Six defeats from seven meetings so far is not the start to the new speedway season Scunthorpe Scorpions were looking for.
And their nightmare beginning in 2015 continued at Armadale last night when they came up against an Edinburgh Monarchs side determined to put down a marker in their first outing of the defence of their Premier League championship crown.
And they did just that as they crushed the Scorpions 53-39 and will sniff a quickfire double when the visit the Eddie Wright Raceway on Bank Holiday Monday for the return clash.
It’s a circuit Monarchs have traditionally done quite well at, although the myriad of different racing lines doesn’t suit all the team.
The final scoreline underlined the wide chasm that existed between the two sides with Monarchs never under any real pressure. Despite the scores being tied 9-9 after three races, Monarchs upped a gear in the next race with a 5-1 from skipper Craig Cook and Max Clegg over former Monarch Theo Pijper and Nike Lunna.
And Monarchs repeated the trick in heat five when Kevin Wolbert and guest Kevin Doolan extracted maximum points over Scorpions No.1 Josh Auty and Alex Davies. This gave Monarchs a ten-point lead over their visitors, and this prompted Scunthorpe to hand their best performer on the night, Carl Wilkinson, a tactical outing in the eighth race.
Unfortunately Wilkinson failed to get the better of Wolbert and they had to settle for a shared 4-4 instead which made no impression on the points tide which was slowly enveloping them.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with the Capital side very much in control. Wolbert, who scorched to a 15 point maximum, and Doolan, pinched their second 5-1 together in heat nine which stretched Monarchs’ lead to 14 points and they virtually cruised over the winning line with little or no response from the Scorpions, who lacked any real scoring depth.
With Sam Masters once again in fantastic form, he too also chalked up a 15 point maximum.
Monarchs, will be pretty satisfied at getting their league campaign off to a flying start despite the weakness of the opposition.
The only blip from Monarchs’ perspective came in heat 11 when Cook surprisingly tumbled into the air fence coming out of the second turn and had to receive some medical attention. Cook revealed the cause of his fall, saying: “The spring which holds my chain together came off causing my chain to disintegrate. I then got run over by Josh (Auty) which didn’t help, but these things happen in speedway.
“I’m all right and will be fine for Scunthorpe on Monday.”
Doolan picked up eight points from his guest booking, it should have been more but for a retiral in his last ride.
Reserve Rob Branford, however, continues to be a bit wayward and his return of three points was a bit disappointing. His team-mate, Max Clegg, however, did better with six points from his seven outings.
The Scorpions top scorer was Wilkinson with 12 points from five rides, but apart from Pijper and Auty, the Scorpions looked a shade rudderless and will need to improve greatly if they want to feature in the end of season play-offs. Unlikely on this evidence.
Monarchs: Masters 15, Wolbert 15, Doolan 8, Clegg 6, Cook 6, Branford 3.
Scunthorpe: Wilkinson 12, Auty 9, Pijper 8, Lunna 6, Davies 3, Williamson 1.