NEWS Friday 27th September 2013, 11:20pm
The Scotwaste Monarchs were not at their best tonight, but 5-1 advantages in each of the last three heats gave them a deceptively comfortable 52-38 victory and three points in the Premier Playoff group.
The Comets now have 5 from 3 matches, with Monarchs on 4 from 2. Attention will now turn to the Workington v Ipswich match tomorrow, after which we will know what Monarchs require from next week’s matches with Ipswich to win the group.
It was hard work tonight with a couple of the team out of form, and reserve Max Fricke affected by a nasty crash in heat 4. Max had won his opening race in heat 2, and had passed Chris Mills to lead heat 4, when Mills made a badly misjudged lunge into the next bend, running straight into Fricke and sending him across the bend and into the fence.
After treatment Max was OK, but he bent his frame and thereafter struggled to find speed. He managed to get into position enough to record good team-riding 5-1s in heats 8 (with Derek Sneddon) and 14 (with Jozsef Tabaka).
These were crucial contributions. We need hardly say that Craig Cook returned yet another apparently effortless 15 point maxiumum, and Theo Pijper (other than one poor ride) did extremely well, winning a last gasp heat 4 from Rene Bach which was important.
Jozsef Tabaka’s return was 9+1, and Max Fricke in spite of his machine problems also scored 9+1.
The riders who were below par were Claus Vissing and Derek Sneddon, trying so hard but visibly struggling. They both lost position a couple of times as we let Workington come back into the match.
We led from heat 1, were pegged back, had a 4-point lead by heat 6 and lost a 5-1 in heat 7 to level the scores. At this stage it was anyone’s match.
Derek and Max scored a heat 8 5-1, and we took another advantage in heat 11. We had been on a 5-1 until Howarth tumbled in third place, and could only get a 4-2 in the rerun.
Most of the good work was undone in heat 12, in which Claus held second and was even pressing leader Howarth, but lost position to Ashley Morris. That made the score 37-35, after which Cook-Pijper, Tabaka-Fricke and Cook-Pijper again all pocketed maximum heat wins to make it look as though we had had an easy night.
The Comets rode well, trying to follow up their sensational result the night before. But at times we made it too easy for them. Kyle Howarth won three heats but had two non-scoring rides, Rene Bach went well (these two riders struggled on Comets’ previous visit) and Ashley Morris picked up a good score by riding steadily round the inside.
Our next match is at Ipswich on Thursday.