Josh Pickering is hoping his six points in Edinburgh Monarchs’ 46-44 defeat at Newcastle Diamonds on Sunday can help kick-start an uplift in form over the crucial second half of the season.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s vital Championship encounter against fellow play-off contenders Sheffield Tigers at Armadale, the Australian declared his performance on Sunday was in stark contrast to his first visit to Brough Park earlier in the season when he crashed out of the meeting.
He said: “The first time I visited Newcastle was a bit hard to take, but on Sunday it was more a step in the right direction for me. The track wasn’t difficult to ride as some have suggested.
“It was more a case of being a bit more cautious with a bit more throttle control. It was certainly a bit slick but it wasn’t too bad.
“I was a lot happier with how I rode this time.”
Twenty-year-old Pickering hasn’t found it easy in Monarchs’ colours this season having experienced both the highs and lows of Championship life. He freely admits he hit a bit of a slump but believes he is through the worst now.
He said: “I’ve got things sorted out now and things have picked up a little for me recently. I have been riding good and feel there are a lot more points to come.
“There was a lot going on back home and I’m too far away to do anything. I felt a little bit homesick to be honest but I’m feeling good again and I’ve got a job to do for Edinburgh.
“It’s a long way from home in the UK and you have got to make sure the speedway life over here is the one you want. I’ve worked that out and it’s why I continue to stay here.
“It’s what I want to do and I will be spending a lot of time with my family when the season is finished here.”
Monarchs have probably sealed their play-off ticket after their splendid victory at Ipswich Witches in addition to their match point at Newcastle, but know they can’t slack off and intend to make a big push for more points, according to Pickering.
“We have just go to keep doing what we always do and that’s try to win every match we go to. Our next away match is at Glasgow Tigers and we need to try and get something there, but it will be a tough meeting for us that’s for sure.”
Providing Monarchs don’t yield at home their opportunity at play-off glory should be cemented. Said Pickering: “To be honest I don’t think we should drop any more points at Armadale, we should be okay now I think.
“I think it will take a special team to beat us at home. The team have been riding pretty good and are strong round Armadale.”
Fourth-placed Sheffield will provide Monarchs with a big test especially with former British Champion Chris Harris guesting for No.1 Josh Grajczonek. Pickering continued: “We’ll take it as it comes, we certainly won’t be making any assumptions. But if we are all firing on the night then we shouldn’t get beaten.”
Pickering is also chasing gold for Australia in the World Under-21 Team Cup Final in Poland next month and he can’t wait for it. “I’m looking forward to it, I’ve been thinking about ever since we qualified.
“I’m always thinking about what meetings are coming up. I’m always thinking ahead; it should be a great occasion.”
Monarchs are also in action in the Championship Fours Finals at Peterborough on Sunday. Sam Masters, Ricky Wells, Erik Riss and Theo Pijper. are the team’s quartet and they have been drawn in Group A alongside Sheffield, Workington, Scunthorpe, and home outfit Peterborough.