Impressive Edinburgh Monarchs too good for arch-rivals Glasgow Tigers in KO Cup first leg

There was something in the air at Armadale tonight - a steely determination that saw the Edinburgh Monarchs put one over their old foes the Glasgow Tigers.

By Neil McGlade
Friday, 3rd June 2022, 9:42 pm

That said, it is only half-time in this KO Cup quarter-final clash with the decisive return leg at Ashfield tomorrow night, but the Monarchs travel west with a 16-point lead after a sensational 53-37 victory.

Key duo Sam Masters and Josh Pickering will be absent due to racing commitments in Poland with Rawicz, but co-promoters Alex Harkess and John Campbell will be heartened by tonight's contributions from the remaining riders in the team. The Capital outfit lost by just two points on their previous trip to Ashfield on Championship duty five weeks ago so a similar margin of defeat tomorrow night would see them coast through to the last four.

The hosts were in menacing mood from the off, producing seven of the first eight heat winners. Getting out of the start has been the Monarchs' Achilles' heel for most meetings on home shale in 2022, but they were a different animal this time around.

Monarchs captain Sam Masters gets the bumps from his team-mates and mechanics after scoring a maximum. Picture: Jack Cupido.

The home side enjoyed an eight-point lead by the midway point before Tigers No.1 Craig Cook and Connor Bailey were split by Pickering to limit the damage to a 4-2 in heat 11. Monarchs' advantage was reduced to six but Kye Thomson and impressive guest Dillon Ruml restored their eight-point lead in the very next race.

Heat 13 saw another blockbuster ride from Pickering as he came from the back - ghosting past both Cook and Tom Brennan - to join Masters at the front for a maximum pay day.

Monarchs were now in dreamland with a 12-point lead, quite a contrast to the visitors' last jaunt to West Lothian in April when they ran out deserved winners. A breathtaking ride from the Masters and Pickering combination in the final heat registered another timely 5-1 to spark jubilation among the home supporters.

Monarchs skipper Masters said: "What an awesome performance from the boys. We dug deep and hopefully that's enough to see us through. I'm here for the team - I enjoyed that."

Monarchs: Masters 15, Pickering 12, Thomson 9, Castagna 8, Ruml 7, Hook 2.

Tigers: Cook 8, Ostergaard 7, Basso 6, Brennan 6, Bailey 5, Nicol 3, Hume 2.