Edinburgh Monarchs into the League Cup final despite defeat

Gino Manzares holds his line as Erik Riss falls in  heat three.  'Picture: Steve Waller  'www.stephenwaller.com

Gino Manzares holds his line as Erik Riss falls in heat three. 'Picture: Steve Waller 'www.stephenwaller.com

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Edinburgh Monarchs sailed through to the League Cup speedway Final last night after casting Ipswich Witches aside in the second leg of their semi-final clash at Foxhall Heath.

Monarchs were in the luxurious position of defending a mammoth 22-point cushion from the first tie at Armadale, and despite Ipswich showing some decent form recently, they struggled to pull back their arrears despite winning their own leg 52-38.

Monarchs had gone into the match without their skipper Craig Cook who withdrew from the match yesterday morning with a virus which had laid him low all week.

Monarchs recruited former team member Ryan Fisher as a guest and the Californian proved his worth when he combined with Justin Sedgmen for a 5-1 in heat five which gave Monarchs an early 17-13 lead and also increased their aggregate advantage to 26 points –

and really at this stage it was all but over for the home side.

However Ipswich did gain their first 5-1 of the match in the eighth race when Ashley Morris and Cameron Heeps overcame Rob Branford, and Sedgmen who finished last, to reduce their arrears on the night to just two points, 25-23, but were still miles adrift over the two legs.

Monarchs were happy just to share as many races as they could and the fact that four of the first nine heats races went that way was music to their ears.

Ipswich then grabbed a 4-2 in heat ten to lead 32-28 but Monarchs,who were still in front by 18 points on aggregate at this juncture, were not exactly perturbed knowing full well that a Final showdown against Glasgow Tigers was a prize Ipswich were unable to deny the Capital outfit.

But at least Ipswich did not roll over completely and another 4-2 from Nico Covatti and Simon Nielsen in heat 11 gave the Witches a six-point lead as Monarchs counted down the heats for overall victory.

Monarchs countered that 4-2 with one of their own in the twelfth race and were out to win the away leg too as they trailed just 38-34 with three heats left, but a 5-1 from Ipswich in heat 13 hit that hope on the head, which was the only consolation the home side could take comfort from.

But another 5-1 from the Witches in the last race saw them eventually claw back 14 of the 22 points required.Too little to late unfortunately.

Witches No.1 Danny King was top scorer with a 15-point paid maximum while Kevin Wolbert with ten points was Monarchs star turn.