Without Erik and Mark Riss who were ordered to ride in a German League match, which ironically was rained off, Edinburgh Monarchs slipped to a 48-45 Championship defeat to Peterborough Panthers at the East of England Showground last night.
After sharing the opening two heats Monarchs lost a 5-1 against Paul Starke and Ulrich Ostergaard in heat three, but bounced back with a 4-2 from skipper Sam Masters and Josh Pickering two races later to cut their deficit to just two points, 16-14.
Monarchs then snatched the lead with a brilliant 5-1 from Ricky Wells and guest Danny Ayres in heat six against Jack Holder and Simon Lambert to lead by 19-17.
But the Panthers hit back with their second 5-1 of the meeting to edge ahead again 22-20, Max Clegg and Ben Morley the unlucky Monarchs on the wrong end of a second maximum advantage.
Pickering kept Monarchs in touch with a stunning win over Bradley Wilson-Dean and Lambert in heat eight. But Monarchs were then floored by two Peterborough 5-1s in heats nine and ten and trailed by ten, 35-25.
Monarchs then handed Masters a tactical outing in heat 11 in a bid to cut their arrears and the gamble paid off with Masters winning the race and Pickering claiming third place. This 7-2 advantage cut Monarchs’ deficit to five points 37-32. Panthers star Kenneth Hansen gave up the ghost on the last lap after he was passed by Pickering, who was having a brilliant meeting despite never having seen the place before.
Two more shared heats in heats 12 and 13 kept Monarchs five points behind and still in with a chance of snatching a match point over the final two races.
A crash involving Wilson-Dean and Ayres caused a delay of 45 minutes as repairs were carried out on the air fence.
And Monarchs got the match point they deserved with a 4-2 in heat 15. But they will rue the absent Riss brothers.