Edinburgh Monarchs should make Richie Worrall first name on teamsheet for 2024
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The Monarchs are still vying for that sixth and final play-off spot this year and will fancy their chances despite another disappointing home defeat last night to the Oxford Cheetahs.
The play-off picture will look a lot clearer upon the conclusion of next Friday's double header against Poole and Birmingham at Armadale, the latter likely to have a huge say in who continues their season beyond next month's cut-off date.
While we would all love for the Monarchs to be in with a shout of winning their first trophy in eight years, it's difficult to see past Oxford or reigning champions the Poole Pirates. And despite our rivals from the west flapping their gums about bringing the league title to Ashfield, they aren't of the same ilk as the aforementioned sides.
So just what could the 2024 Monarchs look like? That decision ultimately lies with co-promoters Alex Harkess and John Campbell. But if the dynamic duo needed any coaxing, the first rider I'd be sounding out would be none other than Richie Worrall. Richie is of course no stranger to these parts having donned the blue and gold during the 2021 campaign. He has also regularly guested for the Monarchs both home and on the road. It's no secret the 31-year-old from St Helens is a huge admirer of the West Lothian circuit and boy does he ride it well. He put in another impressive showing last night in Craig Cook's absence, scoring 12 which included a hard-fought win over Monarchs legend Sam Masters in heat one.
Masters, a club asset, elected to switch to Oxford last winter due to family commitments and, at this stage, it is unclear whether a return to the blue and gold next year would be of interest to the Australian.
On his day Worrall is one of the best riders in British speedway and a stick on to chip in with double figures around Armadale. He appears to have a good bond with Monarchs club officials and supporters alike and is one of the few riders who isn't put off making the long trip north of the border. Whether Richie himself would be keen to be a Monarch in 2024, only the man himself can answer that one.
Speedway is a numbers game when promoters and managers are trying to put a team together so a lot will depend on the other individuals Alex and John have on their radar.