Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

And Now For The Main Event

NEWS Wednesday 20th September 2017, 2:20pm

by Graham Muncie

After a season of ups and downs it’s now time to get down to business as the Parsons Peebles Monarchs take on the Ipswich Witches in the SGB Championship playoffs this week with a place in the grand final and a league title shot on the line.

This is what everyone has been working towards this season the end of season playoffs and with the Monarchs confirming their berth after home and away wins against Glasgow and Workington respectively last weekend the hard work starts again as the 4 qualifiers start on a clean slate and all with the title in sight.

As you would expect in this competition there will be no easy matches and that will certainly be the case with our opponents the Ipswich Witches this week. The Witches have been towards the top of the division since the start of the season and it could be argued that they would have enjoyed an even better season but for a couple of injuries to their original septet. The Witches have all the components of a title winning outfit with a strong spearhead backed up by a solid middle order and ever improving reserves and come into the playoffs on a good run of form having won convincingly at Glasgow just last week.

The matches between the two teams have been tight this season with the Witches being defeated by just 8 and 4 points on their two visits to Armadale and the Monarchs being the only team to take victory in Suffolk. It is all set for another tense encounter this week and the Monarchs will be looking for a good performance in the first leg away from home on Thursday before the 2nd leg at Armadale 24 hours later.

Unfortunately injuries have been a constant part of the Witches season and that is still the case now with Cameron Heeps and Justin Sedgmen both missing from the line-up. Rider replacement will operate for Heeps and Workington’s Mason Campton who is enjoying his finest season ever steps in for Sedgmen in both legs.

There is also a reshuffle in the Monarchs line-up with the new averages dictating that Ricky Wells moves to the number 1 slot. Wells will swap places with Sam Masters with Masters going in the number 3 slot. This shouldn’t stunt the scoring of either and Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess is hopeful his team can progress saying “I think the end product of the season is where we wanted to be, no doubt about that. With no disrespect to any of the opposition my choice would have been Ipswich. We know it will be tough but we won down there earlier in the season and I think we can do well against them at home. They had an early TR the last time they visited Armadale and that lifted them and that facility won’t be available this time so I’m hopeful we can progress.

This week’s meeting is sponsored by Parsons Peebles the Monarchs title sponsors. Parsons Peebles are a rapid response and full scope supplier of electromechanical products and services globally and are a historic name in and around Edinburgh having had a presence in the city since 1898

Teams for the SGB Championship Playoff match at Armadale on Friday 22nd September (start time 7:30pm, gates open 6:30pm), are:

PARSONS PEEBLES MONARCHS: Ricky Wells, Josh Pickering, Sam Masters (capt), Mark Riss, Erik Riss, Max Clegg, Mitchell Davey

IPSWICH TRU7.COM Witches: Danny King (capt), Cameron Heeps Rider Replacement, Mason Campton (guest), Kyle Newman, Rory Schlein, Nathan Greaves, Connor Mountain

STERN TEST AHEAD: The Witches have been a little of a bridesmaid team since dropping down to second tier a few years ago with a lot of good looking line-ups not bringing back the trophies. They are looking to change that this year though and certainly have the team to do this. They are led powerfully by former British champ Danny King and Monarchs legend Rory Schlein and with Kyle Newman and guest Mason Campton they will have two of the most formidable second strings around in the engine room. Justin Sedgmen is a big miss particularly at Armadale but with some well placed rider replacement rides covering for Cameron Heeps allowing all bar King a ride then this absence can be covered. At reserve Nathan Greaves is in the best form of his career and Connor Mountain impressed everyone with his scoring at Armadale just 2 weeks ago so it is a team that has no weak links and the Monarchs will need to be at their very best at all times if they are not to suffer a season ending defeat.

LAST MEETING: The Parsons Peebles Monarchs defeated local rivals the Glasgow Tigers in a tense and exciting affair by the score of 46-43. Top scorer for the Monarchs was Ricky Wells with 10. Rickie Worrall being the visitor’s main man with 13.

NEXT MEETING: Hopefully we will be hosting our leg of the SGB Championship Playoff Final however should we fail to get past the Witches this week then that will be it for Speedway at Armadale this season.