NEWS Friday 4th June 2021, 11:55pm
A strong start to the match, and dominant performances by Sam Masters and Richie Worrall, were the plus points for the What the Fork Monarchs – but the happier camp at the end of the night would surely be the Newcastle one as they went down in the first leg of the KO Cup first round by a mere four points.
Reserve William Lawson who won heat 2 for the second week running, said "I'm still optimistic. I know I should have scored more, I feel I'm on the pace. I had a good race with Matthew and I knew where I want to be but I'm not quite getting there yet! Josh hasn't got going as he can but Kye is showing promise."
Sitting at heat 4 Monarchs were 8 points ahead and we had seen race wins by William Lawson, Kye Thomson and a paid win by Nathan Greaves. That was as good as it got though and once Newcastle's compact septet had settled down, they quickly began to get the better of things.
The Diamonds didn't get much of a performance, surprisingly, from guest Kyle Howarth who did very little other than win heat 5, in which Kye Thomson fell while in third place. That was the first of four race advantages for the visitors.
Between heats 6 and 11, there were 5 shared races and a 4-2 to Newcastle, with no-one able to challenge Masters or Worrall, but any two from Roynon, Mountain, Wethers, Clegg and Wright comfortably subduing the Monarchs' back-up men most of the time.
Heat 9 was the worst heat in a troubled night for Josh Pickering who has yet to get into his stride for Monarchs. He hit the first bend in front alongside Kye Thomson, then spectacularly lost control to finish up in a heap against the fence. Kye gated again in the rerun but was picked off by Matt Wethers, who to be fair has rather more track knowledge.
Monarchs were four up after 11 heats and over the final quartet of heats the teams scored two 5-1s each. No prizes for guessing that Masters and Worrall scored the two home ones, but heats 12 and 14 went the other way – Mountain and Wright in heat 12, Wright and Clegg in heat 14 in spite of Josh Pickering trying so desperately hard to split them. Heat 14 indeed was the race of the night on an evening when the racing didn't match up to the fare of the previous week.
So it's all to play for on Sunday in the second leg when Stevie Worrall guests for Sam Masters and Monarchs try to hold on to their narrow advantage.