Edinburgh Monarchs 58-32 Sheffield Tigers: Monarchs end Tigers’ hopes
Sheffield Tigers still had an outside chance of sneaking into the Championship League play-offs if they had beaten Edinburgh Monarchs at Armadale tonight.
But Monarchs, who failed to make the top four themselves, ended the Yorkshiremen’s ambitions with a commanding 58-32 victory that will help their own cause of a possible mid-table finish come the end of the season.
Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess said: “It was a good home performance by us, it’s been our away form that has been our big problem this season.”
Sheffield team manager Simon Stead said: “A very disappointing result, but Armadale has never been a favourite circuit for us.”
Sheffield were at full strength apart from Kyle Howarth who was injured, and he was replaced by guest rider, ex-Monarch Matthew Wethers.
After the Tigers lost the first heat to a Monarchs 4-2 they slipped further behind in the third race when captain Ricky Wells and partner Josh Pickering powered to a 5-1 advantage over Justin Sedgmen and Todd Kurtz to lead 12-6.
But the Tigers hit back with their own 5-1 in the next race when Broc Nicol and Wethers flew from the gate leaving Monarchs duo Cameron Heeps and Connor Coles chasing air. Sheffield thus trimmed Monarchs lead to just two points,13-11 and Monarchs had a fight on their hands.
But Monarchs grabbed a 4-2 in heat five through Wells and Pickering to pull four points in front, 17-13.
Monarchs hit their visitors with another 5-1 in the fifth heat when Sam Masters and James Sarjeant triumphed over Zaine Kennedy and Wethers.
Heat eight was shared 3-3 but Tigers’ American ace Nicol took the chequered flag for his third win of the night. Monarchs’ third 5-1 through Wells and Pickering in the ninth race put them out in front 33-21 and gave them some much needed breathing space. And a fourth maximum advantage for Monarchs in heat ten saw them open up a 16-point gap.
Pickering said: “It was close early on but we started to pull away in the second half. Sheffield still came back at us a bit, they are a good team.”
Two more 5-1 verdicts in the 12th and 13th heats clinched the match for Monarch.
Monarchs: Masters 14, Wells 14, Pickering 8, Heeps 7, Sarjeant 6, Lawson 6, Coles 3.
Sheffield: Nicol, 12, King 11, Wethers 5, Kurtz 3, Sedgmen 1, MacDonald 0, Kennedy 0.