beware.

Monarchs' management have sprung a surprise at No.7 by giving a first taste of real competitive action to regular second-half local rider Tommy Fenwick. Unfortunately his opposite number is someone with a big head start on him, Kyle Howarth from Ashton-under-Lyne.

These are two evenly-matched sides, having finished fourth and fifth in the Premier League but Monarchs came within a whisker of pulling off a sensational win at Derwent Park last Saturday and are harbouring a sense of grievance that they didn't.

However the Comets have a really strong heat leader trio and a pair of reserves who spent a fair bit of time learning every inch of the Scotwaste Arena last year. So Monarchs can't be complacent and surely can't be as generous to the opposition as they were last Friday.

If all the Monarchs fire on the one night, they should have no trouble gaining all three points and they will be inspired by Craig Cook who was simply in a class all his own last Friday in cruising to a paid maximum in far from easy conditions.

Likely line-ups:

EDINBURGH SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Craig Cook, Derek Sneddon, Theo Pijper, Matthew Wethers (capt.), Andrew Tully, Jozsef Tabaka, Tommy Fenwick.

WORKINGTON COMETS: Aaron Summers (guest), Tero Aarnio, Rene Bach, rider replacement for Kenny Ingalls, Adam Roynon, Ashley Morris, Kyle Howarth.