REPORT Saturday 29th September 2018, 11:25pm
The Staggs Bar Monarchs crashed out of the Knockout Cup tonight, going down by a 29-61 score to lose 88-92 on aggregate.
Right from the early races the writing was on the wall as we never got going on a very slick track. It seems we are very effective on a grippy track but can't adapt to a slick one, whereas Workington are the other way round, and the result has been two one sided meetings.
The one thing that the Monarchs' riders can't be accused of is lack of effort. That might seem odd after such a poor result but it is true. We were generally hammered at the gate and struggled to find speed on the slick surface. Dust was billowing from the first race.
We were 9-3 down and struggling after two heats but heat three was the first highlight. Josh Pickering led briefly but Jake Allen passed him, after which Josh made massive efforts to re-pass, unsuccessfully, while Richie Worrall kept Bach at the back.
The next three heats went very badly, two 5-1s and a 4-2 to the Comets, so clearly their tails were up and an unlikely comeback was on the cards. Already we were 16 down on the night.
Josh and Richie looked our most likely pair but even they struggled to share heat 7, both passing Bickley late in the race to share it.
We lost another 5-1 in heat 8 as Jensen passed both our riders, with Victor Palovaara well off the pace.
Erik's struggle to get grip and speed were at their most obvious in heat 9. He looked extremely determined but Bach came past him, while Allen was eventually not far away also after getting the better of William Lawson who was in contention in several races.
Heat 10 featured a tremendous battle between for second place between Worrall and Klindt, with Richie just hanging on to the two points.
Ricky Wells finally joined the party with a win in heat 11, and although we had been second best virtually all night we were still in with a chance at 21-45 on the night. We needed another 11 points and one big heat would have made a huge difference.
That could well have happened in heat 12. Suddenly, William Lawson made the start and looked like he could hold the lead, while Josh battled with Campton and Allen. It was an enthralling heat but it ended dramatically as William pulled up in front at the end of lap three while Josh swerved through to win from Campton. It could so easily have been 5 towards our target.
So attention switched to our top two in heat 13, it was time for them to step up. 8 points needed in three heats - but only one contributed by Ricky and Eric here.
We were up against it now, level on aggregate, but a battling win for Richie over Rene Bach in heat 14 took us into the final race level on aggregate.
Klindt and Proctor on 1&3, Worrall and Wells on 2&4 with both teams looking for an advantage to qualify. Unfortunately we didn't get to see these four race because Ricky took too long to settle, at one time facing the wrong way, and he was excluded for delaying the start. We brought in William for his seventh ride but in spite of another big effort from Richie the Comets took a 5-1 and made it to the final.
We can't quibble really, after two one-sided matches both of which contained some good racing, Comets deserved to go through. Our boys have come up short in the crucial late season matches.