Monarchs learn fixtures for 2017 SGB Championship campaign

Alex Harkess is eyeing success for Monarchs this term

Alex Harkess is eyeing success for Monarchs this term

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Edinburgh Monarchs will kick off their new era in the SGB Championship with a home fixture on Friday, April 7 against Scunthorpe Scorpions, considered by many to be the weakest team in the league.

However, today Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess warned against underestimating their opening opponents in the revamped speedway set-up.

“Some people are already writing Scunthorpe off,” said Harkess, whose team were champions in 2014 and 2015.

“But Scunthorpe started off last season with an early visit to Ipswich which they won. It was probably the only fixture they won last season but that’s how it goes. I can understand why the SGB have rebranded things. They believe they can bring a lot more people through the turnstiles.

“Probably we at Edinburgh will be lucky to see an increase in attendances.”

Harkess admitted it will take time to get used to calling the traditional Premier League the “Championship”.

He added: “We are so used to call our league the Premier League it will take time for us all to get used to calling it the Championship.

“The SGB have been keen to get people’s ideas on board and upgrade them. And this is the way a lot of supporters think. We will see how it goes.”

With no League Cup compeition this season, Monarchs will tackle Sheffield Tigers in the first round of the KO Cup. The Tigers have assembled a strong-looking side and Edinburgh might have hoped for an easier draw.

Said Harkess: “We always seem to be invoved in various cup tournaments against Sheffield and the same thing has happened once again. It will be dominated, I suspect, by the performance of the home riders. We have got good a group of useful riders, who will do quite well round Sheffield and they should also be able to cope wth our home leg as well. Ricky Wells has ridden for the Tigers previously and it will be a chance for him to go back to his old club and show them what he is capable of.

“We could asked for an easier draw but, if want to win something, you sometimes have to take the rough with the smooth.”

MONARCHS’ 2017 FIXTURES

HOME

Mar 31: TBC

April 7: Scunthorpe

April 14: Berwick

April 21: Redar

April 28: Sheffield (KO)

May 5: Workington

May 12: Glasgow

May 19: Newcastle

May 26: Peterborough

June 2: Sheffied

June 9: TBC

June 16: Ipswich

June 23: Scunthorpe

July 7: Berwick

July 14: Newcastle

July 28: TBC

Aug 4: Sheffield

Aug 11: Peterborough

Aug 18: Berwick

Aug 25: Redcar

Sept 1: TBC

Sept 8: Workington

Sept 15: Glasgow

Sept 22: TBC

Sept 29: TBC

AWAY

April 8: Berwick.

April 21: Redcar

April 23: Scunthorpe.

April 28: Sheffield (KO)

April 30: Glasgow

May 7: Peterborough

May 14: Newcastle

June 1: Sheffield

June 8: Ispwich

June 22: Redcar

July 27: Ipswich

July 30: Newcastle

Aug 6: Peterborough

Aug 12: Glasgow

Sept 9: Berwick

Sept 10: Scunthorpe

Sept 14: Sheffield

• All matches SCB Championship apart from ‘KO’ which denotes Premier League Knock Out Cup