Edinburgh Monarchs boss John Campbell had declared that his side needed to do much better if they wanted to beat Somerset Rebels at Armadale last night following their loss at Sheffield Tigers on Thursday.
And his declaration was certainly heeded as Monarchs convincingly quelled the Rebels 55-35 in their Premier League clash leaving them well clear at the top of the table. Now, if Monarchs win their home meeting against Berwick Bandits on Friday they can finish no worse than second in the league which would send them straight through to the play-off semi-finals.
Monarchs were out the traps like lightning and pulled off two 5-1 advantages over the first three races to lead 13-5 which sent a jolt through the Somerset team who have a good reputation for pushing Monarchs hard round Armadale.
A 4-2 by Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen in heat six extended Monarchs’ lead to ten points, 23-13 which prompted a rattled Somerset boss Garry May to hand Richie Worrall a double-points tactical ride in the following race.
But the move backfired in spectacular fashion when Sam Masters, who made his comeback for Monarchs after a six week lay-off, and reserve Max Clegg, pulled off a brilliant 5-1 advantage relegating Worrall to third place and pushing the home side in front 28-14 against a Rebels squad who were perplexed as to how to respond against what was a Monarchs points onslaught.
Clegg was buzzing after his second place behind Masters and said: “I was very happy with that race. I didn’t make any mistakes and just kept my head down and it paid off.”
Masters, who was third in his first ride, said: “I felt a bit nervous before the meeting but that win in heat seven helped me a lot to settle down. My wrist is still a bit sore and feels stiff when I get back to the pits, but it’s great to be back.”
With Sedgmen and Branford pitching in with a 4-2 in the eighth race Monarchs were coasting 32-16 at the halfway stage. Monarchs were untroubled by their visitors and a 5-1 from Cook and Sedgmen in the tenth heat saw Monarchs reach 40 points and well on their way to victory.
The Rebels finally won their first heat advantage of the match in heat 11 when Rasmus Jensen and Brady Kurtz grabbed a 4-2 against Masters and Clegg to cut their arrears to ... 18 points! However, the earlier loss of Josh Grajczonek who took a heavy tumble in heat nine simply compounded the Rebels’ misery especially as the rider had picked up five points from his opening two rides.
Monarchs refused to take their foot off the pedal and a 5-1 from Cook and Masters in the 13th race saw them lead 50-28, a scoreline at that stage few could have foreseen, least of all Somerset.
And Cook finished in great style clinching a 15 point maximum by winning the heat 15 finale. Too easy for Monarchs.
Monarchs: Cook 15, Wolbert 10, Sedgmen 8, Masters 8, Clegg 5, Branfordf 5, Riss 4.
Somerset: Starke 9, Worrall 8, Jensen 7, Grajczonek 5, Kurtz 5, Wright 1, Greenwood 0.