REPORT Saturday 26th May 2018, 2:18am
The Staggs Bar Monarchs took a 2-point advantage from the first leg of the Knockout Cup tie against Glasgow tonight, in a thrilling meeting which swung one way then the other, and back again. At heat 5 Monarchs were six points down, and at heat 12 they were six points up. At that point it seemed they could establish a significant lead but Glasgow got the better of the final three races.
Alex Harkess said "We had done so well to achieve a 12-point turnaround between heat 5 and heat 12, that I am very disappointed we could not press home our advantage over the last three heats. I felt we should have got a 10-point advantage. Richie Worrall did very well but we should have pegged him back in heats 13 and 15, and we seem to have a problem in heat 14 every week."
There was some first class racing as all the riders put everything into their efforts. After three shared races Glasgow struck as Worrall beat Erik Riss in heat 4, followed by a 5-1 from Harris and Kerr against Mark Riss. It looked ominous but what a response from the Monarchs.
This produced a tremendous response from Monarchs who took over the middle portion of the match. Ricky Wells brilliantly passed Richie Worrall to win heat 6 with Joel Andersson third, and then new boy Coty Garcia backed captain Erik Riss to a 5-1 over the strong looking Vissing Starke pairing. Level!
A powerful first corner by Joel Andersson brought him a big win in heat 8 with Josh Pickering third and Monarchs were ahead. Mark Riss took his second victory in heat 9 but Jack Thomas scored an important point against Max Ruml who had a disappointing night.
Monarchs edged further ahead through Wells and Andersson in heat 10, Erik Riss won heat 11 and heat 12 was a great race in which Claus Vissing went between the two Monarchs only for Mark Riss to come back with a great pass.
At this point Edinburgh had 8 race wins to Glasgow's 3, and had Wells and Erik Riss in heats 13 and 15 with only one point lost between them. A good lead for Sunday was on the cards.
But Glasgow had other ideas with Richie Worrall again a very influential figure as he always has been at Armadale. Tigers went ahead in heat 13 from the gate, and it took everything the Monarchs' top two could manage to push Harris back to last place.
Heat 14 has been a problem all season and the pairing of Pickering and Garcia had no answer as Starke and Sarjeant raced to a 5-1. So just two points in it going in to the last race.
Harris was excluded after falling on the first turn, but Worrall again had the determination to force his way ahead. Ricky Wells came from a long way back using the inside line but Worrall blocked a possible passing move on the last corner, to leave Tigers happier with the final score.