Monarchs beat Witches with little toil and trouble

Skipper Erik Riss leads the way for Monarchs against Ipswich. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Skipper Erik Riss leads the way for Monarchs against Ipswich. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Friday the 13th turned into a bit of a horror show for Ipswich Witches in their Championship League clash with Edinburgh Monarchs at Armadale Stadium last night.

Monarchs, who had won at Redcar Bears 24 hours earlier, cast Ipswich aside 51-39 without too much toil and trouble.

The home team made a sticky star in the opening heat, however, when Ipswich guest star and former Monarchs skipper Matthew Wethers led the race for three laps before Ricky Wells passed him and, with Victor Palovaara in third place, Monarchs got off eventually to a 4-2 start. Ipswich No.1 Rory Schlein, who is perhaps enjoying his best-ever season since coming to the UK, was surprisingly last.

And Monarchs reserve duo Joel Andersson and Max Ruml made a great start from the tapes in the second race for a 5-1 which put Monarchs six in front after just two races.

Ipswich hit back with a 4-2 of their own in the third race but Monarchs cancelled that out in heat four when Erk Riss won easily from Richie Worrall and, with partner Andersson in third spot, Monarchs moved six points in front once more, 15-9.

Schlein atoned for his last place in his first ride by winning heat five in convincing style and, with team-mate Nico Covatti, out as a tactical substitute, finishing third this 4-2 helped Ipswich cut Monarchs’ lead to four points.

With the next two heats shared, Wells and Erik Riss both winning their second outings respectively, Monarchs maintained their four-point cushion after seven races.

But Ipswich kept in touch wthout looking too convincing.

And Monarchs stretched their lead to eight points at the halfway point with a big 5-1 from Palovaara and Andersson over Covattti and Connor Mountain.

And Ipswich’s deficit stayed the same in the ninth race which was shared 3-3, Mark Riss winning it for Monarchs.

Monarchs started to put their foot on the gas now and a further 4-2 from Wells and Palovaara in the tenth race put the home side ten points clear, 35-25 with Ipswich seemingly unable to respond.

A brilliant overtake by Erik Riss over Schlein in heat 11 and an equally fine third place by Andersson saw Monarchs notch up another 4-2 and increase their overall lead to 39-27.

And with a 3-3 in heat 12 won by Ipswich star Covatti, Monarchs were already eyeing the winning post.

And a 5-1 from Erik Riss and Wells in heat 13 clinched the match points for Monarchs with two races to go. Monarchs now led 47-31 and the Witches looked pretty fatigued.

Ipswich secured a 4-2 in the penultimate heat but it was too little too late. They repeated the trick in the final race but Monarchs were home and hosed.

Wells, who scored 13 points, said: “It was a good team showing and we got the win we wanted that was the main thing. I wasn’t that happy with my last ride I missed the start and coludn’t make up the lost ground but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Skipper Erik Riss, who picked up 12 points, said: “We carried on the momentum we got by winning at Redcar which was good. It was another solid showing from the team and I’m happy about that, we are riding well at the moment which is encouraging for everybody.”

Monarchs: Wells 13, E Riss 12, Andersson 8, M Riss 7, Palovaara 5, Pickering 4, Ruml 2.

Ipswich: Covatti 13, Wethers 9, Schlein 7, Worrall 5, Mountain 5, Wallinger 0.