|MATCH POSTPONED: Tonight's match at Armadale Stadium against Glasgow Tigers has been postponed due to heavy rain. The match will be restaged this Friday 22nd October at 7:30pm. Full details on tickets and streams to follow.|
PREVIEW Friday 5th October 2018, 12:17pm
This week sees the curtain go down on the Staggs Bar Monarchs 70th anniversary season as the Glasgow Tigers make the short hop along the M8 to complete the Scottish Cup.
The Monarchs face a 10 point deficit from the first leg that was held at Ashfield way back on the 23rd of March. Much has changed since then no least the make-up of both teams this being added to by both sides requiring guests for this evening but after a disappointing season for the Monarchs the thought of finishing the season with a victory over our nearest rivals is a small crumb of comfort.
The visitors will be looking for a tune up ahead of their playoff clashes with Workington next week but are missing two of their septet with guests stepping in accordingly. Craig Cook has not admitted defeat in his hope of racing again this season but this week comes too soon for his wrist injury to have healed (although he would have been missing regardless with GP commitments) former Tigers number 1 Richard Lawson stepping in. Then at the bottom end Nathan Greaves continued absence is covered by Carl Wilkinson of Newcastle.
The rest of the Tigers are as per normal with Chris Harris, Claus Vissing and Paul Starke expected to provide the major back-up to Lawson. Harris in particular appears to be back on song as anyone who witnessed his Premiership heroics for Poole on BT Sport on Monday night can attest to. Vissing and Starke have had inconsistent seasons but both have had their moments at Armadale in the past and can never be discounted in any race. Key man for the Tigers could well be at second string in the form of James Sarjeant. The young Englishman is in the best form of his season just now and was a welcome guest for the Monarchs last week recording a battling 7 points against the Comets, a repeat of that performance tonight would go along way to the Tigers regaining the trophy.
At reserve Wilkinson will be expected to do most of the heavy lifting as youngster Jack Thomas has so far struggled to adapt to Armadale although he has shown flashes and with a weakened Monarchs lower end he will look to exploit this also.
For the home men Joel Andersson's season is over due to his broken foot and with the season winding down a championship calibre guest was impossible to find despite the best efforts and contact with several riders and as such David Wallinger deputises. Wallinger is always a willing participant having appeared in many junior events at Armadale. This may well mean that the pressure steps onto William Lawson who will look to round his comeback off with a big score. With the potential for a dip in reserve scoring that puts added pressure onto the top 5 which sees a change in line-up due to the October averages. Erik Riss makes the jump to number 1 with Ricky stepping into number 5. Victor, Josh and Richie will continue to provide the engine room and all will be looking for a big score to end their Monarchs year with only Richie having anything to race for in the Premiership also.
So one last chance to see your Blue and Gold favourites before the long cold winter sets in, with a trophy on the line and a busload of Tigers in town there really is only one place to be to find out if the Monarchs can lift the cup and that's trackside.
For the final time this year, see you there!