Having gained their first away point of the season at Leicester Lions, Edinburgh Monarchs are hoping this will act as a springboard for further reward on the road as they embark on tough trips to Somerset Rebels tonight and Sheffield Tigers 24 hours later.
Monarchs were desperately unlucky not to have triumphed at Leicester but, having hitherto failed to have picked up any success on the road this season, getting the monkey off the team’s back was like the sun peeping through a black cloud.
And for Monarchs skipper Matthew Wethers, the Leicester match provided a degree of atonement for his poor display at Plymouth Devils eight days earlier when he could only muster a paltry three points.
Wethers doubled that tally at Leicester and said: “I did ride a bit better at Leicester but I’m still not entirely happy about how things have gone for me, but this has been the story of my season to date. I cannot seem to find the consistency I’m looking for.”
Wethers’ Plymouth performance, which saw Monarchs slump to a heavy 57-36 reverse, still rankles with the Aussie.
He recalled: “I was not looking forward to the match and it was such a boring long drive to get there.
“It was a bad result for the team, and for me personally, I was caught out by the track. The starts were very important and I wasn’t making any.
“What gate you were off made a big difference because the inside gates seemed to have a big advantage. I tried to use the outside racing line but couldn’t come off the corner fast enough.
“I struggled to find any grip and the track preparation was not great. I was certainly more pleased at Leicester and to finally get our first away point was great. We were unlucky not to win when Marcel (Helfer) shed a chain when he was winning heat 14 but these things happen in speedway.
“However, Somerset and Sheffield are going to be very hard meetings for everybody, but I’m looking forward to them and hope we can come away with something.”
Team-mate Craig Cook is continually optimistic about Monarchs’ chances of making the championship play-offs. He said: “We have been a bit unlucky away from home this season but no one can fault us for not giving 110 per-cent.
“Every team needs a slice of luck to win and things have not always gone our way, but we are all trying our best.”
Cook was, inevitably, Monarchs’ top scorer at Leicester and added: “On the face of it you wouldn’t bet on us winning at Somerset and Sheffield but I’ve always maintained we will surprise some teams away from home this season, and if we can all hit the heights at the same time, who knows, but it’s a big ask.”
Somerset Rebels moved into second spot behind leaders Newcastle Diamonds this week after a comprehensive home victory against Redcar Bears. Four of the Rebels hit double figures, with James Wright just missing out on a maximum due to a puncture on his last ride.
And worryingly for Monarchs’ tail-end duo, Helfer and Jozsef Tabaka, the Rebels’ reserve pairing of Tom Perry and Kyle Newman bagged a paid 18-point haul between them.
Rebels team boss Garry May said: “Our guys were just awesome and unfortunately for Redcar they were the team who were on the receiving end of what was a tremendous scoring performance by ourselves.
“Everybody played their part which was the most pleasing aspect of the win, but we won’t be counting our chickens against Edinburgh. They are a solid team, especially at home, and we visit Armadale in the return match on Friday. They could be cracking fixtures.”