It’s an all or nothing weekend for Edinburgh Monarchs after defeating Somerset Rebels

Edinburgh Monarchs gained ample revenge for their midweek defeat by Somerset Rebels by easily toppling their Oak Tree Arena rivals 57-32 at Armadale Stadium last night.

Saturday, 7th September 2019, 6:00 am

Monarchs took all three Championship League points to keep their play-off hopes alive, mathematically at least, but will require wins at Berwick and Newcastle this weekend to stand any real chance of finishing in the top four.

Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess said: “We’ve got to do something away from home otherwise we’re out of the play-offs.”

Somerset were dealt a pre-meeting blow with the news that No. 1 Rory Schlein was injured riding for his Premiership side Ipswich Witches on Thursday so they were forced to use the rider replacement facility to cover his absence, it was an undoubted setback for Somerset given that Schlein is a former Edinburgh rider.

Monarchs made a good start to the meeting with a 4-2 in the first race, Sam Masters taking the chequered flag ahead of Somerset’s Nick Morris, and with teammate James Sarjeant picking up third spot, it was an early advantage for Monarchs.

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And things got better for Monarchs in the next heat when Wiliam Lawson and Connor Coles grabbed a 5-0 over Luke Harris, who stalled at the start after his partner Nathan Stoneman fell and was disqualified at the first time of asking. Monarchs now led 9-2.

But Somerset hit back in the third heat with a 5-1 of their own to cut Monarchs’ lead to two points, 10-7.

And Monarchs star Cameron Heeps was back from injury and opened up with a win in the fourth race. Said Heeps: “I’m 90 per cent fit and felt fine out on track, it was good to get that first win under my belt.”

Monarchs, through a 5-1 from Masters and Sarjeant in the sixth heat, led 22-13, and a 4-2 in the next race from Heeps and Coles put Monarchs comfortably in front 26-15.

A further 5-1 for Monarchs at the halfway stage saw them streak in front 31-16 with Somerset seemingly unable to respond.

Somerset brought Nico Covatti out as a tactical substitute in heat 12 and he combined with Morris for a 4-2, Somerset’s first heat advantage of the meeting, but they still trailed 46-25 and Monarchs were home and dry.

Monarchs: Masters 12, Heeps 11, Lawson 9, Sarjeant 7, Pickering 7, Wells 7, Coles 4.

Somerset: Morris 12, Covatti 12, C Harris 7, Rowe 1, Stoneman 0, L Harris 0