REPORT Friday 23rd July 2021, 11:53pm
The first Scottish derby for two years was a taut and tense affair going right to the wire, but it came to an unfortunate, unsatisfactory but apparently unavoidable conclusion and was abandoned after 14 heats with Glasgow winning 43-41.
First of all of course our best wishes go to Ulrich Ostergaard who piled full throttle into the fence on the first corner of heat 15. The lengthy subsequent delay and eventual ambulance journey to Hospital were the cause of the stoppage, with the curfew almost upon us and no medical cover.
Monarchs' team manager Alex Harkess said "We wish Ulrich a speedy recovery. It was a very frustrating finish to the match because with three heats to go and the scores level, I thought we had the riders to finish the job. But we made too many mistakes overall, and didn't get the chance to race heat 15 in which I felt we would get an advantage."
The match had also started with a fall, though a much less serious one, when Craig Cook cartwheeled off on the first corner of heat 1. Monarchs took a 4-2 in the rerun and shared the reserves' heat behind Sedgmen, though that was the last time during the evening that they held the lead.
Scores swung between Tigers holding a 2-point advantage and Monarchs levelling up for the rest of the night. Wells and Ostergaard won their opening heats, and Ostergaard took a win in his second race also. Sam Jensen was having a useful first meeting at Armadale and Connor Bailey took points as well, while on the home side it seemed that Nathan Greaves had returned perhaps too quickly from last week's injuries.
William Lawson, back on his favoured Armadale engine for the first time for a few weeks, took a remarkable win in heat 8 with Greaves struggling at the rear, then Josh Pickering took his second race win of the night in heat 9, but with Kye Thomson finishing at the rear in spite of an apparently decent start.
Monarchs did peg Tigers back in heat 10 through Masters and Lawson, though Lawson was passed for second place during the heat by Ricky Wells.
Tigers regained the narrow advantage in heat 11 when Cook got his only win, then we had the race of the night in heat 12, won by Lawson under tremendous pressure from Wells with Thomson passing Sedgmen.
One of the night's major moments came in heat 13 when Sam Masters gated, then made a big mistake on the first corner to drop to the back. Ostergaard won the heat to take his personal score to 11, restoring that 2-point lead.
Pickering won heat 14 comfortably but a race-long effort by Lawson to pass the Tigers' pair of Nicol and Sedgmen failed by the narrowest of margins.
That brought us to heat 15, in which Masters gated first but the Tigers were seemingly intent on shutting out Pickering. Ostergaard moved across very sharply, probably too early, and lost control spectacularly. And that proved to be the end.