Edinburgh Monarchs determined to oust Tigers on return to Armadale

Monarchs Matt Williamson scored eight points from reserve last week. Pic: Ron MacNeillMonarchs Matt Williamson scored eight points from reserve last week. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Monarchs Matt Williamson scored eight points from reserve last week. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Matt Williamson added a coat of gloss to his debut performance for Edinburgh Monarchs at Ashfield last Friday and the talented Englishman is hungry for more.

Williamson netted eight points from the reserve berth but couldn’t stop Monarchs going down 50-40 in the Scottish Cup first leg against Glasgow Tigers after the Capital outfit lost two 5-1s in the final two races having been just two behind after heat 13 heats.

As the Tigers make the short trip to Armadale for tonight’s deciding leg, Williamson is adamant the tie is far from over.

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He said: “The Tigers beat us by ten points but we can do the same to them tonight, nothing is done until it’s done and I expect us to bounce back.”

The reserve position is an important role within the team and Williamson was naturally a bit nervous knowing a lot was riding on his shoulders, saying: “I’m over the moon with my personal display in what was my first meeting in Monarchs colours.”

After getting so close to the Tigers with just two races remaining Williamson said it was gutting to surrender the ground made up. “We had put a up a really good display and fought our way back into the meeting with a chance of winning it after we scored a 5-1 ourselves in the 13th race.

“It was a shame it ended the way it did. But we now have the upper hand I believe at home we have to make that count.”

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Williamson couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season. “It’s always nice to score a few good points and start the season off on a strong note. It gives you the confidence to move forward and race well for what is a new club for me.”

All the Monarchs riders had to cope with a re-shaped Ashfield circuit and Williamson was full of praise for the changes. He said: “It’s even more faster now, it’s not so tight on entry to the corners now.

“It was really good to ride especially with the recent weather we’ve all had. The track was brilliant.”

The Tigers, who this week announced the shock departure of long time team manager and promoter Stewart Dickson, were without British Grand Prix star Chris Harris for the first leg but the big winter signing rides tonight.

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Harris is an accomplished performer without question, but Williamson isn’t worried about his reputation, saying: “Everyone is beatable, he is just another rider. We will go out and do our level best and see what happens.

“The Tigers were reckoned to be rock solid all the way through but I went out and beat their No.1 Richie Worrall and No.2 Lewis Kerr, and both are very strong riders. I’m probably still regarded as a lesser experienced rider so if I can do it the rest of the Monarchs lads can also do it. The Tigers team had been on the track for three days prior to the match and had a distinct advantage.

“But it was only two race wins that made the difference We just need two heat wins in our favour this evening and we’ll back right back in the tie.”

Team-mates Max Ruml and Joel Andersson also made their debuts a week ago and both had contrasting fortunes. Andersson failed to score but Ruml collected three points. Said Williamson: “I didn’t see a lot of the match, but it’s all new to Joel and I’m sure he will find his feet. Max, he looked very good and definitely knows how to ride a bike. I think he will do really well around Armadale it’s a tight track similar to the tracks Max was riding when he was growing up.”

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Williamson is determined to make his mark for Monarchs in 2018 and in conclusion he said: £I’m a determined character who wants to do well in the sport. “My first few home meetings might be a bit tricky, however, as I’m a big track rider. But my experience at Ashfield gave me a lot of confidence that I can have a really good year with Edinburgh.”

The one change to the Tigers line-up is that Kyle Bickley replaces Jack Thomas at reserve.