Edinburgh MONARCHS were chopped down at the Oak Tree Arena last night as Somerset Rebels cruised to an easy 57-38 Premier League victory, which leaves the Capital side with plenty to do in their remaining fixtures if they want to claim a top-six finishing spot in the table by the end of the season.
But Monarchs were a battered and bruised squad before the conclusion of the meeting after skipper Matthew Wethers and partner Kyle Howarth came to grief in a nasty pile-up in heat 14 as they battled against Rebels duo Cory Gathercole and Alex Davies.
Wethers likes to ride an inside line at Somerset but when he tried to keep it going he spun off on the last bend which left Howarth with nowhere to go and he ran into Wethers.
Both men required medical attention, but Monarchs director Mike Hunter said: “We don’t think the injuries are serious. Matthew has a sore leg and Kyle has slight concussion, it’s too early to say if there will be any repercussions, but we are hoping they will both be fit to ride in the return match at Armadale tomorrow night.”
The mishap certainly didn’t have any bearing on the result with the Rebels, who used rider replacement for broken leg victim Christian Hefenbrock, in total control of proceedings from the off. Hunter said: “It looked as if we were going to get slaughtered up until heat nine, and although the score might not reflect it, we got going a bit in the later stages.”
Monarchs No. 1 Kevin Wolbert struggled a bit on what was a heavy track surface but managed to win two races. Team-mates Kalle Katajisto and Craig Cook, however, endured something of a nightmare. Katajisto failed to score from his four rides, and Cook, who retired in his first outing, could only scrape together two points from his remaining rides.
“Kalle was way off the pace,” added Hunter, “and Craig isn’t experienced enough to cope with the wet conditions.”
Wethers and Andrew Tully once again shone as a pairing and combined brilliantly to record an 8-1 advantage in the tenth heat.
Wethers was on a tactical ride and doubled his points when he headed home James Holder and Sam Masters, with Tully in second place. Tully also savoured success in his own tactical outing when he picked up four points after finishing behind Rebels’ recent signing James Wright in heat seven.
Tully, who still isn’t fully fit following his spill at Glasgow recently, finished on nine points, despite hurting his ribs in heat 12.
Howarth was in the wars as early as heat two when he picked up a bit of grip after passing Holder and crashed into the fence. Nonetheless the 17-year-old’s six-point return was an excellent effort.
Somerset: Gathercole 12, North 10, Davies 10, Masters 9, Wright 8, Holder 8.
Monarchs: Wolbert 11, Tully 9, Wethers 9, Howarth 6, Cook 2, Webster 1, Katajisto 0.