Monarchs get over rare defeat with heat-15 heroics

Craig Cook broke the Plymouth track record. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Craig Cook broke the Plymouth track record. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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EDINBURGH MONARCHS lost for the only the third time in the Premier League this season as they went down 48-42 against Plymouth Devils at the St Boniface Arena on Saturday.

But the Capital racers, who were ten points down after 14 races, battled brilliantly to salvage a match point in the heat-15 top scorers’ finale when skipper Craig Cook and guest team-mate Brady Kurtz stormed to a 5-1 advantage against Devils duo Ryan Fisher and Kyle Newman.

The result kept Monarchs sitting pretty at the top of the table.

Cook was Monarchs’ top scorer with 14 points. The Englishman was beaten just once by Newman in heat four and had the satisfaction of breaking the Plymouth track record two races later when he took the chequered flag ahead of former Edinburgh favourite Fisher in 48.22 seconds.

Monarchs perhaps lost the opportunity of snatching an away win because of their weakness at reserve and a lack of back-up.

Their tail-end partnership of Rob Branford and Max Clegg floundered against Plymouth’s in-form reserve Sam Simota who racked up an impressive 13-point haul which included four race victories.

It was the second week in a row Simota was crowned top scorer to earn his side victory.

In contrast Branford, who is just back from injury and Clegg, could only conjure up five points between them and had no answer to Simota’s dominance, and crucially he received some solid support, notably from Fisher who weighed in with ten points against his former club.

Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell was unhappy at the outcome, saying: “It was a dreadfully disappointing meeting. Craig was brilliant and Brady probably exceeded him in his brilliance. Whereas Craig did it from the gate, Brady had to battle in a couple of his races to get to the front.

“Justin (Sedgmen) did okay and Max had one good ride and Rob was steadier than he was at Armdale on Friday against Rye House.

“I’m sure the team all felt we were capable of winning the match, but the track was super slick and if you weren’t clever enough to nip in on the second bend, then basically you were a goner.

“Gate four was absolutely hopeless, you had no chance of winning off there.

Branford said: “I was personally disappointed with my performance and a few other riders’ didn’t get what they wanted either. But at the end of the day to leave with a point was better than nothing and we are still leading the Premier League.”

Plymouth: Simota 13, Fisher 10, Newman 7, Holder 6, T. Kurtz 6, Risager 5, Perks 1.

Monarchs: Cook 14. B. Kurtz 9, Sedgmen 7, Wolbert 5, Clegg 3, Riss 2, Branford 2.