Edinburgh Monarchs v Rye House Rockets

PREVIEW Friday 20th June 2014, 12:00pm

by Gordon Fraser

After another remarkable team performance at Owlerton tonight, the Scotwaste Monarchs will now be looking to make it 20 matches in a row without defeat when they take on Len Silver's Rye House Rockets for Premier League points at Armadale this Friday.

Hopes were high that 2014 was going to be a good season for the Rockets but after an opening day away win against Peterborough, they've had six modest wins at Hoddesden, but have lost four times on their home track and have been beaten in all their other away matches.

Craig Cook has had a week to live long in the memory, with hopefully even better things to come. His opposite number this week is former Elite League heat leader Edward Kennett who has been struggling so far to live up to his big Premier League average.

Justin Sedgmen just seems to get better and better, especially since teaming up at No.2 with Craig Cook. His opposite number is 28-year-old Luke Bowen from Harlow in Essex who is being granted a testimonial this year to mark his decade-long service to Rye House.

Another Monarchs rider who also seems to get better week by week and now deservedly holds down a heat leader slot at No.3 is Max Fricke. He lines up opposite Matthieu Tressarieu , the French long track rider who was drafted in when Tyson Nelson hit the visa brick wall.

Derek Sneddon had such a frustrating time last week, not quite as quick from the gate as usual and having rider after rider 'park' in front of him. He'll certainly have to be quick this week to match one of the stars of the British Final, 20-year-old Jason Garrity from Droylsden.

Sam Masters undoubtedly gives 100% effort but still has the occasional issue with the first/second bend before he gets into his Armadale races. Facing him at No. 5 this week is 26-year-old Steve Boxall who used to enjoy huge success with the Rockets before losing his way in the sport.

Aaron Fox is still on a steep learning curve but showed last week that he can pick up valuable points at the Scotwaste Arena. His fellow No.6 is the most experienced of the Rockets, Jason Bunyan, the Milton Keynes-born rider who has won nine New Zealand national titles.

Steve Worrall must be running up a cricket score of points this year as he quietly goes about his business. Craig Cook's Aces' teammate, Stefan Nielsen is not fit to take his place at No.7 and will be replaced by Nathan Grieves from the Cradley Heathens National League side.

All the Rye House riders have had good Armadale performances in the past but it would take all seven to click on the night to trouble this rampant Monarchs' side. A record of nineteen wins and a draw is no fluke and the home side are running high on confidence.

The Rye House track is a small one similar in length to the Scotwaste Arena but there the similarity ends. Hoddesden is normally dry and slick whereas Doc Bridgett usually ensures there's plenty of grip and different racing lines for the riders of either side to exploit.

Monarchs won't have it all their own way although, given what they've done to every visiting side so far this season, you have to strongly suspect that Rye House are not the team to pull off a major shock. But make sure to get along to support your side - and look out for fireworks from Jason Garrity! Tapes up at 7.30 sharp.

Likely line-ups:

EINBURGH SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Craig Cook, Justin Sedgmen, Max Fricke, Derek Sneddon (capt.), Sam Masters, Aaron Fox, Steve Worrall.

RYE HOUSE ROCKETS: Edward Kennett, Luke Bowen, Mathieu Tresarrieu, Jason Garrity, Steve Boxall, Jason Bunyan (capt.), Nathan Grieves (guest).