Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Crunch Derby Ahead

PREVIEW Friday 24th August 2018, 11:00am

by Graham Muncie

Having somewhat done the job required at Sheffield last night the Staggs Bar Monarchs look to consolidate their playoff push when the Glasgow Tigers visit Armadale on Friday.

This weekend is crunch time for both the Monarchs and Tigers with it starting to look like it will be the Scottish rivals that battle it out for the last playoff position. There are other teams in the mix but as it stands this weekend will be key as while neither side can guarantee a playoff place it could be said that a home defeat for either would end those playoff and in turn championship hopes.

Derby weekend is always something to look forward but with the playoff scenario as it is these matches take on all the more importance. Matches between the two teams have been tight this year with no more than 10 points between the sides in any of the 5 matches so far. Early in the season it was Glasgow with the upper hand taking victory at Armadale in the Championship Shield. The Monarchs were then able to turn this around and win both legs as we knocked the Tigers out of the KO cup in our last meetings.

Both teams have different looking line-ups since then with the Tigers forced into even further changes for Friday's match due to GP commitments for Craig Cook. Ben Barker steps in to guest for Cookie and will have a job to do to match the potential scoring of the Monarchs legend although on his day he is as good as any visitor to Armadale. Nathan Greaves is also a recent introduction to the Tigers septet and he appears good to race after sitting out Wolves meetings this week still suffering from the aftermath of his horror crash at Ashfield the other week. The rest of the Tigers team is as it has been since day 1 of the season with Chris Harris and Claus Vissing providing the heat leader punch, Harris in particular in the finest form of his season that seems to have coincided with the introduction of Cook. Paul Starke provides a key role as the senior second string and while it has been an up and down season for the former Somerset man he is a noted Armadale performer and appears to be in decent form having guested for Peterborough on regular occasions in the last couple of weeks. Another with a decent Armadale record is reserve James Sarjeant and he is another who will be key to the Tigers as he looks to provide the backup to the top 5. Jack Thomas has had an up and down debut season after he was scooped up to replace Jack Parkinson-Blackburn on the eve of the season but he did show his talent by improving almost by the race at Armadale so far.

For the Home men we line-up as expected with Joel shaking off a nasty looking spill at Sheffield on Thursday night. Of course this will be the first time that Richie Worrall faces off against his former Glasgow teammates and with a record of 3 consecutive maximums in as many meetings at Armadale he will be looking to make it 4. Erik and Ricky will be looking to bounce back from losing out on their maximums last week to get back to winning ways and Victor and Josh continue to impress at second string. This will be the 2nd home match back for Willie Lawson and he will be looking to build on his 2 point haul last week that did include a defeat of Mason Campton.

So it's a crucial Scottish Derby at Armadale both teams desperate for points and looking to inflict a fatal blow to their rivals playoff chances. The Monarchs will need to be at their best to endure Glasgow leave pointless tonight and an extra cheer form the terraces will surely help them on.

Can the boys do it, there is only one place to be to find out and that is trackside.

See you there!