Workington Comets produced easily the most strategic speedway comeback of the season to dismantle Edinburgh Monarchs’ KO Cup semi-final hopes on a night of high drama at Derwent Park on Saturday.
Faced with a whopping deficit of 28 points following Friday’s first-leg clash at Armadale, the rampant Comets wiped that out without a semblance of resistance to triumph 61-29 and progress to the final 92-88 on aggregate.
It was a result which left Monarchs supporters stunned considering they only lost by six points in the league there early last month.
Their season as regards major silverware is now over in the most disappointing of circumstances.
And it was their failings away from home which struck again as their top men floundered on a super slick track, just as Workington hoped they would.
Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell refused to point the finger at his heat leaders and said: “We were just not good enough, as has happened many times away from home this season. Just as we do with our track at Armadale, Workington prepared their track to suit their riders.
“I wasn’t sure after we won by so many points on Friday that it was going to be enough to take us through, and so it proved.
“We did not have riders to make an impression. Workington have done exceptionally well this season and we knew it would be difficult. They were better than us by miles.
“I don’t think anyone else in the league could have lived with them.”
Asked if he felt let down by some of his star riders, Campbell replied: “No not let down, we were just not good enough.”
Monarchs’ second string Josh Pickering, one of only three Edinburgh race winners on the night, said: “You can never ever say it’s over until it’s over, even though we had a big first-leg lead and it should have been good enough.
“Fair play to Workington. We make our track so that visiting teams struggle, and Workington did exactly the same to us.
“It wasn’t an unfair advantage, they did what was best for their own riders. They were a lot smarter than us. I feel shattered that we are not through to the final, but it just wasn’t to be.
“It was a tough night for us, we couldn’t get our set-ups right and Workington just never let up.”
The Comets repelled Monarchs at will and were 38-16 up after just nine races. Monarchs never looked like applying the brakes on their hosts who increased their lead to 53-25 with a 5-1 in heat 13, one of six maximum heat advantages, which also saw them level the scores 84-84 on aggregate.
With the penultimate heat shared Monarchs had an outside chance of rescuing the tie in the final race. But No.1 Ricky Wells, an ex-Workington rider, was excluded by referee Stuart Wilson for delaying the start and was replaced in the rerun by reserve William Lawson, who unluckily suffered an engine failure and a puncture in two of his earlier races.
He and Richie Worrall proved no match for Nicolai Klindt and Comets top scorer Ty Proctor who stormed home to seal glory in front of the their amazed fans who had to pinch themselves they weren’t dreaming having just witnessed one heck of a great escape!.
Monarchs have one fixture left to stage at Armadale, a Scottish Cup tie against Glasgow Tigers which was rained off at the start of the year, but Campbell is not yet sure when it will go ahead. At this moment in time it’s doubtful if anyone will have the appetite for the clash.
Workington: Proctor 12, Klindt 10, Jensen 10, Campton 10, Bach 8, Allen 7, Bickley 4.
Monarchs: Worrall 9, Wells 7, Pickering 6, Riss 4, Stewart 2, Lawson 1, Palovarra 0.