Erik in fornt at Alwalton Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Wounded Panthers Canot Be Underestimated

PREVIEW Sunday 13th May 2018, 2:02pm

by Graham Muncie

The Stags Bar Monarchs make a long trip south today as they head for Peterborough in SGB Championship action.

The Panthers are smarting after a humbling 33-57 defeat at home to Workington on Friday evening so the Monarchs will have to be wary of what is sure to be an expected backlash. From all reports the main issue the Panthers faced on Friday night was a complete inability to get out of the traps with a slick track meaning there was no way back into the majority of races. In fact the home side were held to only 2 heat wins all evening and with the power throughout the line-up that cannot be expected to be replicated.

The Monarchs fans saw the ability in the Panthers outfit when they recorded a point at Armadale just a couple of weeks ago so they will not be underestimated despite that score on Friday.

The Panthers are expected to line-up with their full 1-7 with the missing riders from their Armadale visit back in tow. Led by Scott Nicholls who will probably admit he hasn’t found the quickest way round his new home track yet and normally backed up well by the Danish contingent of Ulrich Ostergaard, Michael Palm Toft and Emil Grondal not to mention the fast improving Nike Lunna the Panthers have a strong top 5 that should be capable of much better.

An experienced reserve pair of Simon Lambert and Tom Bacon complete the line-up with both being more than capable of a big score particularly at home.

That is not to say the Monarchs should travel targeting any less than our first away points league points of the season. We have fared reasonably well around the East of England Showground shale in recent years with Mark and Erik rating it as one of their favoured circuits. Ricky Wells is in fantastic form and if the track is as slick as it apparently was then Matt Williamson should be in for a strong night also.

Our other reserve Josh Pickering a known fan of the track also albeit when it is at its grippiest may need to be a little sharper from the gate than normal if the track is on a par with how it was on Friday but Josh has been scoring well and showed some improved form from the traps on Friday so this should continue.

As will be the case in the majority of our away trips this year the unknowns will be in how our new boys Joel and Max perform but there are signs from both they are getting to grips with British speedway. Joel should prefer the wider open spaces of Peterborough due to his Swedish experience and Max was buoyed by his performance in the Open on Friday night after a tough couple of weeks.

So a match that could go either way, while it would be fallacy to expect a repeat of Friday nights score line for the home men with the experience and speed in the Monarchs team an away win would also not be a complete surprise.

Can we do it?