Monarchs turn focus to a border raid on Berwick

Justin Sedgmen is savouring a run of results which have seen him become a key figure. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Justin Sedgmen is savouring a run of results which have seen him become a key figure. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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The weather was the winner at Armadale last night as Edinburgh Monarchs’ Premier League speedway Knockout Cup quarter-final first leg tie against Redcar Bears was abandoned after just five races due to poor visibility.

Heavy rain started falling after heat four and there was a break of 15 minutes to allow the showers to pass over.

And although one more race was completed the referee called a halt to proceedings with the riders complaining they couldn’t see and were getting filled in with wet shale.

Monarchs led 16-14 at the time. No restaging date has been announced.

Monarchs now turn their attention to tonight’s vital league trip to Berwick Bandits where the home side are hoping to avoid a hat-trick of home defeats after losing to Peterborough Panthers and Ipswich Witches over the last fortnight, and their misery was compounded when they suffered a 20-point away defeat at Sheffield Tigers.

This led to a team showdown, with Bandits skipper Kevin Doolan insisting no alarm bells were ringing in the camp. Doolan said: “Basically we asked if any of the lads wanted to leave, no-one did, so we now know we have to knuckle down and try and turn things around.”

And Berwick did exactly that with a fine 48-42 KO Cup victory at Rye House Rockets last weekend which bucked up their sagging morale. They also filled the gap this week left by long-term injury victim Ben Barker by swooping to sign Swedish rider Mathias Thornblom. Berwick team manager John Anderson said: “We had been investigating the possibility of signing a replacement for Ben who was injured in the British Final in June, however it has been difficult to locate a rider who was able to agree to our fixture requirements and also someone who wasn’t asking for silly money.

“So we have agreed terms with Mathias who will become a club asset and hopefully he will score some good points in the weeks ahead.

“Things don’t get any easier for us with the visit of Edinburgh this evening. The Monarchs go really well round Shielfield and it is going to be another difficult match but we think we can take something out of it.”

Monarchs go into the contest leading the Premier League and buoyed by their sterling 45-45 draw at Ipswich on Thursday despite being without No. 1 Sam Masters and reserve rider Rob Branford.

Richie Worrall steps in for Masters and Liam Carr deputises for Brandford. Monarchs’ Aussie grafter Justin Sedgmen is confident of mugging the Bandits insisting the Capital side’s display against the Witches has put the team on a confidence high.

Sedgmen who scored a paid nine at Ipswich, said: “Ipswich is always a difficult place to go to especially when we were missing two of our regular team. We drew down there last year when we were at full strength, to repeat that effort without Rob and Sam was a terrific result for us.”

Monarchs actually had the chance to win the match had they secured a 4-2 in the heat 15 finale, but Sedgmen trailed in last behind skipper Craig Cook who scored a 15 point maximum and also broke the Ipswich track record.

“I was pleased to score two race wins,” added Sedgmen. “I just wish I had been able to sneak a point in that final heat to give us the win. But if anybody had offered us a draw before the start of the match we definitely would have taken it. We left with two match points and that was pretty good as well.”