Expected the unexpected: it's play-off time for the Edinburgh Monarchs

Justin Sedgmen (white) in action for Birmingham last week. Tonight he will guest at No.1 for the Monarchs. Picture: Jack Cupido.Justin Sedgmen (white) in action for Birmingham last week. Tonight he will guest at No.1 for the Monarchs. Picture: Jack Cupido.
Justin Sedgmen (white) in action for Birmingham last week. Tonight he will guest at No.1 for the Monarchs. Picture: Jack Cupido.
Edinburgh Monarchs' Championship 2023 grand final hopes now rest on matches - both home and on the road - against the Scunthorpe Scorpions and reigning champions the Poole Pirates.

It was no surprise Poole, who finished top of the pile, selected the Monarchs in their group given the success they have enjoyed over the Capital outfit since making the step down from the Premiership a couple of years ago. Monarchs haven't really laid a glove on the Dorset men if the truth be told and were well beaten 59-31 on the south coast last month not to mention a 55-35 reversal at Armadale just last Wednesday. Scunthorpe, who are the visitors to West Lothian tonight, are no pushovers either with victories over the Monarchs home and away earlier in the year.

The Scorpions upset the apple cart when they secured a draw at Poole on Wednesday night to claim an excellent point as Group A got underway. But that's the beauty about the play-offs: expect the unexpected. Monarchs are underdogs and rightly so given they scraped into the play-offs at the final hurdle.

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Both Poole and Scunthorpe will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of two more matches against the Scottish side. However, skipper Josh Pickering really is in fine form, arguably his best spell of the season, and is scoring well with both the Sheffield Tigers in the top flight and Polish side Gniezno. Covering for the absent Craig Cook at No.1 isn't without its challenges for the promotion with rider availability at a premium.

Justin Sedgmen will fill that void tonight. Sedgy could prove to be a trump card. He has more than enough race wins around Armadale than most riders in British speedway. He looked on the pace when Birmingham were the visitors seven days ago scoring 10 from his four outings. A similar score this evening would be a useful return if the rest of the heat leaders come to the party. The hosts really need to start with a win if they are to give themselves a chance of progressing from the group and a good shot of confidence ahead of the return trip to Lincolnshire on Sunday. Time to shine boys!

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