Business as usual for Monarchs’ trip to Berwick

Monarchs rider Justin Sedgmen. Pic: RON MacNEILL
Monarchs rider Justin Sedgmen. Pic: RON MacNEILL
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Despite surrendering their 24-match unbeaten run to Peterborough Panthers on Sunday, Edinburgh Monarchs insist the roof isn’t about to fall in on their season.

They have no intention of altering their winning mentality as they head for Berwick Bandits tonight for their KO Cup quarter-final first-leg tie which was rained off on Saturday.

Monarchs boss John Campbell said: “It’s very much a case of as you were, but should we go down by ten points or so, we still have a very strong chance of getting to the semi-finals on aggregate if we do our job at home on Friday.”

Monarchs certainly will not write Berwick off. The Border side have performed with some distinction in the league this season and have won three times on the road, their only blip at home was a heavy loss to Peterborough, but they’re in good company there ...

The Bandits are on course for a top-six finish to get them into the championship play-offs, and Campbell insists: “We will be taking Berwick very seriously and at least all of our team have been there before, which wasn’t the case at Peterborough. Craig Cook is very dominant round Berwick and the pressure of not letting anyone down in the next race is now gone. It’s going to be much easier for us now, I think.”

Berwick direcor George Hepburn caused a bit of a stir last week by claiming Monarchs supporters had become “smug” about their invincibility, but Campbell hit back insisting: “When you get the team who have won the most matches in speedway history, I think you are entitled to be a bit smug about that. And we will continue as we have done in believing every match is winnable, including Berwick tonight.”

Justin Sedgmen also echoes Campbell’s thoughts and said: “It will be the same as normal for the team. We will just go to Berwick and do our job. We have already beaten them down there this year so we can do it again.”

The Shielfield Park venue is not top of Sedgmen’s favourite track lists. However, the Aussie won’t let his dislike of the place thwart him from trying to pile up a respectable tally of points.

“I can’t let that bother me,” he said. “You have got to get out of the gate and into the first bend in good shape, and really you just have to go out and get on with it.”

It’s a big match for Monarchs with the KO Cup the one trophy Campbell is desperate to land again. Sedgmen added: “We will just keep doing what we have been doing all season and maintain the attitude that has served us so well this year.

“Reaching the semi-finals is important to us and, even if we do lose the first leg, we’ll easily beat Berwick at Armadale on Friday in the return leg, so there is really no pressure on us.”

Berwick team manager John Anderson, who saw his side lose 51-37 to neighbours Newcastle Diamonds at the weekend, said: “It is going to be a very tough match for us. Edinburgh are still the form team in the country and their record speaks for itself.

“In Craig Cook, they have one of the best riders in the league, while Stevie Worrall has banged in points from reserve, and is now doing it from the main body of the team. They will come looking to win, but we know if our lads ride they way we know they can, we can get a result to give ourselves an advantage to take to Armadale on Friday.”