Edinburgh Monarchs have one hand on League Cup

Justin Sedgmen, second right, leads team-mate Craig Cook, Todd Kurtz and Ulrich Ostergaard. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Justin Sedgmen, second right, leads team-mate Craig Cook, Todd Kurtz and Ulrich Ostergaard. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs have one hand on speedway’s League Cup trophy after a stunning 46-44 win over Peterborough Panthers in yesterday’s first leg of the final at the East of England Showground.

And Monarchs boss John Campbell today insisted there is no way back for the Panthers in the deciding tie at Armadale on Friday, saying: “They’ve got absolutely no chance, pure and simple. They have not got enough good riders to get round Armadale. And I’m confident as I can be that we will have a trophy in the cabinet by the end of Friday evening.”

Monarchs’ success over Peterborough was their 15th match unbeaten to rank alongside their unbroken spell of 24 meetings without defeat which they achieved earlier in the season, when ironically it was Peterborough who eventually brought them down.

Monarchs made sure it wouldn’t happen again and now stand on the brink of a possible trophy treble. Monarchs’ unquenchable thirst to win every match is now firmly ingrained in their minds and has been the cornerstone of their 2014 campaign so far.

Campbell knew his troops would not settle for just keeping the scores close and said: “The match pretty much went as I had expected it to, we went down for victory and did exactly that. All our riders performed as I thought they would, it was all very satisfactory.”

Monarchs got off to a perfect start when No. 1 Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen stormed to a 5-1 win in the first heat over guest Richard Lawson and Adam Roynon. And when the Monarchs duo repeated the trick in heats five and 11 as well, the writing was pretty much on the wall for their dejected hosts.

And while the Panthers managed to level the scores 30-30 in heat ten, it was a fightback they could not prolong, and simply did not have enough gas in their tank to turn the match in their favour.

It was Monarchs ace Steve Worrall who clinched the tie for the Capital side when he thundered underneath Roynon on the third lap to win heat 14. That shared 3-3 maintained the six-point lead Monarchs had built up in the previous race when Sam Masters and Cook extracted a 5-1 over Ulrich Ostergaard and Lawson.

And it mattered not a jot when Peterborough pair Ostergaard and Todd Kurtz headed home Cook and Sedgmen in the last race. Monarchs were already home and hosed, the only irritation was that Sedgmen and Cook were denied paid maximums.

Worrall chose an opportune time to record his first win of the afternoon in the penultimate heat after picking up just three points from his previous outings. “I knew how important that heat 14 race was,” he said. “It was quite a tough battle I had against Roynon but thankfully I got the better of him, and that won the meeting for all the boys.”

Sedgmen was Monarchs’ top scorer with 12 points which included three victories, and Masters also chimed in with a ten-point haul, and he too picked up a trio of wins. And with Cook finishing on 9 points, Monarchs’ big hitters lived up to their billing. Campbell said: “

Peterborough were keener to finish on a high which is why they went all out in heat 15. Our boys did not want to get involved in it, and Craig pulled up completely I think.

“Ostergaard won the race and usually gets rave reviews round Peterborough, but he couldn’t do it earlier in the meeting and that did not go down too well with the home fans.”

The only downside was Monarchs’ reserves Derek Sneddon and Aaron Fox losing the tail-end battle to the Panthers with just two points between them.

Fox has been woeful away from home, but Campbell defended the Californian.

“Peterborough is not an Aaron Fox type of track and Derek still had a sore wrist and was not 100 per cent fit,” he said.

“And when we meet Somerset or Ipswich in the Grand Final for the league crown, they are decided on aggregate and Aaron will do well at home and that’s what counts.”

Sedgmen was bubbling with his display and commented afterwards: “Really good meeting for me and the whole team and I think we definitely have one hand on the cup. Sweet.”

Monarchs’ KO Cup semi-final against Newcastle Diamonds which was washed out on Friday, will be re-staged this Friday, forming a double-header with Peterborough.

Peterborough: Kurtz 11, Ostergaard 10, Roynon 8, Barrett 6, Lawson 5, Dilger 4.

Monarchs: Sedgmen 12, Masters 11, Cook 9, Worrall 6, Fricke 6, Sneddon 1, Fox 1.