Normal service was resumed at Armadale tonight as Edinburgh Monarchs shrugged off their defeat by Sheffield Tigers last week, to strike back with victory against Peterborough Panthers, who have discounted themselves from the end of season play-offs.
On a difficult track made greasy by heavy showers throughout the day, Monarchs triumphed convincingly in their Championship clash to keep themselves in the frame for a top-four spot.
Chris Harris, who guested to devastating effect for Sheffield scoring 12 points, picked up where he left off for his own club Peterborough, easily winning the opening heat against Monarchs’ guest Ludvig Lindgren, and Theo Pijper.
The racing surface was causing all sorts of problems as Monarchs reserve Mitchell Davey and then Panthers ace Tom Bacon slithered off in the second race but it resulted in a 4-2 for Monarchs as Josh Pickering took the chequered flag and Davey remounted for third place.
The Panthers seemed to adapt to the slippy surface better than the home men and Jack Holder was smartly away from the gate to win heat four beating Erik Riss for a 3-3 which kept Monarchs in front 13-11.
Harris surprisingly came a cropper in the fifth race and was disqualified from the rerun and Monarchs capitalised on the misfortune by taking a 5-1 courtesy of race winner Ricky Wells and Max Clegg who followed his team-mate home for second place. Monarchs now led 18-12 and needed to kick on, something they failed to do last week.
Peterborough were clearly unhappy with track conditions but Alan Bridgett, Monarchs’ track curator, said: “It was difficult with rain and drizzle in between the sunshine and we really we didn’t get a decent run at it in preparation terms but we tried to make it better as the night went on. It was just one of those days but our boys were just getting on with it. I think Peterborough, some of them anyway, were playing a tactics game.”
The referee deemed the track was rideable but the Panthers looked like they had given up when meekly surrendering a 5-1 against Lindgren and Pijper in the sixth race to slip 23-13 behind.
But they gained a 4-2 in the following heat thanks to Paul Starke and Justin Sedgmen to cut their arrears to eight points. But Monarchs hit back with their third 5-1 of the meeting, Pijper and Pickering easily defeating Sedgmen and Simon Lambert to take a 30-18 lead.
Monarchs, despite the Panthers’ reluctance to mix it, drew further ahead with a 4-2 in the ninth race, Wells winning his third race of the night, and Clegg claiming third spot.
Monarchs stretched their advantage to 14 points, 34-20. But the Panthers were making it easy for the home side.
Lindgren won his second race for Monarchs in heat ten and with Pijper holding out Sedgmen for third spot, this 4-2 pulled Monarchs further in front, 38-22.
Peterborough gave Harris a tactical outing in the 11th racer in a bid to cut their arrears but he was outgunned by Riss and Pickering who slammed home Monarchs fourth 5-1 of the meeting for what was now a commanding lead of 43-23.
Monarchs were now cruising towards the winning post by winning the 12th race as Wells collected his fourth win, and Pickering claiming third place. And this 4-2 placed Monarchs in front by 22 points, 47-25.
This was Pickering’s best home meeting for a while collecting ten points from his five starts. Heat 13 was shared, Harris winning it for the Panthers, but Monarchs were home and dry by the proverbial country mile.
Pickering said: “My scoring was a lot more solid, all the boys did well, it just the result we needed.”
But Harris ruined Wells’ hopes of a maximum by triumphing in the heat 15 top scorers’ race. But Wells won’t be too disappointed. Monarchs had atoned for the Sheffield home loss and that’s all that mattered. Said Wells: “It was great just to get the meeting on, the track stuff did a great job and we got the result we badly needed.”
Monarchs: Wels 14, Pickering 10, Riss 10, Lindgren 9, Pijper 7, Clegg 6, Davey 2.
Peterborough: Harris 10, Starke 8, Sedgmen 5, Holder 5, Lambert 4, Bacon 0.