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Fast-gating Bandits Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

In-Form Bandits

NEWS Thursday 30th June 2016, 1:00pm

by Mike Hunter

The Border Roofing Monarchs lost their opening home match of the season to Berwick, only the second time the Bandits had won at Armadale, and the borders heroes return in the Premier League this Friday.

The defeat was a shock, and indeed Monarchs then went to Berwick and won down there. However Bandits’ recent form, including a big win against Workington on Sky on Monday, is the best it has been for years and includes a great weekend when they took a win and a draw away from home. Monarchs have no intention of slipping up again but the Bandits must be coming with more hope than usual of doing well at Armadale.

“WE MUST WIN”: Monarchs’ boss Alex Harkess will tell the team “We must set the record straight after that League Cup defeat, and win the match against the Bandits tomorrow.

“We need the points because we have ridden so few home fixtures, and we must keep our unbeaten home record in the League. I have no doubt that we are capable of doing it.”

PREMIER LEAGUE: Last Friday’s rain-off means that Monarchs have still only raced three home league matches. Top of the table Glasgow have raced seven!

Monarchs have gained two points away from home but need to maintain their home form whilst stepping up away to ensure a top six finish and a Playoff place. The next away match is at Redcar on 14th July.

No points were gained in the Sky match at Glasgow on Wednesday even though Monarchs were only two down after heat 10. Alex Harkess said “Conditions were tricky but everyone just got on with it, and I’m sure it came across well on TV. We just need one or two of our bottom three to start scoring a bit better in support of the top riders.”

WORLD CUP: The big event internationally in July is the World Cup and at the moment, the Monarchs have an amazing five riders included in the national squads – Sam Masters (Australia), Ryan Fisher (USA), Kevin Wolbert, Erik Riss and Mark Riss (Germany).

It seems likely that 3 or 4 of these will make the final 5-man squads.

PAIRS NEXT WEEK: Sam Masters and Kevin Wolbert are our pairing in the Premier Pairs at Somerset next Friday, 8th July.

Teams for the Premier League Match at Armadale on Friday 1st July (start time 7:30pm, gates open 6:30pm), are:

BORDER ROOFING MONARCHS: Sam Masters (capt.), Mark Riss, Erik Riss, Ryan Fisher, Kevin Wolbert, Max Clegg, Dan Bewley.

BERWICK BANDITS: Kevin Doolan (capt.), rider replacement for Seb Alden, Theo Pijper, Matthew Wethers, Thomas Jorgensen, Simon Nielsen, Liam Carr.

CAN BANDITS KEEP THE RUN GOING?: After a shaky start Bandits have recorded five wins and a draw in their last seven matches, and have scored 119 points in their last two home matches, so their visit on Friday will not be taken lightly.

In recent seasons they have not done much at Armadale but of course they won on 8th April! We often cite their lengthy experience at Armadale (430 matches between Pijper and Wethers!) and it remains to be seen how they use that to gain race advantages. Kevin Doolan is also a very regular visitor and no. 7 Liam Carr had a spell of regular guesting for Monarchs.

Thomas Jorgensen is definitely on form, and while it would have been nice to see recent signing Daniel Gappmaier (Austria) for the first time, he is away and Simon Nielsen should be an adequate replacement.

Long term injury victim Seb Alden is now at no. 2 in Bandits’ averages and they will use rider replacement, with everyone getting a ride.

LAST MEETING: The Border Roofing Monarchs suffered their fifth postponement of the season when the visit of Glasgow was postponed last Friday.

NEXT MEETING: We welcome Scunthorpe on 22nd July but certainly intend to find opposition for a match on Friday 15th July. There will be no match next Friday due to the PL Pairs / Cardiff GP weekend.