Edinburgh Monarchs beat reigning champions Leicester Lions to earn huge three points
The Edinburgh Monarchs picked up a huge three points after a 49-40 victory over reigning champions Leicester Lions.
The Armadale side move up to third in the Championship standings after a meeting that, in truth, could have gone either way.
Josh Pickering top scored for the Monarchs with 13, with reserve Willie Lawson also earning the plaudits with an impressive ten.
After Sam Masters and Nathan Greaves secured a 4-2 heat advantage in the opening heat of the night, the Lions roared back four laps later as teenage twins Joe and Dan Thompson headed home duo Joe Lawlor and William Lawson to give the visitors an early 7-5 advantage.
Pickering and Kye Thomson appear to be forming a decent partnership as the middle pairing and they combined for a 4-2 to level the score at 9-9 after three heats.
Richie Worrall, who has been in imperious early-season form, picked up a bit of drive at the start of the second lap of heat four and came down to earn an exclusion. However, in the rerun Lawson leapt from the tapes to pick up a morale-boosting victory over Ryan Douglas and Joe Thompson, the former coming to grief on the last lap, ensuring there were only two finishers. Monarchs led 12-11.
The hosts extended their lead to three after six races, Masters picking up his second win of the night, although it took a mistake from Australian Douglas on the fourth bend of lap three to allow his countryman through.
The Lions, managed by former Glasgow Tigers boss Stewart Dickson, reduced the arrears to a single point in heat seven 21-20, Kyle Howarth outmuscling Worrall with Josh Bates picking up a valuable third with Lawlor at the back.
After Joe Thompson fell and was excluded in heat eight, the hosts capitalised with their first 5-1 of the evening to increase their advantage to five points. Lawson was again impressively away from the tapes to lead Ty Proctor with Greaves in third. However, Australian Proctor almost turned his bike inside out going into bend three of the second lap and that allowed Greave through to secure the maximum.
The meeting was now very much nip and tuck with the Lions again clawing their way to within three points of the Monarchs, Bates surprisingly beating Masters to the chequered flag in heat ten with Howarth in the final scoring position.
Worrall was clearly struggling as he failed to win a race at the third attempt, Lions No.1 Nick Morris taking the victory to reduce the Monarchs lead to just a single point and, with the next heat shared, it was too close to call going into the final three heats.
The big hitters were out in heat 13 but there was no stopping Morris who took his third successive win. Crucially, Masters and Worrall finished second and third respectively.
And when Bates took a tumble in the penultimate heat with Pickering and Lawson reeling off a 5-1 in the rerun, Monarchs were almost home and dry. And top pairing Masters and Pickering finished the job off in fine style.
Monarchs: Pickering 13, Masters 12, Lawson 10, Worrall 5,Thomson 4, Greaves 4, Lawlor 1.
Lions: Morris 12, Howarth 9, Joe Thompson 6, Douglas 5, Bates 4, Proctor 2, Dan Thompson 2.