REPORT Sunday 30th July 2017, 9:29pm
The Parsons Peebles Monarchs overcame the loss of captain Sam Masters to record a well earned point away to Newcastle on Sunday evening going down 46-44.
Monarchs captain Masters withdrew after his second race feeling the effects of a big crash in the very first heat when he clipped Diamonds Ashley Morris's wheel while trying to go round the young Englishman. It is hoped though that Masters who was complaining of Shoulder pain will not be missing for any upcoming Monarchs matches.
The subsequent exclusion for Masters meant the Monarchs made the worst possible start as Morris and partner Robert Lambert were awarded a 5-1.
The visitors were not behind for long though as reserve duo Mitchell Davey and Josh Pickering rocketed from the gate in heat 2 to bring the West Lothian men level. Pickering and Davey were to be key in helping the Monarchs to gain the point outscoring there opposing numbers 10 points to 5.
Monarchs co-promoter and team manager John Campbell was happy with his team's efforts coming on the back of their victory at Ipswich last Thursday also saying "I think after Sam crashed out of the meeting missing his influence affected us, maybe not on the track as we didn't drop to many points in his outings but his influence affects the spirit in the pits greatly so I would class that as a point gained. I would expect Sam will ride on for Wolverhampton tomorrow and I think he will be fine for Friday."
Campbell was also full of praise for Ricky Wells who returned to his best form with a magnificent paid 17 score saying "Ricky has thought for many months it was problem with himself or the setup but it turns out he has found an issue with his engine and hopefully that is him back on form and he was excellent this evening"
The hosts built up an early lead with consecutive 4-2 advantages in heats 4 and 5 with the impressive Steve Worrall and Stuart Robson taking the chequered flag. This did not discourage the Monarchs though who had drawn level by heat 8 with a pair of 4-2 advantages of their own Erik Riss and Theo Pijper being the men to record victories for the Monarchs.
The see saw battle was to continue as after drawing level the Monarchs promptly lost a 5-1 with Robson and partner Ludvig Lindgren heading Riss. The Diamonds would build on this in heat 11 with Worrall leading the way and reserve Ben Hopwood getting the better of Pijper after a ding dong battle.
It was starting to look as if the match may be getting away from the Monarchs but yet again they showed the resilience that they have shown so many times this season. Main man was Wells who returned to his early season form going unbeaten in heats 12, 13 & 15.
This meant the Monarchs were 4 down going into a tricky looking heat 14 but Josh Pickering rode his race of the night to split the Diamonds pair. The resultant 4-2 meant Newcastle had clinched victory but with 6 points in it the Monarchs needed at least a shared heat in heat 15 to guarantee the point.
As it was the Monarchs pairing of Riss and Wells made the jump in front and neither of the Diamonds pair could land a blow as they raced to a 5-1 meaning a defeat by 2 points but ultimately an all important league point that sees the Monarchs move 9 points clear of 5th place Redcar in the hunt for a playoff place.