Newcastle Diamonds ride for pride but defeat Edinburgh Monarchs
There was no great Easter rising for Edinburgh Monarchs’ Championship Shield hopes against Newcastle Diamonds at Brough Park tonight.
Newcastle, whose own qualifying ambitions suffered a fatal blow following home and away defeats to Berwick Bandits, rode for pride only and defeated Monarchs 50-40.
And now Monarchs’ fixtures against fellow group rivals Glasgow Tigers this week have grown in importance with Monarchs now in a must win situation if they are to have any chance of halting Berwick’s front running juggernaut next month.
Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell said: “It was disappointing not to have picked up a point when we got so close to them. But they had the dominant gates in heat 15 and that was a tough call for us.”
The Diamonds opened up with a 4-2 in the first heat when Steve Worrall and Simon Lambert defeated Monarchs skipper Ricky Wells, who was second, but Justin Sedgmen trundled in last, and concerns over the Australian’s performances continue to mount.
Monarchs hit back with a 3-3 in the next race when Newcastle’s Max Clegg took the chequered flag but Monarchs pair William Lawson and Luke Ruddick kept Danny Phillips at the back for a share of the spoils.
In the third heat Monarchs’ Josh Pickering was excluded when he spun off entering the first bend and couldn’t avoid being hit by his Swedish teammate Joel Andersson. As a consequence Newcastle duo Matthew Wethers and Lasse Bjerre coasted to a 5-1 victory in the re-run which increased the Diamonds advantage to 12-6.
The next two races were shared with Sedgmen again trailing home in last position in heat five despite partner Wells winning the race.
However, Newcastle maintained their six-point lead, 18-12, which they increased to eight points with a 4-2 in the sixth heat, Worrall defeating Monarchs ace Cameron Heeps.
The seventh race also ended 3-3, Newcastle at this stage comfortably in front 25-17.
Only Monarchs riders Wells and Heeps were offering any semblance of resistance against the Diamonds who must rue the setbacks against neighbours Berwick now.
But Monarchs came out fighting in the second half and Sedgmen and reserve star Ruddick stormed to a 5-1 success against Lambert and Phillips to cut Monarchs deficit in half, 26-22.
And a 4-2 from fast riding Pickering, who handed Worrall his first defeat of the match,and Andersson in heat ten put Monarchs within two points of their hosts,31-29 and it was all to play for now.
But Newcastle grabbed a vital 4-2 in heat 12 courtesy of Max Clegg and Bjerre to lead by four again, 38-34, and ex-Monarch Clegg was causing his former teammates all sorts of bother romping to his third race win in four starts.
Heat 13 had to be re-run three times for rider infractions before the race was eventually shared 3-3, the Diamonds still in front 41-37.
Another former Monarch Matthew Wethers won the penultimate heat and with partner Clegg clinching third spot, this 4-2 ensured the Diamonds could not be overhauled
And the home side finished in style with a 5-1 flourish in the final heat for a comfortable victory in the end.
Newcastle: Worrall 14, Wethers 12, Clegg 10, Jorgensen 6, Bjerre 5, Lambert 3, Phillips 0.
Monarchs: Wells 10, Heeps 7, Andersson 6, Pickering 6, Sedgmen 4, Ruddick 4 ,Lawson 3.