PREVIEW Sunday 12th September 2021, 2:06pm
After a hard fought and well-earned point at Leicester on Saturday evening the What the Fork Monarchs playoff push continues Sunday as they head for the Northeast and a tussle against the Newcastle Diamonds.
After last night it is now 4 points from the 2 remaining matches that is required to absolutely guarantee a playoff spot and with the upturn in form that has coincided with the return of Richie Worrall the Monarchs will head for Brough Park in hope the job can be completed today.
This will be no easy task though as Newcastle have proved themselves stuffy opposition when they want to be around their home shale this season and while they no longer can make those playoffs a home win could go towards avoiding the wooden spoon so there is still something to be raced for for Rob Grant's men.
Both teams see changes to their usual line-ups with former Monarch Ricky Wells stepping in for Newcastle in place of another rider well known to the Blue and Gold faithful Matty Wethers while for the Monarchs Anders Rowe has unfortunately suffered a reoccurrence of the knee injury that kept him out earlier in the year and Nathan Greaves of course misses out having stepped down from the sport.
Rider replacement will operate for Rowe allowing extra rides for Kye Thomson and the reserves while Glasgow's Connor Bailey steps in for Greaves, Bailey recording 4 points while riding for the Tigers at Brough last month.
Elsewhere the teams are as expected with the Monarchs looking for Sam Masters, Richie Worrall, and Josh Pickering to lead the charge as they have done so often this year. Worrall and Pickering were both among the points in the Monarchs last visit to Brough which saw a convincing 14 point win a repeat of which would be most welcome. Masters missed out due to Polish commitments that day but with the form and class shown by the captain throughout this season no drop off from the 13-point haul we got from guest Stevie Worrall on that last visit is expected.
Elsewhere for the Monarchs unusually for Thomson this will be an away match he can head to knowing exactly what to expect and a repeat of his last performance which saw 2 heat wins in his 7-point haul could go a long way to securing the points.
For the Diamonds it is all about finishing the season strong and giving there fans something to cheer about and leading the way in doing this will be Ben Barker, Barker has enjoyed a fine season after a slow start caused by a hand injury and is always tough to beat, Wells will be expected to provide the main backup but the success stories of Newcastle's season has been the return to the sport of James Wright and Adam Roynon. Both have had their ups and downs but are averaging more than a point better than their starting figure.
Roynon may well be the key man as he has been piling up points form the reserve berth.
So, an interesting battle looks ahead in another key match for the Monarchs, while it is unknown exactly what could be required to make the playoffs if other results go our way what is known is that 34 points guarantees a slot and with 30 points already in the bag a big win on Sunday would be just the ticket to make that happen.
The action starts at 6.30pm and for those not in attendance live updates will be available on the Monarchs website