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Sam at Leicester Image Credit: Steve Dixon

Sam Masters back to face old rivals

NEWS Thursday 18th July 2019, 12:00pm

by Mike Hunter

This Friday the Staggs Bar Monarchs welcome back one of their best and most successful riders when Aussie Sam Masters returns to the lineup to face the Somerset Rebels.

Somerset are appropriate opponents for Sam's return as he first joined Monarchs in 2014 from that club, with Monarchs later purchasing Sam's contract from the Rebels. Additionally of course the Premier League Final of 2014 was contested between Monarchs and Rebels, won by Monarchs on one of their greatest-ever nights.

Of course another great former Monarch Rory Schlein leads the way for Somerset nowadays so we will see Masters v Schlein in the opening race and at least once more on the night.

Monarchs of course have altered their team in the last few days so it will be the first home outing for this septet, designed to deliver a few more race wins. The changes had an immediate effect at Leicester where the league leaders were forced to use a tactical sub and the scores were still level at heat 9. Monarchs eventually took their first away league point of the season.

Team manager Alex Harkess said "I have no doubts that we have done the right thing, none whatsoever. I hope the team will do well although obviously we are at the moment a bit top heavy. This week's visitors Somerset are something the same and the result might depend on what the lesser lights can do.

"We have a very strong top four now and hopefully their success will rub off on the others. Sometimes that can happen. I'm certainly hoping that our lack of success in heats 13 and 15 will stop now that Sam is back with us."

Friday 19th July: Staggs Bar Monarchs v Somerset (Championship), Armadale, 7:30pm

Teams:

STAGGS BAR MONARCHS: Sam Masters, William Lawson, Josh Pickering, Ricky Wells (capt.), Cameron Heeps, Matt Marson, Connor Coles.

SOMERSET CASES REBELS: Rory Schlein, Todd Kurtz, Valentin Grobauer, Nico Covatti, Nikolai Busk Jakobsen (guest), Anders Rowe, Henry Atkins.