Monarchs are washed out after a torrential downpour

Richie Worrall tries to stay dry. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Richie Worrall tries to stay dry. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs’ Championship League clash with Berwick Bandits at Armadale Stadium was abandoned tonight after just three races because of heavy rain.

The Bandits were leading at the time 10-8 after taking a 5-1 in the second race with a 5-1 from former Monarchs skipper Theo Pijper and Nikolaj Busk Jacobsen.

But the Monarchs had hit back in the third race with a 4-2 from Richie Worrall and Josh Pickering.

It was at this point that match referee Margaret Vardy was asked to come down to the pits to discuss the worsening track conditions with team captains Erik Riss ad Kevin Doolan.

And within minutes she called a halt to proceedings. Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said: “There was no decision to be made it was that simple. The rain that was falling would have taken an age to clear. It was absolutely the correct ruling.”

Monarchs now head to Berwick tonight for the return match and are confident of picking up point. This would be a bonus for the new-look Monarchs squad bearing in mind they lost their Championship Shield encounter 53-37 at Shielfield Park back in May.

But Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell isn’t that confident of success. He said: “Berwick are a very strong team at home and have seven riders all capable of winning races.

“But we have a stronger team now than we did when we visited in that Shield encounter. The secret to riding Berwick is to make the gate. Unless you hit the first bend in front you are struggling to make up lost ground against the Bandits who are usually faster from the gate. If we get a point that would be a bonus for us.”

Bandits team boss Scott Courtney describes the meeting with Monarchs as a “biggie” and a must-win match for the Bandits.

Said Courtney: “We are still in the mix for the play-offs and must remain focused. This is a crunch meeting for us. But it will be tough against Monarchs’ top riders like Erik Riss and Ricky Wells. They are both averaging over nine points this season and they will make life difficult.

“But we remain upbeat and we’ll see what happens. We certainly cannot afford slip-ups at this stage. We need to win, that is for certain.”

Berwick, who have four away meetings left, complete their home programme against Peterborough Panthers next Saturday.