MATCHDAY LATEST Saturday 25th May 2019, 0:25am
Glasgow duly qualified for the semi-finals of the Championship Shield with a 47-43 victory at Armadale tonight. The visitors rode hard, rode as a team and in most cases produced performances close to their potential, something which the Staggs Bar Monarchs didn't do. Not many would begrudge Tigers their win.
And yet… the sum total of the bad luck suffered by Monarchs during the week has been really substantial. Losing Josh Pickering on Wednesday at Birmingham, followed by Luke Ruddick in heat 2 tonight, then Justin Sedgmen in heat 8. Add in Joel Andersson's night which started with a blown engine in heat 3, and ended in heat 14 with a bolt coming out of his forks when on a 5-1 which might even at the last gasp have brought Monarchs a draw.
That is some level of misfortune. But it's also true that the only home man really on song was Ricky Wells. After a couple of meetings below his usual standards he won four heats and let another one slip against Craig Cook, who he did gain a victory over in heat 15.
Alex Harkess said "We had a lot of bad luck certainly, and we missed Josh Pickering, but I wasn't happy with the performances of some of our riders. Glasgow took their chances, I don't begrudge them their win and it certainly helps when you have a rider who is going to win nearly every race."
Matthew Wethers stood in for Josh Pickering and did his usual solid job, but didn't manage to replace the kind of performances or scoring which Pickering has been producing. Matthew's best ride was heat 12 which he led most of the way before being caught by an excellent Rasmus Jensen overtake.
Cameron Heeps gave it his all but was gating poorly which is reflected in his score. He grabbed another of his amazing last gasp second places in heat 7 when he passed Jensen, and he was involved in an excellent heat 15 joust with Wells and Cook.
Joel Andersson scored when his machinery allowed, taking an Injury Rider Replacement for Sedgmen and winning heat 8. Heat 14 was a huge disappointment for him as his forks problem sent him to the back.
William Lawson worked hard in his six races, winning heat 2 and thereafter having a few tussles with the opposition reserves. He should still be capable of more.
Luke Ruddick's night lasted only a few yards as he went into a speed wobble on his way to the first bend and came off. He was then ruled out of the rest of the night, in a meeting in which we hoped that the home reserves would have the upper hand.
Justin Sedgmen started with a second place, followed by a very disappointing fourth in heat 6. He looked completely lacking in confidence as he failed to capitalise on a good start. Then he briefly led heat 8 but had Sarjeant come alongside him, and cause a big pileup on the entry to turn three which required fence repairs. That was sadly the end of Sedgy's night and with Luke also out, we had to run with one rider only (Wells) in heat 10.
Just to add one final thing to incidents which didn't go our way, we had the curious case of heat 3. We have a photo which will no doubt be appearing on social media, showing Rasmus Jensen's wheel in the tapes which are consequently bent at a considerable angle. In spite of this, the race was allowed to start, Vissing winning from Wethers with Jensen third as Andersson's engine blew. So in spite of his blatant tape touch, Jensen scored a point, and was then issued with a post-race warning!
For Glasgow, of course Cook was in superb form and didn't lose until the match was already over. Starke and Vissing were also as good as they have been round Armadale, and Jensen wasn't far behind.
Sarjeant didn't have a good night but the reserves would be pleased with their 8 points combined total.
We hope for a change of luck in the weeks to come but are not quibbling too much about tonight's result.