Holders Edinburgh Monarchs maintained their grip on Scottish speedway’s Spring Trophy at Armadale last night.
Trailing Glasgow Tigers by six points from Sunday’s rain soaked first-leg clash at Ashfield, Monarchs wiped out that deficit to triumph 51-42 and claim their first silverware of the new season comfortably on aggregate.
The Tigers tracked a trio of guests to cover for three of their new-look side who were engaged on Elite League duty. They drafted in Workington’s Kenneth Hansen, Belle Vue’s Steve Worrall, who was such a hero for Monarchs in 2014, and Ellis Perks replaced James Sarjeant at reserve.
This did the status of the Spring Trophy no favours whatsoever and it’s importance over the years has waned or risen depending on the quality of the respective line-ups.
But Monarchs will be happy to have kept the Tigers at bay, if only from a psychological point of view bearing in mind that the Saracen Park outfit are many pundits tips to win the Premier League this season.
Monarchs had to work a little before they got on top of their rivals after the scores were tied 15-15 after five heats. Monarchs then grabbed the first 5-1 of the night when skipper Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen headed home Worrall and Perks in the next race.
The home side opened up an eight-point gap in the eighth race when Sedgmen and reserve Rob Branford grabbed maximum points over Victor Palovaara and Dimitri Berge. It was an excellent second place by Branford, who scooped eight points overall from his five outings. He said: “I felt pretty good out there, and it’s nice to have our first trophy of the season under our belts.”
The Tigers did not yield without a fight and in the ninth race they put themselves right back in the frame when Palovaara and Worrall easily defeated Kevin Wolbert and Erik Riss.
But Monarchs cancelled that out right away when Cook and Sedgmen got the better of Aaron Summers and Kozza Smith in heat 10. Despite the heavy conditions some of the races were of high standard, and Monarchs’ other reserve Max Clegg earned huge plaudits in heat 11 when he lost second spot after losing position on the fourth bend. But the youngster regained his thoughts and fought back for a well deserved third place point behind race winner Sam Masters.
Masters was the class act for Monarchs storming to an impressive 15 point maximum. The Aussie was quite peerless and has picked up from where he left off last season.
The ever smiling Masters said: “So good to get a maximum this early, I was happy with how I rode. I think everybody did pretty well.”
Monarchs put things out of Tigers grasp with another 5-1 in heat 13. This left the Tigers needing to scoop maximum points from the last race to edge home on aggregate. But Masters put paid to that and although his partner Cook retired after trying too hard on the first bend, Monarchs were home and hosed. ook who led his side to their first silverware as new captain, said: “It was good for us to get our first win in the bag after last Sunday. I was a bit annoyed about my last race in heat 15, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Sedgmen, who reeled off three wins on the bounce after a third place in his first ride, said: “Yeah I had a bit of fun out there, I think we all did and that’s the main thing. Great win for us.”
Riss scored one point from his three outings. Summers was Tigers top scorer with 13 points from his five starts.”
Monarchs: Masters 15, Sedgmen 10, Cook 9, Branford 8,Wolbert 6, Clegg 2, Riss 1.
Glasgow: Summers 13,Palovaara 10, Hansen 9, Smith 6, Worrall 4, Berge 0, Perks 0.