After been taken down to the wire by Sheffield Tigers in the KO Cup at Armadale on Friday, things became worse for Edinburgh Monarchs in their Championship clash with Glasgow Tigers at Ashfield Stadium on Saturday night when they were comprehensively beaten 57-34 by their oldest rivals.
It was Monarchs’ first defeat of the season after notching up five wins on the bounce.
And team manager Alex Harkess today said his side must discover how to gate again because that was their biggest failing.
“Up until Friday we had been gating very well, but that’s two matches now where our gating has been very poor. We know that, as do the riders, and they will be working on their starts this week before our next home meeting against Workington Comets.”
A heat five incident turned into disaster for Monarchs when skipper Sam Masters and team-mate Josh Pickering both come to grief.
Masters hit the safety fence hard and was given medical attention, but it was an early blow Monarchs could have done without.
Said Harkess: “Both riders struggled thereafter and the only reason Sam carried on was because we didn’t have enough riders to cover for him. But the wheels came off for us following that crash.”
But it would be wrong for Monarchs to blame the scale of their defeat this one incident for, after all Tigers ace Nike Lunna was forced to withdraw from the match after a high speed crash in heat three in which he collided with both Erik and Mark Riss.
The Tigers rammed in three consecutive maximum advantages after that to turn the screw on their visitors.
Glasgow were simply too good and their electric starts from the tapes ended the majority of races by the second corner.
Added Harkess: “I wouldn’t say we have been given a reality check because the Glasgow fixture was always going to be difficult. We had hoped to get something from the match but it wasn’t to be.
“We played second fiddle to the Tigers into the first and second corners and it’s very difficult to pass when you’re stranded at the tapes.
“Our basic problem was that our heat leaders never looked like winning a race and they were not competitive. This made life very difficult.”
Reserve Mark Riss was the only Monarch to take the fight to the Tigers and he at least can be absolved from this shambolic display. He won heats two and 12 and without his 14 point contribution Monarchs would have sunk without trace.
Promoter John Campbell said: “It was a very disappointing performance, especially from our heat leaders who showed a complete inability to win a race.
“Nobody held the team together, although Mark Riss did very well with his contribution.”
“I’d like to think our heat leaders will win races in future because it will then become far easier for us to win matches in future.”
The febrile atmosphere inside Ashfield was ramped up as the Tigers went into overdrive. By heat seven they led 27-17 prompting Monarchs to send Ricky Wells out for a tactical ride in heat nine but second place was all he could muster as the Tigers juggernaut thundered on.
The Tigers piled in with three further 5-1s over the closing stages to complete victory in the easiest possible manner.
Star of the show for Glasgow was Dan Bewley, who rode for Edinburgh last season, and his 13 points were his first paid maximum at Championship level.
And what a response to claims that he wasn’t scoring well enough for the Tigers since the season started!
Glasgow: Lawson 14, Bewley 13, Worrall 13, Summers 10, Perry 7, Smith 0, Lunna 0.
Monarchs: M Riss 14, Wells 8, Masters 4, E Riss 4, Pickering 2, Davey 2, Clegg 0.