Monarchs complete the double to race back into play-offs frame

Erik Riss leads Comets' Ty Proctor and Monarchs team-mate Max Cleg. Riss won the man of the match. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Erik Riss leads Comets' Ty Proctor and Monarchs team-mate Max Cleg. Riss won the man of the match. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs are back in the play-off game after winning all six league points up for grabs in last night’s double header Armadale.

They defeated a stubborn Workington Comets 52-40 in the first match before seeing off a determined Ipswich Witches side 48-44 in the second contest.

Monarchs have now reclaimed fourth spot in the Championship over Redcar Bears but the Teessiders still have three away fixtures to complete.

Workington started off in great style when former Monarchs skipper Craig Cook defeated current Monarchs captain Sam Masters convincingly in the opening heat and with Mason Campton claiming third spot the Comets grabbed a shock 4-2 advantage.

But a 4-2 from Max Clegg and Mitchell Davey in the second race squared the scores for Monarchs.

Clegg said: “I made a good start and was pleased to win my opening ride. The track was awesome, they had the covers on it during the week and it was great. I think we are coming into form at just the right time. We have a full team again and I think we can reach the play-offs.”

And Monarchs heat leader Ricky Wells swooped around everybody on the first bend in heat three to storm to victory with Josh Pickering finishing third to give Monarchs a 4-2 and an early 10-8 lead.

Comets’ Thomas Jorgensen won heat four in some style beating Erik Riss but Monarchs earned a share of the points to keep their noses in front.

Cook won his second ride convincingly beating Wells in the fifth race but once again Monarchs filled the minor places to earn a 3-3 to stay narrowly in front, 16-14.

Cook looked on fire, reminding envious Monarchs fans of his years of dominance around the Lothian Arena.

A 5-1 by Erik Riss and Masters in heat six put Monarchs six points in front and a further 4-2 from Erik Riss and Clegg in heat seven opened up an eight-point gap, putting some much needed daylight between the sides after a close start.

But the Comets snatched a 4-2 back from Campton and James Sarjeant at the halfway mark to cut their arrears to six points, 27-21.

A near collision between Matt Williamson and Ty Proctor on the first bend in heat ten allowed Mark Riss to nip through to join Masters for a 5-1 for Monarchs which opened up a ten-point gap over the Comets 35-25.

A tactical second-place ride by Cook in heat 11, aided by a third-spot finish by Campton, gave Comets a 5-3 advantage to reduce the gap to eight points again.

However, a 4-2 from Wells and Davey in heat 12, which was awarded after Sarjeant fell, restored Monarchs’ lead to ten once more.

Monarchs virtually clinched the match when Erik Riss gated like a dream in heat 13 to defeat Cook and Jorgensen. With Masters in third spot, Monarchs picked up another 4-2 to lead 46-34.

A shared 3-3 in the last race won in great style by Erik Riss saw Monarchs home by a comfortable margin in the end.

Top scorer for Monarchs was Erik Riss who scored 14 points and he was beaten just once by Jorgensen in heat four and picked up the Monarchs’ Man of the Match award. He said: “I’m gutted not to have scored a maximum but pleased by the way I rode. My form is good right now.”

Wells picked up ten points. Best for Comets was Cook who finished with 14 points which included a tactical outing.

By the time Ipswich took to the track Monarchs were in buoyant mood after their victory over Workington. Ipswich, who have already booked their play-off spot, still proved doughty opponents but Monarchs took an early 18-12 lead after only five heats.

Masters fell in heat six and was disqualified and this allowed the Witches to nick a 4-2 to cut their deficit to four points, 20-16. But Monarchs stepped up a gear and had increased their lead to 35-24 after ten heats.

But Ipswich fought back with a six point tactical ride by skipper Danny King in heat 12 and his victory cut Ipswich’s deficit to eight points,38-30.

Mark Riss fell on the last bend in heat 14 and this handed Ipswich a 4-2 to make the scores 45-41 in Monarchs favour.

But a 3-3 in the last race saw Monarchs over the line with all six points in the bag. Top Monarch was Wells with 14 points.