REPORT Friday 27th August 2021, 11:36pm
The What the Fork Monarchs were comprehensively beaten at Armadale tonight, 50-40, by league leaders Poole Pirates, in spite of captain Sam Masters piling up his highest ever total of 19 points for Monarchs.
Masters said "They're not only the form team in the league but they are really good here at Armadale. Also we didn't have Richie who is one of the best riders on this track. If we're using rider replacement and some riders aren't on, it's tough man! We all tried hard but it wasn't enough."
Having dropped six points behind by heat 4, and shared the next two heats, Monarchs then fought back to get on level terms by heat 9, taking 5-1s in both heats 7 and 9. However Poole regained the initiative and were comfortable winners in the end.
With Richie Worrall sadly still missing and the proposed guest Nick Morris ruled out after crashing the night before, the sterling efforts of the home top three of Masters plus Josh Pickering and Kye Thomson were never going to be enough without a notable contribution from the lower part of the team. That sadly was not remotely forthcoming.
Sam Masters won five races with two second places, very narrowly beaten in one of these. Kye Thomson and Josh Pickering competed manfully but were often struggling to overcome poor gating.
William Lawson should have had a point in heat 1 but suffered a bike stoppage, and did manage a second place in heat 8, but finished with a disappointing tally of 2 from 5 rides. Nathan Greaves also scored 2 but didn't beat an opponent, and guest Drew Kemp on his first Armadale appearance didn't manage to score.
Contrast all that with Pirates' joint top scorer, their number 7 Danyon Hume who won three heats on his way to 11 points! It was his Armadale debut, as with Benjamin Basso who finished with a flying win, and Ben Cook. In truth Poole were rock solid throughout their side, with every one recording at least one win or paid win.
Not surprisingly Monarchs succeeded only when they were able to pair two of their top three, and the mid-match fightback started with a 5-1 for Pickering and tac sub Masters over Steve Worrall.
Two heats later, Kye Thomson rounded Danny King on the first corner and Josh Pickering blasted past King later in the race to bring Monarchs level at that point. Thereafter the Pirates took over and clinched the victory when Pickering came to grief chasing Hume and Nielsen in heat 14.
Monarchs will need improved results in their remaining fixtures to ensure a place in the Playoffs.