Great start with a Monarchs 5-1 Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Tigers in the Playoff Final

REPORT Friday 22nd October 2021, 11:28pm

by Mike Hunter

It was not unexpected after a 22-point defeat last night that it would be just too much for the What the Fork Monarchs to reach the Championship Playoff Final, though the heroics of last week in the Knockout Cup tie between the sides left at least a glimmer of hope. It was a different match this time though and a 47-43 Monarchs' win left the aggregate score at 81-99 sending Glasgow forward to meet Poole.

Team manager Alex Harkess said "It was disappointing though all of our boys rode quite well and contributed something. Compared to last week we let Glasgow get too many heat winners."

One of these visiting heat winners was Cameron Heeps, guesting for Marcin Nowak (getting married), and the former Monarch contributed 7 points which is a substantial improvement on the Polish rider's single gift point of last week when he struggled badly. It's a pity that Speedway's lax guest rules allow such a strengthening in an important fixture – but it would be going too far to say that this was the deciding factor.

Credit for Glasgow's win needs to be given primarily to Ricky Wells who scored 14 and Broc Nicol 10, both hugely improved on last week. Wells said afterwards "I haven't ridden like that since 2018!"

Monarchs certainly started with a bang, taking a 5-1 over Craig Cook through Sam Masters and Anders Rowe. Cook also conceded a 5-1 in heat 11 to Kemp and Worrall, but in between he produced probably the ride of the night to pass Josh Pickering with a bold outside overtake.

There were other excellent tussles between Wells and Pickering in heat 9, Masters and Tom Brennan in heat 10, and quite a few hotly contested minor placings.

Monarchs' young recent signings Rowe, Kemp and Edwards totalled 15 points and certainly did their bit as they have in most recent fixtures.

In fact Glasgow recorded 9 race winners and that was what prevented Monarchs cutting far into their advantage. Three of Monarchs six race winners were by Drew Kemp with Masters, Worrall and Pickering for once only taking three chequered flags between them. There were 8 shared races during the match and by heat 10, Glasgow only needed to provide finishers to win the tie.

On a cold night the match was completed in under 90 minutes. Action resumes tomorrow at 2:30pm when Monarchs race Poole in the KO Cup Final first leg, this match being followed by Armadale Devils v Mildenhall in the National League, the Devils last home match of the season.

As with all Armadale matches this season Saturday's matches will be Live Streamed, however the stream will be available only to those outwith a 25 mile radius of the track. Anyone within that limit but unable to attend should email info@edinburghmonarchs.co.uk

Saturday 23rd October: What the Fork Monarchs v Poole (Championship KO Cup Final first leg), Armadale, 2:30pm

WHAT THE FORK MONARCHS: Sam Masters (capt.), Anders Rowe, Kye Thomson, Josh Pickering, Richie Worrall, Drew Kemp, Jason Edwards (guest)

POOLE PIRATES: Stevie Worrall, Danyon Hume, Rory Schlein, Ben Cook, Danny King (capt.), Connor Bailey (guest), Benjamin Basso

Saturday 23rd October: Armadale Stellar Devils v Mildenhall Fen Tigers (National Development League), Armadale, following the Monarchs v Poole match

ARMADALE STELLAR DEVILS: William Lawson (guest), Gregor Millar, Tom Woolley (capt.), George Rothery, Danny Phillips, Archie Freeman, Lewis Millar

MANCHETTS FEN TIGERS: Jordan Jenkins, rider replacement for Luke Ruddick, Sam Hagon, Nathan Ablitt, Jason Edwards, Sam Bebee, Elliot Kelly