REPORT Friday 28th June 2013, 11:25pm
The Scotwaste Monarchs beat Leicester tonight 52-37 and landed three league points, moving up to fourth place with matches in hand over the teams above them – but in reality it was nothing like as easy as the score suggests!
Leicester had led by 4 points at heat 9, and even after the match Craig Cook said "I honestly thought we had just nicked it by a few points, I never thought it would be that big a scoreline."
Monarchs actually finished with three 5-1s, though in heat 14 this was due to Kevin Doolan stopping while leading. In heats 13 and 15, Craig Cook and Claus Vissing picked up maximum advantages over Nieminen and North, and it was to these two plus Theo Pijper that Monarchs looked to for the bulk of their scoring.
In fact other than junior Tommy Fenwick (who did a decent job without scoring), all the home men scored at least 6, and yet nobody was completely at ease on a night when gating was all-important.
After a discussion over current rules, it was decided that Dakota North was eligible (on his 2012 Premier League average) to guest for Magnus Karlsson, so Leicester were able to use rider replacement for Lasse Bjerre and give all their main men an extra ride. Unfortunately for them this only raised 3 points.
Where the Lions did score heavily was at reserve, where Robert Branford and guest Adam Ellis (back next week with Ipswich) were very impressive.
Kauko Nieminen won heat 1, the visiting reserves took 5 in heat 2 and the Lions were 4 ahead by heat 9. In the next race, Monarchs took the lead!
A 5-0 looks like good fortune, but actually the key element was a good gate by Derek Sneddon. Craig Cook and Nieminen battled for second, and you had to fancy Craig to get the better of things there, but Kauko packed up in any case. Kevin Doolan had already retired so a likely 5-1 became a 5-0.
Monarchs looked strong over the closing heats, especially with Monarch of the Match Claus Vissing having his best meeting to date. The Lions heat leaders faded and hence we arrived at that unlikely final scoreline.