A LATE rally in the second half was not enough for Edinburgh Monarchs to muzzle Redcar Bears in their Premier League speedway clash on Teeside last night. The Capital club went down 54-41 and tossed away a half-decent chance of grabbing a point from the match.
And according to director Mike Hunter the reason for that failure was clear. “Apart from Craig Cook and Andrew Tully we did not attack the track enough,” he said. Monarchs were only seven points in arrears after heat 13 but the next race proved to be a killer for them as skipper Matthew Wethers and reserve Charles Wright surrendered a 5-1 to a couple of former Monarchs, Bears captain Aaron Summers and his partner Max Dilger.
This loss was a crippling blow and Hunter observed: “Matthew was pretty poor and we really need him to cover heat 14 better than he did.”
Once again it was Cook who rode to the fore. After being squeezed out in the opening race by Bears duo Ulrich Ostergaard and Carl Wilkinson, the Englishman did little wrong thereafter as he dropped just one more point from his remaining rides.
And he was instrumental in keeping his side in the meeting when he doubled his points by winning a tactical outing in heat 11, and with teammate Derek Sneddon finishing in third place, Monarchs scooped a big 7-2 advantage which should have given them the impetus to collect that single-point reward. The fact it eluded them will perhaps be blamed on some scattergun scoring as opposed to a cohesive all-round team contribution.
At least Cook had the satisfaction of stopping all of Redcar’s big guns from collecting maximums and he was unlucky not to triumph in the heat 15 top scorers’ finale when he was pulled back at the first time of asking after he was adjudged to have got a flier from the tapes. In the rerun Cook missed the start and was forced to settle for second behind Ostergaard.
Cook also thought Monarchs were in line for a point. He said: “I definitely believed so and told John (Campbell) exactly that after heat 13. Losing heat 14 put us out of contention, but we can’t really complain because we got beaten by the better side, however it was still a decent performance.”
Trailing in last in the first race was something of an ignomy for Cook whose star is very much in the ascendancy at present. “I didn’t make a good start and the two Redcar guys sandwiched me to keep me at the back, I made life too difficult for myself,” he said. “Then the referee said I made the jump from the tapes in the last heat and I didn’t make a good enough gate in the rerun to win.”
Monarchs tail-enders Wright and Micky Dyer both scored four points each and for the latter, who headed Dilger to win heat two, this should give his confidence a bit of a lift, given that he has been in the scoring doldrums lately.
In fact the Monarchs pair outscored their Redcar counterparts by a margin of three points, and had that been replicated elsewhere in the team, the outcome could have very different.
Redcar: Ostergaard 12, Wilkinson 12, Summers 11, Kus 8, Sedgemen 6, Dilger 5, Smart 0.
Monarchs: Cook 14, Pijper 7, Tully 5, Sneddon 4, Dyer 4, Wright 4, Wethers 3.