Edinburgh Monarchs snatched a point at Workington Comets at Derwent Park on Saturday despite losing the match 48-42 as the race for the play-off intensifies.
But not for the first time this season, they suffered a last-heat heartache when Australian star Josh Pickering fell off while challenging for the lead and was excluded from the rerun.
His partner and Monarchs’ No.1 Ricky Wells was unable to prevent Comets duo Rasmus Jensen and Rene Bach storming away for a 5-1, which clinched the match for Comets and keeps alive their own play-off aspirations.
Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell said: “As soon as Josh fell off we were up against it in heat 15, but the point we got takes us another step closer to our play-off goal.”
Asked if he thought Monarchs had blown a golden chance of actually winning the match, Campbell replied: “Workington may have been rubbish at Armadale on Friday, but they are very competitive round their own track.
“At Workington a lot of races are won from the gate and we were not in the right places a lot of the time.”
Swede Joel Andersson picked up his first paid maximum for Monarchs in the first match on Friday, but struggled to get going this time, scoring just a point from his four rides. Campbell lamented: “Joel is used to riding grippy tracks and Workington’s track surface was anything but grippy.”
Monarchs found themselves six points down after 11 heats, but fought back to cut their arrears to just two points with one race to go after skipper Erik Riss and Wells secured a 5-1 in heat 13 to level the scores 39-39.
But that last-race agony for Pickering, who clattered into the third bend fence but escaped unhurt, left Monarchs cursing their luck and thinking a chance of an away victory had gone begging once again.
Monarchs are now in second place in the Championship table and face Lakeside Hammers at Armadale on Friday.
Workington: Jensen 12, Bach 11, Campton 9, Barker 6, Proctor 6, Bickley 3. Klindt 1.
Monarchs: Wells 12, Worrall 10, Pickering 8, Riss 8, Palovaara 2, Lawson 1, Andersson 1.