Edinburgh Monarchs star Luke Ruddick believes beating Glasgow and hauling back Bandits ‘is possible’
While some might think Edinburgh Monarchs’ Championship Shield campaign is stuck in reverse, new reserve ace Luke Ruddick insisted: “I think we have got a really big chance of going all the way.”
Monarchs host Glasgow Tigers for the first time this season tonight at Armadale with the return fixture at Ashfield on Sunday, and the outcome of these matches will determine if they can catch runaway group leaders Berwick Bandits to claim a spot in the semi-finals.
A 50-40 defeat at Newcastle Diamonds on Sunday was a lost opportunity for Monarchs who failed to pick up a match point despite getting within six points of their hosts with one race go. But they lost a 5-1 which was symptomatic of their failings in the heat 15 top scorers’ race throughout much of last season.
Ruddick says the team were far from dismayed at the result. “It was still a positive night for us. Everyone scored points and I think we are going in the right direction. I think we have got a good chance, we are all improving, I think some of the lads are still a bit rusty bearing in mind our season only began three weeks ago.
“We probably deserved a point, it was a shame from our perspective. It was ironic that Newcastle’s three ex-Monarchs Steve Worrall, Matthew Wethers, and Max Clegg did so well against us.”
Ruddick is happy how he has started his first campaign in Monarchs colours. “I have made a pretty good start, I’m scoring points so I think things are going well for me at the moment, though these are very early days.”
Ruddick, who hails from Melrose, wasn’t fazed about making the jump into the Championship division from the National League and declared: “It’s been pretty much as I thought it would be. I knew what to expect and prepared really well for the reserve role.”
Ruddick’s reserve partner is William Lawson giving Monarchs their first all Scottish tail-end in many years. And Ruddick added: “William is struggling a bit at the moment, but he is an experienced rider and he will get there.”
The prospect of tackling Glasgow is not a daunting one for Ruddick. “I think we have got a decent chance of beating them at Armadale. To be honest I don’t look at how other teams are doing, I tend just to concentrate on Edinburgh.
“But we are expecting a tough match and we really must win to set us up for our fixtures against Berwick early next month. I’m not focused on what Berwick are doing I’m only focused on ourselves.”
Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess insisted, however, that they need a win on the road to stand any chance of reaching the last four. Said Harkess: “You have to win an away match. The fact that Berwick have already won an away match means someone else has to do the same.
“The fixtures against Glasgow are always tough meetings, no question about that. They are not easy at any time and tonight will be no exception.”
Harkess believes that, once Monarchs have bedded in, the team will start to improve. He said: “We have only had three matches to date.
“That’s one of the reasons why the Championship Shield competition is there. It gives teams the chance to iron out any problems. The Newcastle side who came to Armadale last Friday probably contained more riders with experience of Armadale than our own.
“As everyone knows Justin (Sedgmen) is struggling a bit right now, but he knows what he needs to do and I’m convinced he will be fine. Everybody is still finding their feet.”