Sam Masters makes his point as he scores maximum for Edinburgh Monarchs at Leicester Lions
It was a changed Edinburgh Monarchs team who tackled Leicester Lions in the Championship speedway League at the Paul Chapman and Sons Arena last night, but the match ended in familiar fashion with yet another defeat for Monarchs who are still searching for their first win on the road in 2019.
Leicester, the league leaders, won 47-42, but Monarchs didn’t half give them a scare by leading early on.
It was always going to be a tough gig for the revamped Monarchs who this week brought back former captain Sam Masters and new reserve Matt Marson to try and revive their slim play-off hopes.
But Monarchs have a strong top four now and may still pick up something away from home in due course. Leicester used Richard Lawson as guest for broken-ankle victim Richie Worrall and utilised rider replacement for Josh Bates.
Masters made a triumphant return by winning the opening heat from the gate, defeating Ellis Perks and Scott Nicholls for a share of the spoils. But partner Ricky Wells, who has joined Premiership side Poole Pirates in a doubling-up move, trailed in last. However, William Lawson and Josh Pickering shocked the Lions in the third race by storming to a 5-1 to shoot Monarchs into an 11-7 lead.
And Masters and Wells,redeeming himself after that first heat, combined for Monarchs’ second 5-1 of the match in the fifth race and they now led 18-12. Leicester were clearly rattled and used Lawson as a tactical substitute in the very next race and, with Nicholls, they got the home side’s first 5-1 of the meeting which cut Monarchs lead to two points, 19-17, and Leicester levelled the scores 24-24 after seven heats.
Leicester then took the lead for the first time in heat ten with another 5-1 to lead 32-28.
But disaster came for Monarchs in heat 14 when Lawson fell off and partner Connor Coles retired handing a 5-0 verdict to Leicester who clinched the match with a race to go as they now led 46-37 and couldn’t be caught. But Masters completed a fairytale 15-point maximum by winning heat 15 and, with Pickering following him home, this 5-1 cut Leicester’s winning margin to five points thus earning Monarchs an overall and deserved match point.
On the evidence of his performance the decision by Monarchs to bring back Masters is clearly vindicated.
Leicester: R Lawson 14, Mountain 10, Nicholls 8, Perks 7, Douglas 7, Lawlor 1.
Edinburgh: Masters 15, Pickering 10, Heeps 5, W Lawson 4, Wells 4, Marson 2, Coles 2.