Edinburgh Monarchs take down Glasgow Tigers to enhance play-off hopes

Victor Palovaara, Nathan Greaves and Joel Andersson leave James Sarjeant trailing in their wake. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Victor Palovaara, Nathan Greaves and Joel Andersson leave James Sarjeant trailing in their wake. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs took another step towards the end-of-season speedway play-offs with a comprehensive and deserved victory over local rivals Glasgow Tigers in Friday night’s Championship League derby encounter at Armadale.

Monarchs triumphed 56-33, which leapfrogs them above Glasgow into fourth position in the table on 28 points. They now have their sights set on third-placed Berwick Bandits.

Tigers were without former Monarch Craig Cook and booked in Ben Barker as a guest. He managed to split Monarchs opening pairing of Ricky Wells and Victor Palovaara in the first heat, restricting Monarchs to a 4-2 when a 5-1 looked on.

And Monarchs repeated the trick in the second heat when Joel Andersson barged past Tigers’ James Sarjeant to take the chequered flag with ease. His partner William Lawson was third, giving Monarchs an early and welcome 8-4 lead.

Monarchs increased their lead in the third race when Richie Worrall – dumped by Tigers a few weeks ago – gated superbly to win in fantastic style and with team-mate Josh Pickering fighting his way from fourth place to follow Worrall home, this 5-1 pushed Monarchs 13-5 in front.

Pickering said: “I didn’t make the quickest of starts and got stranded a bit, which was a bit unlucky, but I fought my way through to grab second place behind Richie for a great 5-1 win.”

Another 5-1 followed in the next race after Tigers ace Claus Vissing was disqualified for crossing the centre green on his bike. He was replaced by Sarjeant, but he proved no match for Monarchs skipper Erik Riss and Andersson as Monarchs now led 18-6, the Tigers at this point looking a bit flat-footed.

Worrall and Pickering stormed to a 4-2 in the fifth against Barker and Nathan Greaves to lead 22-8 and the Tigers were running on empty and had no answer to Monarchs’ superiority.

The Monarchs were sharper out of the gate and Wells and Palovaara scooped Monarchs’ third 5-1 of the match in heat six to leave Tigers shell-shocked and trailing their hosts 27-9.

Riss won his second race in heat seven for Monarchs, which was shared 3-3. The Tigers’ pair Chris Harris and Paul Starke were quicker from the tapes, but Riss easily rounded them both to take the chequered flag.

Sarjeant broke the tapes in the eighth race and had to start from 15 metres back, which made it easy for Monarchs’ duo Andersson and Palovaara to romp to another 5-1 triumph and stretch the team’s overall advantage to 35-13.

Worrall and Pickering added another 5-1 for Monarchs in the ninth race for a commanding 40-14 lead, but the Tigers won their first heat of the night in heat ten with a 4-2 from Paul Starke and Chris Harris and this reduced their arrears by two points.

Erik Riss triumphed for Monarchs in the 11th race, which only had two finishers. Barker took second and this pushed Monarchs in front 45-20.

The Tigers then won their second heat advantage of the meeting with a 4-2 in heat 12 against Monarchs duo Pickering and Andersson.

Riss took a tumble in the next race for Monarchs and was excluded from the rerun, which Tigers won with their third 4-2 of the match.

However, Monarchs hit back in the penultimate race with a 4-2 of their own courtesy of Worrall and Lawson to extend Monarchs lead to 53-30.

Unfortunately Monarchs star Worrall shed a chain in the heat 15 top-scorers race and was disqualified, leaving Wells to face Tigers duo Starke and Barker alone, but he made no mistake to win the race for a 3-3 and an overall comfortable victory for Monarchs.

Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said: “I’m very happy with the result. We dominated the first half of the meeting. We did the job we set out to do, so I’m very happy indeed.”

Monarchs: Wells 13, Worrall 12, Riss 9, Andersson 9, Palovaara 6, Pickering 5, Lawson 2.

Glasgow: Barker 14, Starke 9, Sarjeant 4, Harris 3, Vissing 2, Greaves 1, Thomas 0.