Edinburgh Monarchs back on track for Championship play-offs
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Prior to last Saturday's triumph on the road at Berwick, the Edinburgh Monarchs really were in make-or-break territory. Just one win in the Championship all season prior to success in the Borders, coupled with three straight defeats at home, qualification for the play-offs were beginning to look like a shot in the dark. However, two points at Shiefield Park and another three points in the bag from last night's 49-41 win over the same opposition, suddenly sixth-placed Monarchs are now looking up rather than what's languishing behind them.
Without getting carried away, last night's performance was still hugely encouraging as the club prepares for trips to Plymouth and Poole on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. With captain Josh Pickering back in the saddle following a nine-week lay-off through injury, and Kye Thomson enjoying his most productive night of the season reeling off a 15-point maximum, not to mention Craig Cook effortlessly rolling back the years, the Bandits, who are also vying for that sixth and final play-off spot, were well and truly put to the sword.
With reigning champions Poole next up to Armadale on Friday, the significance of securing back-to-back wins over Berwick cannot be underestimated. The Championship table now looks a lot more appetising from a blue and gold persuasion.
Yes, the timing of Lasse Fredriksen's broken wrist picked up in Sweden was another sucker punch. The 26-year-old reserve was really coming into a rich vein of form, both home and away, before Monarchs' injury curse reared its ugly head once more. Let's hope he picks up where he left off when he does return to the shale.
So how refreshing it was to see Lasse, his partner and their young baby make the journey over from Norway to cheer the team on from the sidelines last night.
With Paco Castagna also pencilled in for a return from a shoulder injury for the visit to Redcar on August 11, Monarchs should look a lot healthier over the next few weeks. It would be fair to say the 2023 season has hardly set the heather on fire but, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right? There’s still a few miles in this team yet.