Monarchs battle to a draw at rain-sodden Newcastle

Monarchs face a race against time (Ron MacNeill)
Monarchs face a race against time (Ron MacNeill)
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Edinburgh Monarchs gained a hard-fought 42-42 Premier League speedway draw at Newcastle Diamonds last night, with the match abandoned after 14 races due to rain, but the result stands.

Monarchs’ team manager Alex Harkess said there was no quibbling about the decision, adding: “I’m happy that we left with two points in the bag without having had to ask our top riders to go out in the final heat 15 race and take unnecessary risks.”

The Brough Park circuit had been overwatered before the start and this had a huge bearing on the whole meeting when the rain eventually arrived in the latter stages.

Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook was back to his best after some recent blips and was unbeaten from his four completed outings, which was a remarkable effort after he broke his frame and had to swap everything over to his other bike after his second race.

After leading 26-22 at one stage, Monarchs hit a bit of a slump and fell behind 32-28 – but they once again showed their true grit when they grabbed a 5-1 in heat 13, which proved the penultimate race, when Newcastle’s No.1 Danny King fell while leading.

This put Monarchs 41-37 in front, but frustration lay in wait in heat 14. Steve Worrall led the race but partner Derek Sneddon was adjudged to have brought down Diamonds’ ace Simon Nielsen and was disqualified.

The first rerun was pulled back after Worrall made the gate. Finally, at the third attempt, Worrall tumbled off on the treacherous third bend while in second place, handing the Diamonds a 5-1 advantage, which rescued a match point for them.

It was another good away result by the Monarchs, who are tied at the top of the table with Somerset Rebels, who won 51-41 at Glasgow Tigers.

Newcastle: Robson 9, Kerr 9, Rose 7, Nielsen 6, King 5, Lindgren 4, Mills 2.

Monarchs: Cook 12, Masters 9, Sedgemen 6, Fricke 6, Sneddon 6, Worrall 3, Hopwood 0.