EDINBURGH MONARCHS boss John Campbell today said the Capital speedway outfit are facing another four-figure financial hit after torrential rain forced the cancellation of their eagerly-awaited play-off clash against Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale last night.
Scunthorpe will now return on Friday, October 5, with Monarchs other group opponents, Workington Comets, who were due on that date, agreeing to visit on Friday, October 19 instead.
Campbell revealed he ruled out the option of re-staging the meeting tonight, saying: “It is such a critical match both for the team and for our chances of winning the league, that we would never have got a good crowd had we decided to run this evening at such short notice, and that is why we decided against it.”
The decision to call the match off just 40 minutes before the 7.30pm start time was absolutely correct said Campbell, who explained: “We had heavy showers yesterday morning but everything was running fine during the afternoon.
“At this stage referee Willie Dishington had arrived and said to keep going, but if we got another shower that would be it. We were right on the edge then of calling it off but the referee again insisted we continue on, trying to get the track into shape.
“By this time five of the regular Scunthorpe riders’ were in the stadium and were happy to ride remembering how well they rode in the wet against us a few weeks ago. But all seven of our team were not keen to go ahead.
“The track was awash now but the match official was still adamant that the circuit was rideable, so we got prepared to race before more rain arrived at 6.30pm. The referee then conducted a further track inspection on his own because no one else was willing to go out because the rain had become so heavy.
“Eventually he saw sense and called it off. We would have got a poor crowd anyway because a lot of supporters would have taken a look at all the rain clouds and probably would not have travelled, and when you add in a travel bill of £500 for the Scunthorpe team, plus the cost of the referee and the ambulance crew, our loss will run into four figures.”
So Monarchs will now hope to open their play-off programme at Scunthorpe’s Eddie Wright Raceway tomorrow evening, and Campbell insists if his side can pinch a point from their visit, they would be in a strong position to reach the play-off final and a chance to go for a fourth championship crown. “It would be marvellous if we could pinch a point”, said Campbell, “because any team who gets an away point in their section will almost certainly win the group.
“I’m not saying it’s going to happen for us, but it would get us off to a great start if we could.”
Jozsef Tabaka and Craig Cook will be hoping that a 48-hour delay in making their comeback from injury won’t affect their nerves, for it seems certain that the talented duo hold the key to Monarchs chance of late season glory.
Campbell says: “Scunthorpe is probably an easier track for Jozsef and Craig to ride in what will now be their first meeting back in five weeks. But we also need Andrew Tully to be at his best round his former track, and if Craig and Jozsef do well, then the rest of the team should be able to pop up with the necessary points we need, if we score 42 I’ll be highly delighted.
“Jozsef has the potential to take seven rides and if that happens he could easily score 11 or 12 points. Scunthorpe rides as a big track and that is what Jozsef is used to.”
However the Scorpions are a potent force round their own track and are unbeaten there this season.
Said Campbell: “Scunthorpe are very powerful on their own turf and do very well at home. But they have ridden against some very average opposition over the last few weeks. I’m encouraged that Berwick Bandits managed to score 42 point down there recently, and if they can do it, so can we.
“We will certainly do our best to come away with some reward, if it doesn’t happen then we must make sure we do well against our opponents at Armadale, because who wins the groups could come down to points difference, so being dominant on your own track will be vital.”
Cook commented: “It was such a disappointment that last night was washed out I had been building myself up to it all week, but I think we have a shout at Scunthorpe, it’s a very fast track, but we are all capable of riding it well.”