Derby defeat leaves Monarchs’ play-off hopes hanging by thread

Monarchs' skipper Erik Riss struggles to keep Craig Cook at bay in the sixth race. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Monarchs' skipper Erik Riss struggles to keep Craig Cook at bay in the sixth race. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Glasgow Tigers kept alive their speedway play-off hopes by putting local rivals Edinburgh Monarchs to the sword at Ashfield Stadium last night.

The Tigers emphatically triumphed 56-34 and Monarchs’ own slender play-off hopes may be over after they failed to lift at least a point from the encounter.

Monarchs may now have to rely on results elsewhere later in the week to stand any chance of qualifying – that’s providing they defeat Berwick Bandits at Armadale on Friday.

Glasgow were looking to make a flying start to the match and they got it in the very first heat when No 1 Craig Cook and James Sarjeant roared to a 5-1 success over Monarchs duo Ricky Wells and Victor Palovaara.

With the second heat shared 3-3, the Tigers maintained their crucial four-point lead. The race was won by Glasgow guest reserve Jordan Stewart.

Glasgow then moved six points in front in the third race with a 4-2 from Paul Starke and Claus Vissing over Monarchs duo Josh Pickering who was second, and ex-Glasgow star Richie Worrall who was surprisingly last. It was certainly not the start Worrall was looking for against his old club.

The fourth race was also shared 3-3, the Tigers still in front 15-9.

And the Tigers increased their lead in the sixth race with a 4-2 from Cook and Sarjeant against Monarchs skipper Erik Riss, and at this stage the Tigers were very much in control of the match.

Riss actually made the gate but former Monarch Cook rounded the German on the third lap to win in style.

After Tigers moved ten points ahead, 29-19, with a further 4-2 in heat eight Monarchs brought Wells out as tactical substitute in heat nine to try and put the brakes on their rampant hosts.

However, Wells finished last and although Riss won the race for Monarchs they still trailed 32-22.

Cook and Sarjeant struck again for the Tigers in heat ten with another 4-2 and they now led 36-24 and were looking good.

For Monarchs star Worrall the meeting was turning into a nightmare after collecting just one point from his first three rides and too many of Monarchs’ big guns were posted missing.

Monarchs gave guest Broc Nicol, who was standing in for the injured Joel Andersson, a tactical substitute outing in the 11th race as a last throw of the dice but the race was shared 3-3 as was heat 12, with the Tigers leading 42-30 by this stage.

Another 4-2 for the Tigers in heat 13 courtesy of the unbeaten Cook and Harris stretched their advantage to 46-32.

A Tigers 5-1 in the penultimate race piled on the agony for Monarchs who looked also-rans on this occasion. And a further 5-1 for the Tigers in the last race simply underlined their superiority on the night.

Having travelled west knowing that they were fighting for the fourth and final play-off spot, Monarchs will be very frustrated by their display.

Monarchs co-promter John Campbell said: “You have got to get yourself up for a Scottish derby and we didn’t do that. Glasgow were well up for it and we did not have all seven of our side at their best. One of these things.”

Top scorer Pickering echoed Campbell’s sentiments and added: “The play-offs are not in our own hands now and we must wait and see what happens. It was a disappointing result for the whole team.”
Tigers: Cook 15, Harris 12, Stewart 9, Starke 8, Sarjeant 7, Vissing 4, Thomas 1.

Monarchs: Pickering 10, Nicol 7, Riss 7, Wells 6, Lawson 1, Palovaara 1, Worrall 1.