John Campbell is plotting revenge on Somerset Rebels at Armadale tonight as his shell-shocked Edinburgh Monarchs attempt to overhaul a massive 26 point deficit in the second leg of their Knockout Cup semi final replay.
Campbell blamed the super slick state of Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena circuit for Wednesday’s first leg 58-32 drubbing and vowed: “ We will have our track the way we like it, we face a difficult task, but it is not over yet.”
The Monarchs boss has glossed over what was essentially an unacceptable performance by his team, with one or two exceptions, but maintains the Somerset circuit was unlike anything Monarchs had experienced this season.
He said: “The Somerset promotion prepared a track designed to ensure their riders were set-up to get out of the starts which they did, but the races were all over by the first corner and as a result it was one of the dullest meetings of the season.
“We had not experienced a track like it and were caught out and they were too strong for us.”
Asked why Monarchs cannot adapt to slick conditions and are often given object lessons in gating from their rivals, Campbell replied: “It was a unique situation we experienced at Somerset and it was something we had not faced at all this season, it was so different and you had to get out of the start or you had no chance. We were also up against the top heat leader trio in the country so it was very difficult.”
But Campbell’s emphasis on bemoaning the Somerset track was quashed by his No.1 star Craig Cook, who top scored with 12 points. An angry Cook said: “The track is the same for everybody, it doesn’t matter what it’s like. It was a bit different, there was more water on it and there was some dirt on the outside, but we cannot use that as an excuse, you just have to get on with it and accept we were not good enough.”
It’s becoming clear that Cook is bordering on disillusionment with some of the Monarchs squad and has been far from happy at recent performances away from home.
“It’s hard to say anything good about what happened at Somerset, to get absolutely hammered the way we did was unacceptable really. I still believe in our team, but to go out and produce a display like we did on Wednesday was depressing. I have put my heart and soul into everything this season and want to do well, but it looks like it’s all falling apart for us.”
Cook continued: “We were very lucky in the first running of the semi final at Somerset because they made a lot of mistakes and we got away with just an eight point defeat.
“We then should have thrashed them at Armadale, but we didn’t hence the replay and it should have been done and dusted for us. There are too many mistakes in the Edinburgh team at the moment and they must be ironed out because what’s happening right now is not good enough.
“It’s looking like mission impossible tonight. If Somerset maintain their current form they will clean up all the major trophies this season.”
Meanwhile, Monarchs begin their league play-off campaign tomorrow night against Workington Comets at Derwent Park. Ipswich Witches are their other Group B rivals and Campbell thinks the capital side are well capable of winning their section and qualifying for the final. He said: “ I’m quite happy with the opponents we got because I believe we will manage quite comfortable home wins against them. Whether anyone will pick up an away point I don’t know. The outcome might depend on Ipswich picking up a point at Workington and vice-versa. I don’t think either of them will take anything from us at Armadale.”