Edinburgh Monarchs bounce back to reclaim top spot

Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen secure Monarchs' victory by beating Lewis Blackbird and Emil Grondal in the heat 15 finale. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen secure Monarchs' victory by beating Lewis Blackbird and Emil Grondal in the heat 15 finale. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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EDINBURGH MONARCHS exacted sweet revenge for their unexpected home loss by Peterborough Panthers on Friday by defeating the English outfit at the East of England 
Showground last night.

Monarchs’ 49-41 triumph coupled with their success at Rye House Rockets 24 hours earlier returns the Capital outfit back to the top of the Premier League after scooping eight away league points in what can only be described as a stunning weekend for the reigning league champions, who were chastened following their second home defeat of the season by the Panthers.

Monarchs led their hosts 41-37 after heat 13, but it was young German Erik Riss who ensured they would get a draw at least when he defeated Michael Palm-Toft in the penultimate heat. But skipper Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen, who have been an immense pairing over the two meetings, once again proved their worth when they stormed from the tapes for a 5-1 over Lewis Blackbird and Emil Grondal which clinched the match for the cock-a-hoop Monarchs, who have made it clear they won’t give up their league crown without one heck of a fight.

“A superb weekend for the whole team,” said promoter John Campbell. “And we proved once again that we cannot be written off.”

On Saturday, Monarchs shrugged off the disappointment of that home loss against the Panthers the night before by pulling off a splendid 52-40 victory at Rye House Rockets to take all four match points. Campbell called the triumph a “victory for team spirit”. It was Monarchs top three of skipper Cook, Kevin Wolbert and Sedgmen, who turned in monumental individual scoring performances which left the Rockets stuck on the launch pad.

Cook, who set a new Armadale track record of 54.10 against the Panthers on Friday was unbeaten by the opposition, to record a paid-18 point maximum. Sedgmen racked up 15 points and Wolbert weighed in with 12 points.

The trio amassed 11 race wins between them over the fifteen heats, but everybody played their part. Monarchs sealed the match when Cook and young Liam Carr, who guested for Erik Riss, gained a 4-2 in heat 13 to lead 46-34, reaching a total the Rockets could not exceed.

Even Rockets boss John Sampford, who has witnessed some up and down displays from his squad this season, conceded they had no answer against the strength of their Scottish rivals.

Sampford said: “It was always going to be a hard match for us. Even without Sam Masters and Erik Riss, Monarchs were strong from the word go. They are not the defending league champions for nothing, and some days you just get beaten by a better team.”

Peterborough: Grondal 11, Blackbird 9, Lambert 7, Palm-Toft 5, Konopka 5, Bowen 4.

Monarchs: Cook 15, Sedgmen 15, Wolbert 11, Riss 6, Clegg 1, Branford 1.