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Fun In The Sun

PREVIEW Thursday 25th May 2017, 3:36pm

by Graham Muncie

Another Friday another tough encounter for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs as we welcome the Peterborough T Balfe Construction Panthers to Armadale in SGB Championship action.

Dependent on results on Thursday evening the Monarchs may find themselves having being knocked off the top of the division so 3 points are paramount to get the boys back where we want to be.

This will not be an easy task though as Peterborough travel with a team that holds no fear of Armadale and looking to bounce back from some recent indifferent form that sees them languishing towards the bottom of the table.

Obviously it is still early days and with the newly expanded league format there is still plenty of time for the Panthers to regroup but they will certainly be looking to do this sooner rather than later.

Leading the charge for the Alwalton men will be young Aussie Jack Holder. Holder is really making his mark this year having moved from the cosy confines of Plymouth to the wide open spaces of the East of England Showground. This move appears to have suited Holder who has increased his average by close on 1.5 points since the start of the season and was a recent winner of the u21 semi final round at Teranzano in a field that incumbent champion Max Fricke failed to qualify from. The younger brother of former world champ Chris has never had a truly great meeting round the Dale but does have a double figure return to his name and on current form will be tough to beat.

Rider replacement operates at number 2 for the Panthers with Ulrich Ostergaard missing due to Danish league commitments. This is a blow to the Panthers as Ostergaard certainly has Armadale pedigree but as he sits 2nd in the Panthers averages all of the rest of the line-up can cover for him so this may not be too big a miss.

Paul Starke operates at number 3 and he is another who is making the most of his move to the Panthers having put over a point on his starting average so far. Starke has had many a good meeting around our circuit and with the capability of 6 rides will be a danger man on Friday night.

Starke is joined in the middle order by Simon Lambert. Lambert is one of the walking wounded at Peterborough and this will be his first meeting back after crashing out at Berwick last Saturday. Fortunately the injuries were not as bad as first feared and Lambert will be able to take his place at a track he does not rate as his favourite but that he has been a steady contributor at in the past.

Second of a hat trick of Panthers returning to the tracks after missing time is Kenneth Hansen. Hansen suffered a reported broken breast plate in a crash in Denmark just last week and was forced to sit out Peterborough’s trips to Berwick and Newcastle last week. Another who has been a consistent scorer on his visits to Armadale Hansen like a lot of his Danish counterparts is lightning quick when he hits the front and the Monarchs men will need to be sharp out the gate to stop this happening this week.

Trump card for the Panthers so far this season is senior reserve Bradley Wilson-Dean. BWD as he is known was a member of league winning Somerset Rebels last year and impressed on his only visit to Armadale to date. It took the New Zealand born racer a few heats to weigh up the circuit but a heat 14 5-1 with then and current teammate Starke over Max and Mark showed he had found the quickest way around. Another who is returning from injury Wilson-Dean will be looking to recapture the early season form that saw him add almost 2.5 points to his average before his injury.

Last but not least in the Panthers line-up is Tom Bacon. Bacon is another who is looking to make the most of the new 2 point rules but has found the going a little tough so far however he is currently exceeding his starting average and that is all that can be asked for from a lot of the inexperienced guys that are being thrown into the deep end.

The Parsons Peebles Monarchs go into this match under strength also as unfortunately Mark Riss misses out due to German league commitments. Due to a lack of reciprocal arrangement no facilities are available for Mark so while the Panthers can utilise rider replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard we are forced into using a National League guest in place of Mark. In this instance Luke Ruddick steps into the fray and anyone who say Luke guest for Berwick against us at Shielfield earlier in the season will know that he will give his all for the cause.

The rest of the line-up is as it was from our matches home and away against Newcastle and Workington respectively last weekend and we will be looking for maximum points Friday night to extend or reclaim top position in the Championship.

With the forecast set fair (scorchio if it stays as is) then we are in for a hot battle both on and off the track as the Panthers head north in search of points to kick start their season. There is only one place to be Friday night and that is trackside to watch the action. See you there!