Edinburgh Monarchs outclassed by Leicester Lions in Championship play-off semi-final first leg

The Edinburgh Monarchs will need a minor miracle if they are to reach this season's Championship play-off final after being blown away by a rampant Leicester Lions 53-36.

The Capital septet couldn't live with their opponents who were superior in every department and will be super confident of finishing the job in tomorrow night's return fixture at Beaumont Park.

The first four laps of the evening set the tone for the hosts as the Lions gained a maximum through Nick Morris and Connor Mountain. It wasn't until heat four that the Monarchs produced their first race winner, Josh Pickering getting the better of Kyle Howarth from the tapes.

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With Jacob Hook finishing in third, the visitors' lead was reduced to 13-11. But that was as good as it got.

Paco Castagna battles hard but it wasn't to be for the Monarchs. Picture: Jack Cupido.

The Lions sank their claws into Monarchs' wounds once more with their second 5-1 of the evening and suddenly, the Capital outfit found themselves a disappointing six points down.

Stewart Dickson's side continued to pile on the misery for a shocked home contingent as ex-Monarch Richie Worrall grabbed his second race win of the evening with six out of the first seven race winners going the way of the Midlands outfit.

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Both Lasse Fredriksen and Hook spun off in heat eight as the Lions registered an unorthodox 5-0.

Skipper Sam Masters secured his first race win - and just the Monarchs' second - in heat 10, but the Scottish side simply had no answer for the imperious Lions who are, in this form, destined for silverware.

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You could have heard a pin drop on the terraces as fans of the blue and gold couldn't quite fathom what was unravelling right before their eyes.

Monarchs picked up a 5-1 in heat 13 through Masters and Pickering, but they still trailed 45-32 with just two heats remaining.

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The Australian duo failed to repeat the feat in heat 15, finishing in third and fourth respectively, the Lions increasing their advantage to an almost insurmountable 17.

Tonight is likely to have been the last Monarchs fixture at Armadale for the foreseeable with the future of the club in jeopardy. We live in hope.

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Monarchs: Pickering 10, Masters 9, Thomson 6, Castagna 4, Sarjeant 4, Hook 2, Fredriksen 1.

Lions: Worrall 13, Howarth 12, Clegg 9, Morris 9, Mountain 8, D Thompson 2, J Thompson 0.