Monarchs staring at double-headers after seventh washout

Edinburgh Monarchs suffered their seventh washout of the season last night when their Premier League speedway clash against Peterborough Panthers fell victim to the weather.

Saturday, 13th August 2016, 5:30 am
Kevin Wolbert raises a smile despite the Monarchs suffering yet another postponement due to the rain. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Kevin Wolbert raises a smile despite the Monarchs suffering yet another postponement due to the rain. Pic: Ron MacNeill

And today co-promoter John Campbell revealed the club will be forced to run a double-header in September to clear their fixture backlog and to ensure their spot in the end of season play-offs.

Campbell said: “I have already set out to organise the double-header, but I don’t know yet who will be involved, although I hope to have confirmation of the teams early next week.

“The problem of course is that we do not have any more spare dates and we are keen to complete all our fixtures before the cut-off date for the play-offs, which is September 16.

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“And that’s because we might need all those remaining home matches to make sure we get into the best position in the league within the play-offs.”

But Campbell admitted that going down the double-header route can be fraught with problems, not to mention the financial drain on the Capital club’s coffers. He said: “It’s almost double the cost of staging it and it’s also very hard to double the entry fee for our supporters.

“And because of the deadlines we have at Armadale, we need to get through 30 heats of racing in under three hours and that is a challenge for most people. We will obviously do our best to make it happen.

“Nobody ever wants to run a double-header because anything can happen on the night, but we have been forced into it because of the matches we have lost to the weather already this season.”

Although Monarchs currently sit in third place in the table, three points behind arch rivals Glasgow Tigers and with a match in hand on their Ashfield opponents, Campbell is not yet confident to claim his side’s play-off berth is secured despite picking up a bundle of points away from home, including their latest victory at Peterborough on Sunday which netted all four points available to them.

Campbell said: “If I was confident we could run all our matches without further weather disruption both home and away before September 16 I would be confident we could qualify, but if we had a situation where we lost one of two further home meetings before that deadline then we might just be on the edge of qualification. And no matter where we finish in the league, our hope would be that we would be racing a team lower than us in the top six because the third placed team races the sixth placed team and so on.

“So we would like to be in the top four at the cut-off point.”

Asked if Monarchs can overtake Glasgow to finish second, which would see them seeded direct into the play-off semi finals, Campbell replied: “No position is out of our reach yet. If we were to win our final three away matches and win all our home matches, I suspect we would be very close to the top of the league.”

Last night’s cancellation 
was especially galling with former Monarchs captain 
Craig Cook returning to Armadale for the first time since he quit Monarchs last season 
and his appearance would surely have attracted a healthy crowd.

Monarchs are next in action at league leaders Somerset Rebels next Wednesday.