Edinburgh Monarchs went down 51-39 against arch rivals Glasgow Tigers in last night’s Sky Sports televised Premier League derby clash at Ashfield Stadium which preserved the Tigers’ unbeaten home league record.
Monarchs managed to keep pace with the Tigers for a long spell but let things slip over the last five races which allowed the home side to coast over the winning line with points to spare.
Tigers’ individual scoring hero was Argentinian reserve Fernando Garcia who tormented Monarchs as he romped to a haul of 13 points from seven outings.
Monarchs director Mike Hunter said: “We gave a decent account of ourselves and Ryan Fisher was brilliant and everybody else got points. I was happy with how we performed but it’s all on the gate at Glasgow which makes it difficult at times.”
It had been mooted that Monarchs could have been overwhelmed by the Tigers who have been very strong at home this season. But the Capital side more than held their own over the first few races and the scores were tied 15-15 after five heats.
Glasgow grabbed an early 4-2 in the second race but this was quickly equalised by Monarchs in the very next heat when Ryan Fisher and Erik Riss kept out Tigers Danish star Rene Bach after his partner Richie Worrall slid off and was excluded.
But Tigers’ reserve Fernando Garcia and No.1 Richard Lawson gained a surprise 5-1 over ex-Tiger Kevin Wolbert and Max Clegg in the sixth race to open up a four-point lead, 20-16.
However, Fisher prevented Monarchs falling further behind by beating Garcia in heat seven, the Californian’s second victory of the evening. And a 3-3 for Monarchs in the next race after Mark Riss picked up a splendid second place on his Ashfield debut kept Monarchs still very much in touch.
Things were proving very tight and the sixth shared race of the match in heat nine maintained Glasgow’s slender advantage into the second half. But Fisher who was on fire, and Erik Riss pulled off a 4-2 in the tenth race to cut Tigers’ lead to just two points, 31-29, as the tension began to build.
But the Tigers struck a telling blow in heat 11 when Garcia and skipper Aaron Summers picked up the home side’s second 5-1 of the match against Sam Masters and Mark Riss to nose six points in front at a crucial stage.
And Tigers then moved eight points in front with a 4-2 from Worrall and Garcia in heat 12. Garcia proved a thorn in Monarchs’ flesh hitting double figures from the reserve berth, a display Monarchs’ own tail-enders could not counter.
Monarchs then fell apart slightly in heat 13 conceding another 5-1, and a 4-2 against them in heat 14, Fisher beaten for the first time by Garcia, clinched the meeting for the Tigers who led 48-36 with one race left which was shared after Fisher took the chequered flag for Monarchs but unfortunately team-mate Masters fell.
Glasgow: Garcia 13, Summers 10, Lawson 9, Worrall 9, Bach 6, Ayres 4.
Monarchs: Fisher 14, Masters 8, Wolbert 6, E Riss 4, M Riss 3, Clegg 2, Bewley 2.