Edinburgh Monarchs suffer crushing blow as Glasgow Tigers underline title credentials

Another episode done and dusted in what is British speedway's biggest rivalry. The Edinburgh Monarchs welcomed their old friends – or foes – the Glasgow Tigers to Armadale for the first meeting between the clubs of the 2022 season.

By Neil McGlade
Friday, 29th April 2022, 9:38 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 9:57 pm

And it was the large contingent from the west, gathered on the third bend, who danced off into the night after a comprehensive – and well-deserved 51-39 victory.

Billed as the Championship favourites before a wheel was turned, Cami Brown's side has huge strength in depth and, on this evidence, will take some stopping if they're not to go on and secure their first league crown since 2011.

Tigers No 1 Craig Cook lowered his opposite number Sam Masters' colours for the first time on West Lothian shale this season in the very first heat, and was solid over the course of the meeting, showing the guile that earned him so many plaudits during his five-year spell with the Monarchs.

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Italian Paco Castagna gets the inside line on Hume and Ostergaard to bounce on his way to back-to-back race wins for Monarchs on a disappointing night. Picture: Jack Cupido

In truth, the writing was on the wall for the hosts at the midway point, ten points down and riders struggling to get out of the gate.

Not even top duo and Sam Masters and Josh Pickering could land a blow, that charge left to Italian Paco Castagna who bounced back from a disappointing opening two heats to register back-to-back race wins.

But the Tigers were superior in every department and could – and perhaps should have – won by a greater margin.

So where does this leave the Monarchs so early in the Championship campaign? Well, they have little time to regroup as all roads lead to Ashfield tomorrow in the return fixture. A tough ask to reverse the fortunes, but a prime opportunity to right some wrongs. The club's play-off aspirations won't rest on this defeat so there is still cause for optimism.

Italian Paco Castagna bounced back from a disappointing opening two heats to register back-to-back race wins for Monarchs on a disappointing night. Picture: Jack Cupido

It's raw, every derby defeat is. But the Monarchs still possess enough talent in their ranks that should see them win more matches than they lose.

Monarch of the night: Paco Castagna, as we've come to expect in the early part of the season, started slow before reeling off two race wins and thoroughly deserving his place in the nominated heat 15.

Monarchs: Masters 11, Castagna 7, Sarjeant 7, Pickering 6, Thomson 4, Fredriksen 2, Hook 2.

Tigers: Cook 11, Brennan 9, Ostergaard 9, Bailey 8, Hume 7, Basso 5, Nicol 2.