Image Credit: Ron MacNeill

8 Points To Make Up

REPORT Sunday 14th April 2019, 7:28pm

by Graham Muncie

The Staggs Bar Monarchs dug deep to come away from Scunthorpe only 8 down in the first leg of the KO Cup first round.

It was an up and down meeting with most of the Monarchs having their moments the same being able to be said for the hosts.

Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell saying after "I had a bit of a fear after Friday that we might get beat by 20 today and at times tonight it looked like that might be the case but we battled hard and I think we have a good chance in the second leg.

"I think Willie helped turn it around at the end of the match, the reserves in this league are mostly to an extant novices and Willie should be doing well against these guys, he struggled early but he turned it around today and that certainly helped."

The Monarchs started brightly winning 3 of the first 4 heats although it has to be said there was a hint of good fortune to this as Jason Garrity ground to a halt in heat 3 allowing Josh and Joel to take a 5-1. However we matched these heat wins with last places and it was all square.

Heat 5 was a disaster for the Monarchs as Garrity and Ayres rocketed from the start to take maximum points against Ricky Wells and Justin Sedgmen and when the Scorpions followed this up with a 4-2 in then ext heat things were starting to look ominous for the Blue and Gold.

Further heat advantages in heats 8 and 10 meant the home men had now built up a 12 point lead and had a head of steam.

As the Monarchs have so often done in the past though the Monarchs dug deep with Willie Lawson the catalyst, Lawson had looked underpowered and hadn't troubled the scorers prior to this but off the favoured inside gate Lawson hit the front, his partner Josh Pickering coming round the outside to join him. A tough battle ensued for the next 3 laps with Jason Garrity getting round Lawson on the 3rd lap, Lawson was not finished though and his cut back off the 3rd bend of the last lap was oh so very close to sneaking a 5-1. As it was a 4-2 was just reward for our efforts and the lead was back to 10.

Heat 13 was another enjoyable race with Auty out in front of Wells, the impressive Cameron Heeps and Jake Allen had a ding dong battle, a share of the spoils being the outcome.

Heat 14 could turn out to be key for the Monarchs and what a race it was. Joel Andersson rocketed from the inside gate with that man Lawson getting round the field to join him at the front. The next 3 and a half laps were as close as they come with all 4 riders within feet of each other throughout. Going into the last lap it looked like things were going to fall apart for the Monarchs as Scorpions debutant Danny Ayres found space under Lawson, at the same time his partner Ryan Kinsley went for the outside blast and it looked for all intents and purposes like Lawson's effort would be in vain. The Scot was to have other ideas though executing a fantastic cut back off the final bend to take 2nd back by the narrowest of margins.

A last heat 4-2 advantage to the home men gives the score a nicer shine to them but overall the feeling in the Monarchs camp was one of subdued satisfaction.