It’s just the Bear necessities for Monarchs
Edinburgh Monarchs didn’t rack up 69 points as they did in the corresponding fixture last year and this time it was far too close for comfort against Redcar Bears in their Championship League match at Armadale last night.
Monarchs triumphed 49-41 but it was a far from convincing triumph and on this evidence the Bears are hot favourites to put the squeeze on Monarchs in the return fixture tonight.
Captain Ricky Wells said: “It was tough going tonight and I didn’t make any starts, the track was also a bit tricky.”
Swede Victor Palovaara making his debut for Monarchs as an injury replacement for Justin Sedgmen, roared back in great style by winning the opening heat, and with partner Ricky Wells following him home, this 5-1 gave Monarchs the perfect start to the match.
Said Palovaara: “I made a good start and just kept my head in front. It was the ideal way for me to start the meeting and I just hope I can keep it going in the weeks ahead.”
And reserve William Lawson, under pressure to come good on a consistent basis, came out fighting and defeated Nathan Greaves and Jack Smith in the second race. Lawson’s win earned Monarchs a share of the spoils to maintain their four-point lead.
Josh Pickering’s long awaited return from injury ended with the Aussie coming off on the second bend in the third heat, he remounted but retired from the race. And did not come out for his scheduled second ride and withdrew from the meeting. It was a blow for Pickering who gambled on his fitness but unfortunately he perhaps returned too soon and did the correct thing in retiring from the meeting
Pickering said: “I tried my best but it didn’t work out, I will need further time to sort out my injuries and will return when I can and when I’m fully fit.”
Redcar, after being four points down at one stage, fought back with three 4-2’s on the bounce to level the scores 21-21 after seven races.
And a 3-3 in heat eight, won by Redcar’s Tom Bacon, they kept the scored tied at 24-24.
But Monarchs grabbed their second 5-1 of the meeting in the ninth race courtesy of Palovaara and Joel Andersson to open up a four-point gap once more 29-25.
And Monarchs put more daylight between themselves and the Bears when they grabbed another 5-1 in heat ten to stretch their lead to eight points, 34-26. It was Palovaara’s third race win of the night with teammate Wells second.
However, a 4-2 for Redcar in the 12th race allowed the Bears to cut their arrears to just four points and they had no intention of going away.
But a 4-2 for Monarchs in heat 13 put them six in front again, and Monarchs clinched the match with a share of the spoils in the penultimate heat even although Bears Aussie star Jordan Stewart took the chequered flag.
Monarchs: Palovaara 14, Andersson 11, Wells 10, Heeps 8, Lawson 5, Coles 1, Pickering 0.
Redcar: Palm-Toft 13, Wright 7, Stewart 7, Bacon 5, Ostergaard 5, Greaves 3, Smith 1.