Edinburgh MONARCHS were stung by Scunthorpe Scorpions in their opening Premier League speedway fixture of the season at the Eddie Wright Raceway yesterday.
Monarchs lost 55-37 against a Scorpions outfit who will yield few points, if any, round their own circuit over the coming months. Both sides were depleted, with the Scorpions fielding Newcastle’s Ritchie Worrall to replace Tero Aarnio and Monarchs recruiting his twin brother Steve to cover for reserve Charles Wright.
It was Ritchie who eclipsed his sibling as he racked up a tasty 13-point total, winning his opening four races, while Steve managed four points for Monarchs. The former is riding like a heat leader at the moment, despite his lowly 4.30 average and Scunthorpe chose wisely.
Monarchs lost 4-2 in the opening race and it was uphill after that, despite a brief rally over the closing races. Theo Pijper, Craig Cook, and Micky Dyer scored ten points each for Monarchs, but former No 1 Andrew Tully, who once rode for the Scorpions, managed just a solitary point, which will be unfathomable to some.
But Monarchs director Mike Hunter pointed out that the Scunthorpe track is very different now to the one Tully was used to. He said: “It’s very much a ‘round-the-boards’ track these days and unless you are prepared to do that, and you really have to ride at Scunthorpe regularly to have such confidence, it’s tough on visiting riders. I don’t see many sides beating Scunthorpe at home this year.
“However, Andrew was still very disappointing.”
Cook had a mini disaster in his opening ride when he trailed in at the back, but the Englishman dropped just two points from his next four rides and managed to defeat Scorpions’ top scorer, Josh Auty, twice. Dyer said he was “happy” with his effort, and so he should be, after amassing almost 30 points from his last three meetings, two of them away from home.
Monarchs captain Matthew Wethers had a nasty crash in his second ride. He made a good start from the gate, but Scorpions ace Jerran Hart ran into the back of him from behind.
Wethers was unable to come out for the re-run and also missed his next ride in heat eight. However, he took his place in heat ten but struggled to get round. He gamely managed a second place in his last ride in heat 14 despite feeling a bit shaken.
Monarchs gave Tully a tactical outing in the sixth race, but gained nothing as he surrendered a 5-1 against him. Pijper was given the same opportunity and finished second in heat ten.
Scunthorpe: Auty 15, R.Worrall 13, Jorgensen 11, Palm-Toft 8, Hart 5, Birks 3.
Monarchs: Dyer 10, Cook 10, Pijper 10, S.Worrall 4, Wethers 2, Tully 1.