With two home league fixtures to run, beginning with Sheffield Tigers at Armadale tonight, Monarchs’ target must be to gain all three points in a late bid to haul themselves up from the lower reaches of the division into a mid-table finish.
The rained off Newcastle fixture is still to be rearranged.
Monarchs’ 60-30 mauling by Berwick finally sealed their fate and the scale of the defeat surprised a lot of people as the team assembled this season had no answer to Berwick’s superior firepower.
Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said it was simply a combination of what had happened in the away matches all year. “Nothing changed and it was a hugely disappointing result, and that has been our problem all season long with regards to our away performances, we simply haven’t been good enough.”
Monarchs moved on to Newcastle on Sunday and predictably went down 51-39. It was only an outstanding display by Eastbourne’s Richard Lawson, guesting for the absent Sam Masters, that saved Monarchs from a real pasting.
Lawson bagged 16 points and Harkess said: “Richard did very well indeed and was quite superb. It was just a pity the rest of the team could not capitalise on his display, and one point gained away from home all season, and that was at Leicester of all places, tells it’s own story.”
Asked if some of the team are now riding for their places next season, Harkess replied: “Ask me that in December.”
No. 1 Ricky Wells was once again struggling and Harkess added: “His dip in form away from home is getting to him and no one is more aware of this than himself.” The one beacon of light this season has been the return to the team of the highly-rated and proven Australian star Sam Masters, ironically he was brought back to get Monarchs into the play-offs.
Said Harkess: “Sam has been extremely consistent since he rejoined us and I would like to think he will be a long-term investment for the club. And that is a good starting point to begin our team planning for next season.”
Masters and teammate Cameron Heeps will be Monarchs’ representatives in the Championship Pairs event at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena on Friday, September 20.