Monarchs needing all seven racers to count after defeat by Glasgow

Jack Smith tries to go around Josh Pickering but ends up crashing. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Jack Smith tries to go around Josh Pickering but ends up crashing. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Glasgow Tigers have dominated Edinburgh Monarchs so far this season. And that trend continued at Ashfield Stadium on Saturday night as the rampant Tigers comfortably defeated the Capital side 53-39 to win all three Championship points.

The meeting was delayed for almost two hours when Glasgow reserve Jack Smith tried to round Monarchs star Josh Pickering in the second heat and crashed heavily into the fence. He was taken to hospital with a dislocated elbow, and his remaining rides were taken by Tom Perry which, ironically, strengthened the home outfit.

Given that Monarchs did not target the match as winnable, team manager Alex Harkess was not despondent with the result. He said: “I think everybody chipped in with something, unfortunately we didn’t have all seven of our riders contributing enough, and that’s been the case all season.

“If you gated you had a chance. But we just gated intermittently and got a few race wins but not enough to make a difference.

“I was not downhearted by the result and it was great to see Josh follow up his good performance at home to Peterborough on Friday with another fine performance. He is very important to us.”

Pickering scooped ten points for the second time in 24 hours and was always in the thick of things. He said: “The last time I was at Ashfield I didn’t get a chance to look at the track, I couldn’t attack it in the way that I wanted. But this was a far better display and I think I’m on a bit of a roll now and I just want to keep it going until the end of the season.”

Harkess continued: “Ashfield is a very difficult place to come to. Only Ipswich Witches have left with anything this year, that sums up how difficult it is.

“Glasgow’s heat leaders were strong, they always are. But it was proved if you gated in front of them then you had a chance. Erik Riss started off at 100 miles an hour but couldn’t maintain it. And Ricky Wells got better as the match went on. Our guest for Sam (Masters) Ludvig Lindgren tried his hardest but his five points was disappointing.”

Monarchs got off to the worst possible start by losing a 5-1 in the opening heat, Richard Lawson and Nike Lunna comfortably defeating Lindgren and Theo Pijper. And the Tigers then raced in to a ten-point lead, 26-16 when Lindgren and Pijper were on the receiving end of another 5-1 from Tigers duo Richie Worrall and Dan Bewley.

In the ninth race Monarchs handed Riss a double-points tactical ride to reduce their arrears and Monarchs won a 5-3 advantage when Riss claimed second place behind Worrall, and with Pickering claiming third place this cut Monarchs leeway to 32-24.

But the Tigers bared their claws in the tenth heat when Lawson and Luna scored maximum points against Wells and Max Clegg.

A slight ray of sunshine appeared for Monarchs when Wells and Pickering romped to a 5-1 of their own in the 12th race against the hitherto unbeaten Worrall and Perry. Typically the Tigers struck back immediately in the next race when Lawson and Aaron Summers easily outpaced Lindgren and Riss to go 47-33 in front.

And with the final two races shared the Tigers easily kept their unbeaten record intact and their victory lifts them back into second place in the table with Monarchs in third. Just one point separates them but Monarchs have ridden three more matches.

Wells was Monarchs’ top scorer with 11 points and he had the satisfaction of ruining Lawson’s maximum hopes by winning the heat 15 top scorers’ race. And he was ably supported by Pickering whose ten points were quite superb.

Glasgow: Lawson 14, Summers 11, Worrall 10, Lunna 8, Bewley 6, Perry 4, Smith 0.

Monarchs: Wells 11, Pickering 10, Riss 9, Lindgren 5, Davey 2, Clegg 1, Pijper 1.