Monarchs aim to scare off leaders Sheffield

lex Harkess knows Redcar must win at least two of their remaining matches
lex Harkess knows Redcar must win at least two of their remaining matches
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Edinburgh Monarchs stand on the cusp of qualifying for the end of season speedway play-offs, but they’re not there yet.

In the first of three meetings in as many days Monarchs ravel to league leaders Sheffield Tigers tonight. Their previous visit there in August resulted in a defeat by 20 points but team manager Alex Harkess insists they are not travelling to Yorkshire simply to make up the numbers.

“I don’t see it like that at all. I would like to see us score over 40 points to make Sheffield think long and hard about who they will choose as their semi-final opponents.

“Of course we are going there with the hope of picking up a point, but we are keen to put a marker down to make Sheffield think twice about picking us.”

Monarchs are within touching distance of claiming that fourth and final qualifying spot after fighting back from a deficit of eight points to beat Scunthorpe Scorpions 49-41 on Sunday, their first away win since April.

Two men were lauded for their performances in securing the victory, one was guest Richie Worrall who bagged 13 points, and the other was Monarchs reserve Mitchell Davey who won six points from the tail-end.

Said Harkess: “You need your reserves to be doing something a little bit more than beating their opposite numbers. At Berwick on Saturday our two reserves were only beating Berwick’s No.7, and no disrespect to him but he was a National League reserve.

“But Mitchell came to the party at Scunthorpe and looked like scoring in every race. What a difference that makes.”

Monarchs lead Redcar, their only challengers for fourth spot, by five points but they, like Monarchs, face three meetings in three days. Harkess said: “We are almost there and we’ll take it as it comes, we hope to add a few more points by the time this weekend is over.

“Redcar have to win at least two of their remaining matches, they might win all three, we must wait and see.”

Skipper Sam Masters returns to the saddle after sitting out the Berwick and Scunthorpe fixtures after he aggravated his shoulder against Ipswich Witches at Armadale last 
Friday.

Harkess added: “Sam has confirmed he will return tonight. If he had just done one match last week he probably would have been fine, but a double header proved a bit too far from him, but he is raring to go again.”

Masters said: “Last week I did two double headers. One was for my Premiership side Wolverhampton and the other was for Monarchs on Friday. I was in a lot of pain from my shoulder injury in the morning, but all right for the rest of the day. But when I came down in heat six against Ipswich I felt that pain again. I was finding it hard to turn as I wanted so I thought it best to sit out the weekend matches.”

Monarchs face Glasgow Tigers in the final derby of the season at Armadale on Friday and Workington Comets at Derwent Park on Saturday.

Redcar oppose Glasgow at Ashfield on Saturday before facing Newcastle on Sunday. They wrap up their campaign at Sheffield on Monday, which is the deadline for qualification for the play-offs.