Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Monarchs Looking To Reclaim The Crown

PREVIEW Thursday 13th July 2017, 6:07pm

by Graham Muncie

The Parsons Peebles Monarchs will be looking to go back top of the SGB Championship table with 3 points against the visiting Newcastle Diamonds this Friday night.

This will be no easy task as the Diamonds travel with a vast array of Armadale experience and pedigree and having struggled a little so far this season they will be looking to start the second half of their season with a bang as they hunt for a playoff spot.

The Diamonds had high hopes of a playoff spot at the start of the season and while they have not hit the heights so far with the calibre of rider in their team a turnaround in fortunes may just be round the corner and the Monarchs will need to be on their toes to make sure it isn’t this week.

The Diamonds are led by Team GB world cup star Robert Lambert. Lambert is one of the most highly touted prospects in all of world speedway after his podium finish in last year’s under 21 championship that was won by former Monarch Max Fricke. Lambert is also one of the top men in the Championship with an average sitting on exactly 10 points a match for the season so far. Lambert has shown his liking for the Armadale circuit in the past but missed out on the Diamonds earlier visit to the Dale when his guest replacement Aaron Summers could only muster 5 points. The Diamonds and Lambert will be expecting a lot more than that this time.

Number 2 in the Diamonds septet is former Monarch Ashley Morris. Morris is having his finest season in the sport with an average currently in excess of 5.5 points per match and was in excellent form the last time he visited Armadale. The young Wolverhampton born man raced to 9+1 from 5 rides that night including a heat 1 win and if he repeats that for this week the Monarchs could be in trouble.

Another man enjoying his finest season in a young career is Lewis Rose. Rose finally seems to be enjoying an injury free run and that has allowed his undoubted talent to flourish. Rose has put almost 2 points on his starting average so far this season and is one to watch for as he progresses in the sport. Rose is another with a solid Armadale record and the middle order battles involving Rose may well go a long way to deciding who takes the spoils on Friday.

Captain Ludvig Lindgren slots in at number 4. Ludvig is having another stellar season and we all know how much of a danger he will be after putting in one of the best guest performances in Monarchs history with his double maximum in the double header against Redcar and Plymouth last season. Lindgren also impressed in the Harrison’s Scottish Open at the beginning of the year so a heat win can never be discounted for the smooth riding Swede particular when he makes the gate.

A guest comes in at number 5 to replace Stevie Worrall who is in action for Belle Vue in the SGB Premiership. However you may need to double check to notice the difference as the replacement is Stevie’s twin Glasgow’s Richie Worrall. Richie is having an outstanding season for our friends from the west and this has recently been rewarded with a doubling up roll with Poole. Richie also is a renowned Armadale expert having recorded double digit scores on more than one occasion already this season and coupled with Lambert the heat 13 and potentially battles will be something to behold.

Perhaps the Achilles heel of the Newcastle side this season has come at reserve where a revolving door has somewhat been in action. One man who is looking to buck that trend is recent signing Ben Hopwood. Hopwood has more than done his job since joining the Tynesiders with a current average in excess of 3 being a good jump from his original 2 point average. Hopwood was a regular and popular guest for the Monarchs last season after Dan Bewley’s injury and he will be looking to turn this experience into points on Friday night.

Completing the team is recent signing Alfie Bowtell. Bowtell was picked up after impressing guesting for Berwick at Brough Park but has found the going a little tough so far although this has not been for a lack of trying. Bowtell will be making his Armadale debut but being as he is a regular for Lakeside in the National League he is not short of experience on smaller more technical tracks and could surprise.

Moving onto the Parsons Peebles Monarchs well after losing our place atop the Championship to Ipswich the boys will be desperate for all 3 points to move them straight back to the summit. One small change to the line-up sees Ricky and Erik swap places with Ricky moving to number 3 and Erik to 5. Beyond that the team is as it was as we continue what has been a bit of a quiet spell for the team as a whole although with 6 of the 7 doubling up or down coupled with various continental commitments the majority of the team have not been short of action.

So a determined and strong looking visiting Diamonds goes up against our home heroes looking to move back to the top of the league. A barnstorming encounter awaits and you all know there is only one place to see it and that’s trackside and after a couple of weeks working away I am delighted to say....... see you there!