Edinburgh Monarchs resume play-off bid with first visit of the Oxford Cheetahs in 25 years

It's been 25 years since the Oxford Cheetahs last took to the Armadale shale, but tomorrow night they are back in town as the race for the play-offs gathers pace.

By Neil McGlade
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:50 pm

Having been left idle last weekend, hosts the Edinburgh Monarchs are also eager for some home comforts - their last outing at the West Lothian venue their KO Cup quarter-final first-leg triumph over arch-rivals the Glasgow Tiger at the beginning of the month.

The Cheetahs - who recorded a narrow 46-44 victory over the Tigers last night - are one point better off than the Monarchs in seventh in the Championship standings and will be eyeing a quickfire Scottish double.

Monarchs, however, are locked in their own battle to secure a top-six place and coveted play-off berth later this year.

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Monarchs fans will once again be expecting Sam Masters, left, and Josh Pickering to lead the charge against Oxford. Picture: Jack Cupido.

This week's sudden closure of Newcastle has upset the apple cart with several teams set to be deducted points following victories earlier on in the season over the now defunct Diamonds. Monarchs, however, were due to face the English outfit both home and away next month so are unaffected.

The Capital club have already lost twice at home in the league this season, both Glasgow and league leaders the Leicester Lions picking up precious points on the road.

The meeting comes too soon for injured pair Lasse Fredriksen and James Sarjeant but both are expected to be in the saddle for next Friday's visit of the Scunthorpe Scorpions.

Oxford have their own selection dilemmas with No.1 and former Grand Prix star Scott Nicholls definitely ruled out and doubts over both Kyle Newman and Josh MacDonald. However, they are boosted by the recent return to the sport of Australian and ex-Monarch Aaron Summers.

"It doesn't matter how tough these fixtures are we've got to take these teams on," Monarchs boss Alex Harkess said. "Winning at home is essential. A few of their riders have done very well at Armadale in the past, but they don't do any better than what our top two (Sam Masters and Josh Pickering) do each week. It's up to us if we want to be in the play-offs. We need all our riders to produce something as we can't really afford any passengers."