Craig COOK today insisted that Edinburgh Monarchs “learned something” from their hefty 62-31 League Cup speedway defeat at Workington Comets on Saturday and reckons the setback is not a barrier to them progressing this season.
Not so very long ago Monarchs used to enjoy their forays to Workington, but, in recent times, it has been about as much fun as breaking rocks with a ball and chain attached to your ankle.
Cook certainly wasn’t shackled as he piled up a sweet 16-point total from his five outings which included a six-point tactical ride victory in his second race. He was perhaps a shade unlucky to miss out on a full maximum after trailing in third behind Adam Roynon and Richard Lawson in heat nine. “I was faster than Adam and Richard,” said Cook, “but I did not ride the right line. Adam, by contrast, rode a perfect line in front of me, chopping and changing, and I just couldn’t get past.”
Former Comet Cook was overjoyed with his performance and whooped with delight at the end and this earned him a very warm reception from the Derwent Park crowd who acknowledged, without his contribution, Monarchs might have been whitewashed. Cook added: “It’s always tough for us to come to Workington because it is such a fast track, yet it’s a hard track to go fast on.
“But we all gave 110 per cent and nobody can knock us for not trying hard. We rode our hearts out and we all learned something. Now it’s a case of onwards and upwards.”
In some regards, Cook ploughed a lone furrow as most of his teammates encountered various problems and were unable to make any impression against their hosts.
Skipper Matthew Wethers is having a horrid start to the season and his one point return, coming just 24 hours after scraping two points against Newcastle Diamonds at Armadale, must be giving the Australian some sleepless nights.
His bike packed up twice on his way to the tapes forcing him to ride borrowed equipment for the remainder of the meeting.
No. 1 Andrew Tully also had bike problems and only mustered a couple of points as well, but he really needs to get going away from home otherwise he risks living with the stigma of only being able to turn on the style at Armadale.
Reserve Micky Dyer rode soundly for his two-point score and was always competitive; unfortunately his tail-end partner, Charles Wright, struggled and failed to score which burst his early season scoring bubble.
The Comets were without the injured Kenny Ingalls, but used the rider replacement facility as cover and this probably made them stronger.
The match proved another triumph for former Monarch Kyle Howarth who was joint top scorer with Rene Bach, for the home team, with 12 points apiece.
Howarth confessed he didn’t think Workington would win quite so easily as the score suggests. He said: “I thought it would be a tough match for us because Edinburgh are a good team, and we never go round thinking any team is easy to beat.
“From riding for Edinburgh last season I knew it could have been tough, but we got such a good result in the end.
“We are very strong at home and we have all gelled together pretty quickly, we don’t take things too seriously, and we are having such a blast right now.
“We don’t get over-confident and treat every match as the same.”
Workington: Howarth 12, Bach 12, Lawson 11, Roynon 11, Harrison 9, Irving 7.
Monarchs: Cook 16, Sneddon 5, Pijper 5, Tully 2, Dyer 2, Wethers 1, Wright 0.