Edinburgh Monarchs' pathway to the Grand Final mapped out

The scene is set ahead of tomorrow night's crucial play-off clash with the Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale. Picture: Edinburgh Monarchs Speedway.The scene is set ahead of tomorrow night's crucial play-off clash with the Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale. Picture: Edinburgh Monarchs Speedway.
The scene is set ahead of tomorrow night's crucial play-off clash with the Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale. Picture: Edinburgh Monarchs Speedway.
It was a sorry state of affairs at Scunthorpe last weekend for the Edinburgh Monarchs.

The Eddie Wright Raceway has historically been a happy hunting ground for the Capital men. However, any hopes the club had of getting their play-off Group A campaign off to a winning start were quickly distinguished inside the first four heats.

Monarchs were under no illusion over the enormity of the task that awaited them with their formidable hosts, spearheaded by the exemplary Ryan Douglas, boasting an astute 1-7, particularly on home shale.

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I don't think any in the blue and gold camp quite anticipated such a one-sided affair. It was a much tighter encounter in Lincolnshire when the two sides faced each other in Championship action in July, the Scorpions emerging with a 51-39 triumph on that occasion.

But Rob Godfrey's side have shown what they're made of this season and have already tasted success at Armadale when they ran out 54-36 winners in May. They will more than fancy their chances of a repeat when they arrive in West Lothian tomorrow night.

Scunthorpe have more pressing matters, however, with the second leg of their duel against reigning champions the Poole Pirates tonight. Should the Scorpions prevail, they would venture north of the border knowing a second win over the Monarchs in just six days would be enough to secure a place in next month's Grand Final, irrespective of what happens between the Monarchs and Poole in the group's remaining two fixtures next week. That is all the incentive they need. It would be something of an upset were the Scorpions to make the final with Poole heavily tipped to successfully defend their crown. Try telling anyone that in the Scunthorpe camp, though.

As for the Monarchs, their path to a shot at glory couldn't be more straightforward. Three meetings in six days with three victories required. Given the nature of the season so far, that would seem a tall order. However, could there be a sting in the tail yet? All the focus must be on the Scorpions. The Poole meetings on Wednesday and next Friday respectively will take care of themselves. Monarchs have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

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