Edinburgh MONARCHS sailed into the speedway League Cup final and extended their unbeaten sequence to 19 matches in what proved a case of double delight at Sheffield Tigers last night.
If anybody thought Monarchs would take their foot off the pedal in defending a massive 35-point semi-final first-leg lead, nothing was further from the truth as they triumphed 50-40 to trounce their Yorkshire hosts 113-68 on aggregate, which underlines the huge gap in class that exists between the sides.
Such is the mentality in the Monarchs camp right now that losing is not a word that exists in their vocabulary and while the real hard work will begin in earnest in the Premier League play-offs come September, Sheffield team manager Joe Screen’s assertion that Edinburgh could win everything this season is not fanciful.
Yet Monarchs co-boss John Campbell revealed today that he was a bit twitchy ahead of the meeting. He said: “I was as nervous about the match as I have been about every other meeting so far.
“I should not have been. Thirty-five points up from our home leg, it was all over and there was no possibility of us losing. Had we been behind by 20 points or something over the first few heats, we might have panicked, but it’s all about winning, and we just cannot stop winning. You have just got to be with this team to know what is going on in their head and we simply had too much strength for anything to be a problem.”
Asked if Monarchs really are as good as their results suggests or are some of their rivals simply weak, Campbell replied: “Sheffield are one of the poorer teams in the league, but I think Edinburgh have put together a very strong side and on current form I don’t think there is anyone who can live with us.
“So we just keep going, we can’t give up and start losing to our opponents. We have a magnificent No.1 in Craig Cook and everybody else is chipping in with points.”
Although the scores were level at 30-30 after ten races, Monarchs, as they have done so often, dug deep and Cook and Justin Sedgmen produced a 5-1 in the very next race to edge the capital outfit in front 35-31 and a trio of 4-2 advantages over the last four races rubber-stamped the hold Monarchs had on the match in the second half.
Cook scored 14 points from his five starts and lost just once to Tigers skipper Simon Stead.
Team-mate Max Fricke, after scoring his first maximum for Monarchs last week against Plymouth Devils, flourished again with an 11-point haul, which included two race wins in heats seven and 12. Fricke’s Aussie compatriot Sedgmen had a nightmare start to the evening, failing to score from his first two outings, but he was unbeaten in his final two rides and said: “I had trouble with my bike in those first couple of rides, so I changed bikes and I was a different rider after that. The switch turned round the whole meeting for me.
“It was just great that we pulled another win out the bag and that’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t just want to defend our lead, we were keen to keep our unbeaten record going and that’s exactly what we did. Awesome.”
Sheffield: Stead 11, Lanham 8, Compton 8, Nielsen 4, Poole 3, Bates 3, Proctor 3.
Monarchs: Cook 14, Fricke 11, Masters 9, Worrall 8, Sedgmen 5, Sneddon 3, Fox 0.