Triumphant Edinburgh Monarchs were crowned Premier League Cup speedway champions for the first time since 1999 after defeating Peterborough Panthers 55-38 in the deciding leg of the final at Armadale last night.
After winning the first match at Peterborough last weekend to put them in a very strong position, Monarchs made no mistake at home, sweeping to victory by a comfortable 101-82 margin on aggregate.
Peterborough had been miffed after Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell claimed they had “no chance whatsoever” of lifting the trophy after failing to secure their own leg at the East of England Showground.
And not for the first time, Campbell was bang on the money with his prediction. The Panthers, who tracked three guest riders and utilised the rider replacement facility to cover for their absent personnel, tried their best in the first half when they succeeded in extracting a 7-2 tactical outing win in the fifth race and also grabbed a 5-1 two heats later as they trailed by just five points 25-20.
But what was in effect a Peterborough “Select” outfit simply could not maintain that brief bout of momentum and, in truth, the belief that they would become the first side to win at Armadale this season was pure fantasy.
While the Panthers’ seven-and-a-half year trophy drought continues, Monarchs could still end the season with a triple haul of silverware if things go their way.
Aussie ace Justin Sedgmen once again tormented the Panthers as he did in the away clash. Sedgmen picked up ten points and was always in the thick of things and while his sights are set on the forthcoming battle for the league championship, he admitted: “It’s great to win our first piece of team silverware and hopefully there will be more to come.
“Peterborough were by no means a pushover, but we made life a lot easier for ourselves by beating them at their place. Let’s just hope more trophies will be on the way for us.”
Skipper Derek Sneddon said: “I have ridden in a few teams during my career, but this is the best set of laddies I have ever worked with.”
Sam Masters commented: “I’m stoked, this is a great side to be part of and let’s hope we can bring home the other trophies too.”
Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook added: “This is a fantastic result for us all and I’d like to thank all our fans for turning out to cheer us on.”
Monarchs ensured that would be no way back for their opponents by consolidating their lead over the second half of the match. Maximum points from Sedgmen and Cook in heat ten, which was followed by a further 5-1 from Steve Worrall and Aaron Fox in the penultimate heat, slammed the door shut on the Panthers and sparked celebrations on the terraces.
Peterborough have a large question mark hanging over their future in the Premier League and if they can stave off closure in 2015, they will consider the loss of this trophy to be insignificant if the turnstiles keep clicking next season.
In the first match of Monarchs’ double-header attraction, the capital side thumped Newcastle Diamonds 62-27 in an amazing show of strength to render the return clash at Brough Park tomorrow night almost meaningless.
The Diamonds had been expected to take the clash down to the wire based on their previous visit to Armadale when they almost pulled off a shock win, but they looked completely jaded and could only provide four race winners over the course of the meeting.
Monarchs bulldozed them from the off and led 35-12 at the halfway stage. The Diamonds appeared to be in a state of shock and never looked to have the scoring power to force Monarchs fired-up juggernaut off the speedway highway.
The other big plus for Monarchs over both meetings was the superb efforts of Sneddon and Fox from the reserve berth, as the pair responded when it mattered most.
Monarchs: Fricke 13, Cook 12, Masters 10, Sedgmen 8, Fox 7, Sneddon 7, Worrall 5.
Newcastle: King 12, Pijper 7, Dilger 3, Robson 2, Lindgren 2, Nielsen 1.
Monarchs: Cook 14, Sedgmen 10, Fricke 8, Masters 7, Fox 5, Sneddon 5,
Peterborough: Doolan 10, Ostergaard 9, Summers 8, Roynon 5, Edberg 4, Dilger 2.