REPORT Sunday 12th September 2021, 9:14pm
The What the Fork Monarchs will almost certainly be in the Play Offs following their hard-won three points at Newcastle tonight. Monarchs trailed by four points with three races remaining but powered to 14 points out of 15 in these heats to win 48-42.
It was a strange match and one which seemed to be slipping away from us at some points. A very slick and dusty surface made it hard for anyone to make headway if they missed the start.
Josh Pickering usually stars at Newcastle but it didn't suit him tonight. He said "I usually like it but tonight it wasn't really a race track, for one thing it was so dusty you couldn't see, and for another there was no grip for racing. But the result was what we were looking for and I'm looking forward to the Play Offs and also hopefully qualifying for the next round of the cup."
The Aussie still managed 8+1 and played his part alongside Richie Worrall (12), Sam Masters (11+1) and Kye Thomson (8+1) in spite of one heavy fall. A special mention too for Glasgow's Connor Bailey our guest reserve with a neat and tidy performance to pick up 8+2, finishing with an excellent victory in heat 14 while Pickering protected second place.
Worrall won three heats and Masters two, and these riders took 9 from heats 13 and 15, such a strong finishing duo in so many matches this season.
One rider who did do quite a bit of passing was Max Clegg who seemed to find some grip on the inside line. He even passed the then-unbeaten Worrall in heat 9, probably the heat of the night.
Monarchs were unlucky in heat 10 in which Pickering had blasted to the front only for Kye Thomson to crash at the rear. Fortunately he was ok but in the rerun Diamonds took a 5-1.
Later in heat 12 Diamonds held a 5-1 only for Adam Roynon to fall, and subsequently Roynon did not come into heat 14 as would have been expected.
Monarchs just missed the fourth point but now have 33 with one match left, at Birmingham on Wednesday. They are in fifth place and it would take an almost inconceivable set of results in the remaining matches to push them out of the six Play Off positions.