Monarchs on cruise control with Comets

Rob Branford and Max Clegg lead Nathan Greaves at Aramdale. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Rob Branford and Max Clegg lead Nathan Greaves at Aramdale. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Even with the inclusion of former Monarchs skipper Matthew Wethers, Workington Comets once more were unable to do themselves justice at Armadale Stadium last night.

Monarchs brought their visitors crashing back to earth with a thud as they easily outpaced them 56-36 for a victory that maintains the side’s unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign so far this season.

In truth this was a pretty dreadful contest with far too many processional races and the mystery as to why a Workington team who look good on paper cannot transfer that to the Lothian Arena track, defies logic to be honest.

Yet the Comets, who to be fair were a patched up outfit due to injuries, did begin promisingly when guest Theo Pijper got the better of Sam Masters in the very first heat. With partner Ricky Well claiming third, the Comets’ 4-2 advantage was their only one of the night, which underlined just how dominant Monarchs were.

After seven heats Monarchs had opened up a commanding 28-14 lead which prompted the Comets management to hand Danish rider Rene Bach a tactical outing in the next race in an effort to halt the Monarchs juggernaut.

But Monarchs foiled the Comets again as Erik Riss won the race. And while Bach came home in second place, the resultant 4-4 advantage was of no use to a Workington side who were treading water at this stage. And Monarchs simply compounded Workington’s sense of despair in heat nine when Kevin Wolbert and Justin Sedgmen effectively killed the match stone dead and sealed all three points for the homer side.

Wethers, despite his knowledge of Armadale, could not inspire his new Workington team-mates. The Aussie made a nightmare beginning with a last place in his opening ride and then fell off and was excluded in his next.

He picked up a little in the second half and typically won his last outing defeating Sedgemen in heat 14. That would have given Wethers a lift because he is at least two months behind everybody else in the league because of the visa wrangle that delayed his move to the Comets which should have gone ahead during the winter.

Despite being on easy street, none of the Monarchs managed a full maximum. Masters did not win his first race until the tenth heat, and Craig Cook, after reeling off three wins on the bounce, came unstuck in his fourth outing when he drifted wide on the first turn and tumbled off and was excluded. Some thought it should have been all four back.

But Cook’s win in heat 11 saw him reach a milestone of 1200 points for Monarchs since joining them.

Workington’s real downfall was at reserve where Liam Carr and Nathan Greaves managed a single point between them. By contrast Monarchs’ reserve duo of Max Clegg and Rob Branford picked up five points each, Clegg winning his first race against Greaves in the second race.

Clegg agreed Monarchs were never in danger of losing. “It was a pretty comfortable win for the whole team. Workington like a lot of teams, struggle round Armadale because it is not an easy track to ride for some riders. But it was good to get all three points to keep our unbeaten start to the league going.”

Comets’ top scorer was American Ricky Wells who managed a sterling 12 points from six rides and this included two race victories. Monarchs can only beat the standard of opposition served up to them, and with Ipswich and Glasgow the visitors over the next two weeks, they won’t get it quite so easy.

Monarchs: Wolbert 12, Sedgmen 11, Masters 10, Cook 9, Clegg 5, Branford 5, Riss 4.

Workington: Wells 12, Bach 10, Pijper 7, Wethers 6, Greaves 1, Carr 0.