Brilliant Erik Riss takes his third win over Craig Cook Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Monarchs move into a Playoff place

NEWS Saturday 9th September 2017, 2:45am

by Mike Hunter

The Parsons Peebles Monarchs stepped back into a top four Playoff place in the Championship by taking six points from their home matches against Workington and Ipswich, though this came at the cost of the loss of captain Sam Masters from our away matches at the weekend.

The scores were 52-40 against the Comets, and 48-44 against the Witches with a last heat decider.

Hopefully Sam won’t be out any longer than the weekend and he hopes to return for the three matches later in the week. He said “I’ve had double headers with both Wolves and Monarchs this week and that has been difficult. I have a bit of pain from my shoulder injury early in the morning and then I’m all right for the day, but when I came down in heat 6 of the second match tonight I had that pain again.

“I was finding it difficult to turn as hard as I want to. I want to ride so much but I guess I should sit out Berwick and Scunthorpe. I’ll be back for Sheffield.”

It was a long night for everyone tonight but Monarchs showed again that as long as nothing goers seriously wrong they can cope with double headers when necessary. The first match was over in about 75 minutes and with a planned 20-minute gap for track prep, that left good time for the Ipswich match.

In this one with Witches using rider replacement for Sedgmen and also losing guest Thomas Jorgensen after high-siding it in heat 7, it was a slower meeting with reserves Greaves and Mountain taking 13 rides between them which naturally caused some delays. The final heat was staged around 10, on the three-hour mark.

Monarchs were only two points up after five heats against Workington, with Craig Cook winning his first two races, but in an exciting heat 6 with Mark Riss in front, Sam Masters fought a passing battle with Jorgensen and won a very tight verdict on the line. A further 4-2 increased the gap to 8, and even though Comets took a heat 8 4-2, the Masters-Riss pair took another maximum from heat 10.

This allowed a tactical ride by Craig Cook but man of the match Erik Riss jetted away to win that quite comfortably as Cook took a while to get past his partner.

Two further 4-2s clinched the win with Erik Riss beating Cook for a third time in heat 15 to take his score to 14.

Monarchs started the second match more strongly and led 18-12 after 5 heats with the Witches looking lack-lustre at that stage. Then came that Masters tumble on the first corner of heat 6, changing the picture somewhat even though the lively Josh Pickering took second in the rerun.

Both Jorgensen and Davey lost control fairly dramatically in heat 7 and both were excluded. Jorgensen unfortunately was then ruled out of the meeting, which will have upset Workington team manager Tony Jackson who stayed to watch the second meeting. Hopefully he will be fit for his home meeting tomorrow.

Josh Pickering was really getting the bit between his a teeth now and won heats 8 and 10. In the latter race Sam Masters lost position and was clearly struggling.

Danny King took 6 points from a heat 11 TR but that was his only race win on the night. The Witches were having to use their reserves regularly now but even so they were keeping in touch. Mountain passed Clegg for third in heat 12 which was shared, Ricky Wells’ fourth win of the match.

Mitchell Davey replaced Sam in heat 13 in which Witches took a 4-2 over Erik Riss to narrow the gap to 37-43. Monarchs just needed to share heat 14, and with Mark Riss and Max Clegg queuing up behind the erratic race leader Newman that should have been enough – only for Mark to pile into the fence on the last corner!

So there were 4 points in it going into the final race with Wells and Erik Riss against Rory Schlein and King. Rory led all the way but the home men kept King at the back for a winning margin which was narrower than it should have been, though it meant a deserved point for Ipswich who fought hard and took advantage of some of the points thrown away by Monarchs.

Top scorers Edinburgh v Workington:

Erik Riss 14, Ricky Wells 10 for Monarchs, Craig Cook 14 for Comets.

Top scorers Edinburgh v Ipswich:

Ricky Wells 14, Erik Riss 11+1 for Monarchs, Rory Schlein 13 for Witches.

Monarchs now have 60 points and are (surely temporarily) above Glasgow who have matches in hand. Rivals for the Playoffs Redcar have 59 points. Monarchs have one home and five away matches left while Redcar have three away matches remaining.