It was all about credibility for Edinburgh Monarchs at Armadale tonight.
It was all about credibility for Edinburgh Monarchs at Armadale last night.
Having been elbowed out of both the league play-offs and Knockout Cup in a miserable three-week spell which cost them a potential financial windfall, Monarchs were relying on the Scottish Cup for their only piece of silverware this season, the third year in a row they have missed out on the major trophies in the Championship league.
Glasgow Tigers held a ten-point lead from the first leg at the start of the season but Monarchs responded with a fighting display to beat Tigers 50-40 which tied the scores on aggregate forcing a run-off between Ricky Wells and Glasgow’s Paul Starke for the trophy.
And it was Wells who romped to glory for the Monarchs beating Starke quite easily, something he couldn’t do in heat 15.
Wells said: “I made the jump on Paul in the race-off and he could not catch me, it felt good to win some silverware at last.”
It was scant satisfaction for the Monarchs supporters in truth who will look back on 2018 as a year of missed opportunities, especially as they changed their team in mid-season specifically with the aim of reaching the play-offs.
The Tigers had Richard Lawson guesting for the injured Craig Cook and Carl Wilkinson replaced Nathan Greaves at reserve. Monarchs tracked National League star David Wallinger as a stand-in for the still injured Swede Joel Andersson.
And Monarchs got off to a slightly sluggish start in the opening heat. Erik Riss, who took over the No.1 spot on Monday, won easily from the tapes but his partner Victor Palovaara had bike problems and finished last, leaving the Tigers to share the race 3-3. Not ideal when you are chasing down a sizeable deficit.
And a 3-3 in the second race did not do Monarchs any favours either.
But Monarchs came alive in the third heat with a 5-1 from Richie Worrall and Josh Pickering who gave Monarchs an 11-7 lead on the night as they easily overcame Tigers duo Claus Vissing and Paul Starke.
Monarchs then grabbed a 4-2 in the next race when Ricky Wells outpaced Tigers ace Chris Harris, and with William Lawson claiming third spot Monarchs now led 15-9 and were giving themselves a chance of overhauling the Tigers.
Amazingly, the next four heats were all shared and Monarchs maintained their six-point lead, 27-21, but they needed more punch from the lower order to upset the Tigers if they were to stop another trophy from slipping through their fingers.
Pickering then produced a last-gasp sprint to overhaul Tigers reserve Jack Thomas in the ninth race to rescue yet another 3-3 for Monarchs after Chris Harris had beaten Worrall.
Monarchs could not shake off the Tigers who were defending their aggregate advantage with some vigour and snatched a further 3-3 in heat ten.
Lawson then fell off in heat 12 and was disqualified from the rerun leaving Pickering to face Tigers duo Claus Vissing and Wilkinson on his own, and the Monarchs star produced a trademark last bend to beat Vissing who had led for nearly four laps. But Pickering’s win only gained a 3-3 for Monarchs.
However, Wells and Riss then produced a majestic 5-1 in heat thirteen for Monarchs to give them a 44-34 lead and tie the scores on aggregate.
The penultimate race was shared 3-3 and it all came down to the last heat. And Monarchs ace Riss was given a warning by the referee to keep still at the start. Then Harris was disqualified from the rerun after tumbling off. But Starke held his nerve to win the race for Tigers which left the scores still tied on aggregate forcing a race-off to decide the destiny of the trophy.
Monarchs: Riss 13, Wells 12, Worrall 10, Pickering 6, Lawson 5, Palovaara 4, Wallinger 0.
Glasgow: Harris 10, Starke 8, Vissing 7, Lawson 6, Sarjeant 4, Wilkinson 4, Thomas 1.