Monarchs in a cavalry charge towards the play-offs

HEAT 15: Eventual winner Richie Worrall blasts round Jake Allen and Josh Pickering. Pic: Ron MacNeill
HEAT 15: Eventual winner Richie Worrall blasts round Jake Allen and Josh Pickering. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Scunthorpe Scorpions arrived at Armadale tonight and harboured hopes of causing an upset against Edinburgh Monarchs in their Championship League clash.

The Scorpions pulled off a surprise 53-37 victory at Sheffield Tigers 24 hours earlier which put them back into contention for a play-off spot. It was the first time the Tigers had lost back-to-back home meetings at Owlerton in four years.

But Monarchs, fresh from their record-equalling 69-21 victory over Redcar Bears last week, stamped on the Scorpions 65-25 to boost their own play-off aspirations.

And it now looks like turning into something of a cavalry charge for the top four qualification places in the coming weeks among seven or eight contenders.

The Scorpions were dealt a blow before the match after revealing their No.3 rider Jason Garrity was involved in a road traffic accident en route yesterday. Garrity thankfully was unhurt and was replaced in the Scorpions team by second halfer Lewis Millar.

No disrespect to Millar but this weakened the Scorpions to a great degree.

And Monarchs took full advantage in the first heat. Scorpions star Steve Worrall, brother of Monarchs’ new signing Richie, led the race at the start but was quickly passed by Ricky Wells and Victor Palovaara who stormed home for a 5-1 advantage, and this is proving to be a productive partnership for Monarchs.

And like shades of seven days ago Monarchs repeated the 5-1 trick in the second race when Joel Andersson and Max Clegg took the chequered flag to for a 10-2 lead after two races.

And the third race was awarded when Millar tumbled off, so Josh Pickering and Richie Worrall, who were leading at the time of the stoppage, took full points for Monarchs who stretched their lead to 15-3. Groundhog Day or what.

Scorpions star Gino Manzares became the second visiting rider to fall off in the fourth heat and he was excluded from the rerun which was won by Monarchs captain Erik Riss. Scorpions ace Josh Auty managed to split the home pair relegating Andersson to third place, but this 4-2 pushed Monarchs ahead 19-5 and the Scorpions were looking like a shadow of the side who had shocked Sheffield.

The Scorpions were going down like ninepins and Steve Worrall was excluded for coming down in the fifth race. With Millar the only Scorpions representative in the race, Monarchs duo Richie Worrall and Pickering mopped up the spoils easily for another 5-1 score and a 24-6 overall lead.

This was turning out to be another stroll in the park for Monarchs who scored their fifth 5-1 verdict of the meeting through Wells and Palovaara to lead 29-7 with little or no response from the luckless Scorpions.

Scorpions rider Jake Allen held Max Clegg out for second place in heat seven, but Monarchs’ German flier Riss won the race with ease and with Clegg settling for a third place point, this 4-2 simply piled on the misery for the Scorpions.

Manzares then withdrew from the meeting following his spill in heat four but the Scorpions manfully battled on against the odds.

Palovaara pulled up in heat eight giving the Scorpions their first heat success of the night when Jake Allen crossed the line in front with team-mate Danny Phillips claiming third. This 4-2 certainly bucked the trend of Monarchs total domination of proceedings.

But it was only a temporary blip as Richie Worrall and Pickering resumed the 5-1 parade in the tenth race as Monarchs now led 40-14.

Wells and Palovaara notched up a 4-2 in heat ten ahead of Allen, who made a decent fist of the race for Scorpions. But Monarchs were now 44-16 in the ascendency and the match was already over as a contest for the second week in a row.

The match may not have been addictive as an attraction but it’s the old story that Monarchs can only defeat what is put in front of them and without doubt this new-look team may yet surprise a few people if they get to the play-offs.

The 11th race was shared 3-3, Riss winning it for Monarchs and the home side maintained their huge advantage. And they pushed further in front in the next race with a 5-1 from Pickering and Andersson after Millar fell off again.

Monarchs notched up their eighth 5-1 of the meeting in heat 13 for a 57-21 lead with two races remaining. And the home side finished in style with a 4-2 from Richie Worrall and Pickering. It was a night the Scorpions will want to quickly forget.

Monarchs skipper Riss said: “It was another good team effort. The track was good again just like last week and I think we have got a good home advantage now.”

Wells, who was unbeaten by the opposition, said: “Yeah it was a great team effort once more and the track was grippy just how we like it.

“We are all riding really well right now despite the standard of opposition. Others watch out.”

Monarchs: R Worrall 14, Riss 12, Pickering 11, Wells 10, Andersson 8, Palovaara 6, Clegg 3.

Scunthorpe: Allen 12, Auty 7, Phillips 3, S Worrall 2, Millar 1, Manzares 0.