Monarchs move top after easing to win at Berwick

Kevin Wolbert collected ten points for Monarchs at Berwick. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Kevin Wolbert collected ten points for Monarchs at Berwick. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs leapfrogged Peterborough Panthers again to assume command of speedway’s Premier League after a very comfortable 54-38 victory at Berwick Bandits on Saturday, the home side’s third straight loss in front of their own fans.

And today Monarchs reserve star Max Clegg hailed the result.

“It was a great one for the whole team and to go back to the top of the table made it even better,” he said.

Yet Clegg confessed it was not the most productive match of the season for him, scoring just four points.

His single race victory in heat eight, when he replaced teammate Justin Sedgmen who was excluded under the two-minute rule, gave him great personal satisfaction.

”I was very happy with that because normally I can never get close to anybody round Berwick, never mind getting a win.

“Berwick have got a very good home advantage because their track is so big and it can be a difficult place to go to for some riders and teams and that underlined the importance that win had for me.”

Monarchs were still without No. 1 Sam Masters and Aussie tail-ender Rob Branford yet the Capital outfit don’t appear to be suffering to any great degree, having now picked up six valuable points away from home in less than a week.

Clegg said: “We had a really good guest for Sam in Richie Worrall and Liam Carr stood in for Rob and is very good at Berwick and did a very good job for us.

“Losing your No.1 is never the best thing but if you can find suitable replacements it can lessen the impact if you pick the right sort of guest.”

The Bandits, who blooded new Swedish signing Mathias Thornblom who picked up two points, have seen their morale dip alarmingly recently and their chances of reaching the end of season play-offs now appear doomed.

Asked if he thought Berwick lacked confidence, Clegg replied: “Maybe, but they are still a hard side to beat on their own track. Their reserves have been struggling a bit lately and have had a few bad meetings and that is not always a good thing because reserve riders’ can be just as important as the main body of the team.

“But we just concentrated on ourselves and getting the job done. And certainly now we are top of the league again, I think that gives us a psychological advantage over our rivals, who might fear us a bit more.”

Monarchs were never under any real threat and gained their first 5-1 advantage as early as the third heat when Kevin Wolbert and Erik Riss defeated Thomas Jorgensen and new boy Thornblom.

Monarchs, who were already flexing their mechanical muscles, also grabbed the next three races and were a dozen points to the good, 24-12 at that stage.

The Bandits handed skipper Kevin Doolan a tactical outing in the next race but the Aussie had to settle for second place behind Wolbert and the resultant 4-4 share of the spoils was not the outcome Berwick had wished for.

Another Monarchs 5-1 from Clegg and the useful Carr in heat eight increased Monarchs’ lead to 16 points. It took the Bandits until heat nine before they recorded their first heat win with a 4-2 from Jorgensen who handed Monarchs captain Craig Cook his only reverse.

The Bandits snatched a further 4-2 in heat ten but that was the end of their resistance as Monarchs crossed the finishing line with still plenty in their tank.

Cook, who Clegg said was “on it all night”, top-scored for Monarchs with 14 points and received strong support from his team-mates.

And Carr, who racked up seven points at the tail-end from four outings including victory in his first race, negated the threat from his Berwick counterparts.

The Bandits’ best performers were Doolan on 11 points and Jorgensen who weighed in with ten. The Bandits are now in seventh place in the league, nine points behind Ipswich.

Berwick: Doolan 11, Jorgensen 10, Tungate 6, Hall 3, Garcia 3, Thornblom 3, Edberg 2.

Monarchs: Cook 14, Wolbert 10, Worrall 8, Carr 7, Riss 7, Sedgmen 4, Clegg 4.