REPORT Thursday 23rd August 2018, 10:14pm
Hoping for a win, fearing at some points in the evening it could be a loss, the Staggs Bar Monarchs finally settled for a valuable draw against Sheffield tonight in a match delayed for more than an hour by a heavy pre-meeting shower.
Team boss John Campbell said "I don't know what to think – two points takes us into a Playoff position which is good. If no-one else gets any away points we are there!
"We didn't have a standout rider who could finish the job for us. Ricky was confident gate two was the one to win off in the final heat but it didn't happen. But there were certainly points when I felt we were going to lose. Because they had taken the dirt off to ensure the meeting went ahead gating was absolutely critical."
Heroic reserve Joel Andersson was knocked off in heat 14 in a race which was awarded 5-1 to us. Campbell said "He appears to be OK but he will be sore because he was just wiped out by Connor Mountain. He'll need to learn that there has to be a space before you can try and go through it."
Of the delay prior to the late start Campbell commented "I said all along it should be on. Graham Trollop did a lot of grading with the big grader and the track looked perfect to be honest.
"The meeting should probably have gone ahead without any work being done to it at all. It would have been sloppy but that would have been swept aside.
"But we've moved on from days of riders getting dirty as they used to. Nowadays they always have to think about riding tomorrow.
"Now it's a matter of winning by at least 8 at home to Glasgow tomorrow and anything we get at Glasgow is a bonus."
The meeting was nip and tuck all the way with Sheffield taking the lead in heat 2 after William Lawson had looked impressive only to stop. Five shared races followed but Monarchs took a 5-1 through Palovaara and Andersson in heat 8 to go ahead.
Frustratingly we took three 5-1s over the closing stages and lost one back immediately in the following heat. Ricky Wells was the only Monarch to beat Howarth in heat 11, and we followed that with a 5-1 from Pickering and Andersson to go 4 ahead again.
Heat 13 was a 1-5 loss, heat 14 a 5-1 win through Worrall and Andersson again (you can see how crucial he was, in our three 5-1s) but heat 15 went against us to level it up at the last gasp. Championship Pairs winners Wright and Howarth saved the day for Sheffield with fine performances.
After the long delay the meeting was completed in excellent time.