Glasgow Tigers had precious little in their speedway tank at Armadale last night and were crushed 58-32 by Edinburgh Monarchs in a woefully one sided Premier League contest that made watching paint dry seem positively riveting.
It’s a long time since a Glasgow team arrived at the Lothian Arena devoid of fight and spirit.
The irony is that the score totally flattered the Ashfield men who were gifted six points when Monarchs suffered exclusions to skipper Derek Sneddon, who fell in heat nine, and team-mate Max Fricke who was disqualified for a rash challenge three heats later, otherwise Monarchs would have ripped through the 60-point barrier with consummate ease.
Glasgow’s top quartet, Kevin Wolbert, Theo Pijper, Mark Lemon and guest Andre Compton, have ridden Armadale hundreds of times between them yet they looked as if they had never seen the place before. And minutes after the match ended rumours were flying around that the Tigers management were already wielding the axe in response to their pitiful display.
For Monarchs, whose unbeaten streak has now stretched to 15 meetings in a row this will be one of the easiest victories they record this season. Leading 36-12 at the halfway mark, the match had ceased to become a meaningful contest.
But while the entertainment value was pretty non-existent, Monarchs can only ride against the opposition placed in front of them. However, the wage bill Monarchs are running up at the moment must be astronomical as the whole side continue to take the chequered flag with almost monotonous regularity.
Steve Worrall for instance once again hit double figures at reserve and the way he is flying at the tail end he is in danger of bankrupting the club! Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook swept to a paid maximum and broke his own track record in the first race as he defeated Wolbert in a time of 54.08. However, Cook revealed that his form this season is not what it could be and cited clutch problems as the root cause of his slippage.
Said Cook: “I have been a bit up and down recently but Steve helped me out with my clutches and I would like to thank him for that. I have been doing my head in over it and confusing myself as I have tried different things to sort the problem out.
“But things worked well for me this time and I was really pleased with myself and my score. And the team just keeps rolling along, everybody is buzzing right now.”
Sneddon came to grief on the fourth bend in that ninth race and said the strong sun was to blame. “The bend was a bit tricky because it had a few ruts in it and I got caught out when I couldn’t see them. But to get such a strong result over Glasgow after we made the long trip up from Ipswich on Thursday night is absolutely fantastic.”
Justin Sedgmen wasn’t feeling 100 per cent but this did not stop him pitching in with ten points which included victory over Pijper in heat six. “I didn’t feel that great,” he said. “So I was quite happy to score as well as I did. Once again, though, the whole team rode well and were among the points, it just feels so good right now.”
Glasgow tried to stem the Monarchs points tide but to no avail. They gave a tactical outing to Wolbert in the fifth race but the German trailed in last. Reserve Anders Thomsen, one of the better Glasgow performers, was also handed a tactical ride in heat seven but lost control on the second bend and Tigers were left gnashing their teeth for a second time.
Compton who scored three points for Glasgow and is a former Scottish Open winner at Armadale, summed up the problems visiting teams face against the rampant Monarchs who show no sign of easing up. “Edinburgh are on such a roll at the moment that it is so hard to ride against them, it’s hard to see anybody beating them at home.”
Monarchs recruited Leicester’s Max Clegg as a guest for Aaron Fox who was a late withdrawal after reopening his thigh wound during the 45-45 draw at Ipswich. And Clegg, and you have to say he was lucky, picked up two points for his efforts due to mishaps by his Glasgow rivals.
Lemon and Wolbert both gained eight points for Glasgow, which didn’t look likely at the start of proceedings. However it was Thomsen who looked far more industrious and was one of the few Tigers to head home any of the Monarchs as he collected two wins from his five outings.
It took Glasgow until heat 11 before they recorded their first heat advantage, their only other success a 5-1 in the penultimate race, by then it seemed as if some of the home team had taken pity on their visitors.
Monarchs head for Newcastle Diamonds tomorrow with Worrall, who rode for them in 2013, vowing: “I want to do well there, I have something to prove.”
Monarchs: Cook 14, Worrall 10, Sedgmen 10, Fricke 8, Masters 8, Sneddon 6, Clegg 2.
Glasgow:- Wolbert 8, Lemon 8, Thomsen 6, Lykke 4, Compton 3, Pijper 3.