A heat 3 5-1 but it wasn't enough Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Bears fight back hard to win

REPORT Friday 5th July 2024, 9:38pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

Tonight's match came to a very disappointing conclusion for the Stellar Monarchs, who held an 8 point advantage in mid-match, but found it impossible to subdue visiting stars Charles Wright and Danny King who only dropped 2 points between them in 11 rides, and took 5-1s in heats 9, 13 and 15.

Home manager Alex Harkess said "It was very disappointing. We had opened up a bit of a gap and I wanted to keep that gap, but it didn't happen. It came down to a last heat decider and we had no-one to stand up to their top two who were very dominant."

Monarchs had gained a six point lead as early as heat 3 with Kye Thomson winning heat 1, Connor Coles taking heat 2 and the Castagna-Fredriksen pair easily beating their opposite numbers.

King beat Sedgmen in heat 4 and with Wright and King winning again in their next rides, it was clear that Monarchs were going to have to find a way to stop that pair. Usually Josh Pickering would relish that challenge, but after a very busy week of racing, the Aussie home number one was definitely lacking pace.

Nevertheless Monarchs took a heat 8 5-1, a battling ride by Coles to back up Thomson, and that allowed Wright to join King as tac sub and romp to a 5-1 of their own after Castagna had fallen.

Again Monarchs took a 5-1 in heat 10, a heat which should probably have been pulled back for a ragged start, but it did allow Josh Pickering his only win of the evening. So at 8 ahead, with the tac sub used, Monarchs might have been thinking more of the aggregate bonus than a home defeat though in truth the result never felt safe.

Sedgmen took his second win in heat 11 but from that point on not much went right for the home side. Dan Gilkes who had only picked up a point at this stage, rode an excellent second bend to beat Fredriksen in heat 11 with Trigger taking an important point from Coles. Connor needs to gate if he is going to score points, and in this one he didn't.

Up till now there had not been a great deal of entertaining racing but the next two races were crackers. Sedgmen and Wright had a tremendous tussle at the front of heat 13 but it was the visitor who eventually got the advantage, forcing Sedgmen wide and helping Danny King through with Pickering lacking pace at the rear.

There were a few flyers at the gate tonight and Jason Edwards got one in heat 14, but Paco Castagna hunted him down and nipped ahead at the line to keep Monarchs ahead. Mulford though got the better of the latest of his battles with Coles leaving the score at 43-41.

Monarchs needed a 3-3 but as soon as the tapes rose, the heat had 1-5 written all over it and the Redcar Bears had turned things around and gained the win. Kye Thomson had been the best home performer but the final heat was a step too far. Mulford probably offered the best support to the top two for the Bears but Gilkes and Trigger also scored vital points. Monarchs know they did not rise to the occasion as they have in recent home fixtures.