Another Swedish 5-1 in heat 8 Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

Very comfortable win against the Tigers

REPORT Saturday 25th August 2018, 0:59am

by Mike Hunter

A tough match was expected between the Scottish rivals especially as both are heavily involved in the battle for a Playoff place, but as it transpired the Monarchs took total control, and incredibly had the match won by heat 9 assuming they had finishers thereafter. The score then stood at 40-14 and the final score was 56-33, a slight improvement for the visitors due almost entirely to the efforts of guest Ben Barker and Paul Starke.

Monarchs' team manager Alex Harkess preferred to concentrate on the performance of his riders when he said "I thought we were absolutely brilliant over the first half of the match and we had the result sewn up early. I was delighted with all our riders' performances and their attitude.

"The riders praised the track and I have to add my congratulations to the track staff, they had a very tough day thanks to a torrential downpour at lunchtime. They removed the top surface and rebuilt the track and did a superb job."

Ricky Wells added "It was a tough meeting but a great result for the team. We needed to win this and we did so the pressure's off a bit before Sunday – but we know Glasgow are good at home too.

"A big shout out to Joel (Andersson) who got big points at Sheffield last night and again tonight."

It was clear from the opening heat that Ben Barker was in the mood and the absence of Craig Cook wasn't really a factor in the result. He chased Ricky Wells hard. There was a 4-2 for Monarchs in the reserves heat as well, and when Monarchs added two 5-1s it was clear as early as heat 4 that there was really only one team in it.

Claus Vissing earned a heat 4 exclusion for riding on the centre green prior to the race, a silly offence which the riders should know about, and neither Claus nor Chris Harris had any impact on the match at all.

There was a Wells-Palovaara 5-1 in heat 6, and the two Swedes took another in heat 8. Vissing went down after a tough first corner with Richie Worrall in heat 9 and was excluded, which handed another 5-1 to the home side and a 40-14 lead at that point.

James Sarjeant was proving to be a bit of a trial again with his start-jumping, and he earned two exclusions while also holding the meeting up. It's time someone in authority told him to mend his ways.

Over the last six heats, Tigers did improve and actually outscored Monarchs, this being mainly because they were able to get either Barker or Starke, or both, in every one of the races. Barker won heats 12 and 13, and Starke led home heat 10.

We also had Erik Riss losing control and falling on the first corner of heat 13, and Richie Worrall finally losing his unbeaten record at Armadale in heat 15. He had won 4 races making it 19 unbeaten on the circuit since joining, but having led for the opening lap he also came a cropper on the pits corner.

Ricky Wells also came down heavily in the last heat rerun but when it finally got under way, the Monarchs' no. 1 led home the Tigers' top two on the night.

Monarchs are now up to fourth and sit in a playoff place, but that doesn't mean too much as there are a lot of matches still to be raced.