Monarchs shock Ipswich to end their unbeaten record

Sam Masters scored vital points after an engine failure
Sam Masters scored vital points after an engine failure
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Edinburgh Monarchs ended Ipswich Witches unbeaten league record in a thriller at Foxhall Heath last night.

Monarchs sneaked home 47-46 in a deciding final race and a result no-one would have predicted.

For Monarchs, you have to go back to April for the last time they won an away fixture, and what a time to put that right in the most stunning of circumstances.

Monarchs lost a 4-2 in the first race when Witches No. 1 Danny King headed visiting skipper Sam Masters, and with Kyle Newman picking up a third place-point this gave the Witches the ideal start to the meeting.

But Monarchs then shared the next two races and were only two points down after three races. And the fourth heat also ended 3-3 with Monarchs looked promising at this early stage. Ricky Wells and in-form Erik Riss took the chequered flag in heats three and four respectively.

But in the fifth race disaster struck as Masters suffered an engine failure on the first lap and this handed an easy 5-1 to Ipswich pair Justin Sedgmen and Cameron Heeps to increase the home team’s lead to six points.

But Monarchs were making a fight of it and managed to draw the next two heats to keep their arrears at six points. Riss anticipated the tapes going up brilliantly in heat six and stayed out in front all the way for his second win of the night.

However, Ipswich increased their lead to eight points, 28-20, in the eighth race. The Witches actually gated on a 5-1 but Monarchs star Josh Pickering passed Connor Mountain for second place on the first lap and they were forced to settle for a 4-2 instead.

But the Witches were looking ominous and in heat ten they grabbed their second 5-1 of the match courtesy of Kyle Newman and King to stretch their advantage to 36-24 prompting Monarchs to give Masters a tactical outing in the next race. Masters duly won it and with Pickering finishing third this big 7-2 advantage cut Witches’ lead back to seven points, 38-31.

And Monarchs shared the 12th race 3-3 and still trailed the home side. But Monarchs nicked a 4-2 in heat 13 to narrow the gap to just five points and the chance to escape with a match point. Then, in heat 14, Sedgmen fell after passing Max Clegg and this handed Monarchs a lucky 5-1 with Pickering in second spot.

Now the Witches just led by one point, 44-43. And unbelievably Monarchs won the match with a 4-2 in the final race thanks to Masters and Riss.