Edinburgh Monarchs lose Pairs crown

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Edinburgh Monarchs lost their grip on their Premier League Pairs speedway crown after a disappointing defence of their title at Somerset’s Oaktree Arena last night.

The Monarchs pairing of Sam Masters, who triumphed a year ago with Max Fricke, and new partner Kevin Wolbert, were brushed aside in their qualifying group by big hitters Peterborough Panthers and Ipswich Witches.

And the Monarchs duo got off to the worst possible start when they surrendered a 6-3 against Witches pair Danny King and Rohan Tungate in the very first heat, While Masters picked up three points for second, Wolbert trailed in last.

And they suffered the exact same fate against Rye House rivals Edward Kennett and Nikolaj Jakobsen in the seventh heat which all but killed their chances of reaching the semi finals.

Masters did win heat 13 beating Peterborough’s Ulrich Ostergaard, but unfortunately Wolbert failed to pick up anything again and this shortfall by Monarchs experienced German star gave Masters an impossible task to carry the challenge on his own.

A consolation 6-3 win against Newcastle in their final qualifying heat came far too late for Monarchs who finished second last in Group A on 16 points, with Ipswich and Peterborough going through comfortably to the first semi final with 24 and 23 points respectively.

In a far closer Group B section ,hosts Somerset Rebels and surprise packets Redcar Bears , progressed to the second semi final.

Ipswich defeated Redcar in their semi final while Somerset ousted Peterborough in the other. And in the Grand Final showdown Somerset’s Brady Kurtz clipped the fence and was excluded from the rerun, a carbon copy of the exclusion Nick Morris suffered for Somerset in 2014 which cost them glory.

This made it easy for Ipswich as Tungate and King defeated Somerset’s lone rider Josh Grajczonek to lift the crown, leaving Somerset to nurse a sense of heartache for the second year running.