Speedway: Monarchs rediscover spark to burn Comets

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Edinburgh Monarchs ripped up the form book at Armadale last night with a resounding and deserved League Cup speedway victory over runaway Northern Qualifying Group leaders Workington Comets in a high-quality encounter.

Monarchs, who are joint bottom of the section, shocked the Cumbrian outfit with a 54-39 victory which could be the springboard for better things for the struggling Capital outfit who rediscovered much of their passion and fight which had deserted them in recent weeks.

Workington arrived with a fearsome reputation and have been winning very much at will but one sensed that this was one encounter which was going to elude them – and so it proved.

Monarchs stormed into a 17-7 lead after just four races thanks to a 5-1 from Craig Cook and Charles Wright over Rusty Harrison and Kyle Howarth. Howarth has been expected to dominate the reserve battle, but the 18-year-old struggled round his old track and only picked up five points from his five outings. Given what he has been achieving lately, this was a huge disappointment.

Workington handed Rene Bach a tactical ride in the next heat to help stem the tide and the Dane responded by defeating Monarchs skipper Matthew Wethers and Theo Pijper. With teamate Gary Irving finishing third, the Comets’ 7-2 advantage cut their hosts lead to only five points.

But the Comets failed to drive on as Monarchs turned the screw in the second half. With Andrew Tully, Wethers and Cook riding like the heat leaders they are, Workington were denied any chance of fighting back despite some excellent racing which was lapped up by the home supporters.

Comets gave themselves one glimmer of hope when they grabbed a 5-1 courtesy of Bach and Rusty Harrison in heat 11.. But Monarchs canceled that out with a 5-1 of their own three races later which saw Tully and Cook easily defeat Bach and Harrison who fell.

That was a pivotal heat advantage for the Monarchs who rubbed salt in the Comets wounds with a further 5-1 in the heat 15 finale, Tully and Cook again proving dominant over Bach and Richard Lawson.

Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell had expressed concerns over Monarchs’ performances after they lost against Redcar and Newcastle last week, but he said: “We really did well well.Workington are without a doubt the top team in the north. But just as we struggle at Workington, they struggled at Armadale and sometimes things work out in your favour.

“More importantly our captain Matthew (Wethers) had his best match of the season and that proved a catalyst for the whole side.”

Wethers, who has been in the doldrums lately, scored nine points which included two wins, and he joked: “I’m back, it was a really good performance by the whole team, and hopefully there is now more to come, I certainly felt a lot more comfortable.”

Tully, who was beaten just once by Harrison on his way to a 14-point haul, said: “I haven’t really enjoyed to many meetings this season, but I enjoyed this. I would liked to have scored a maximum but I was happy with my eventual score. And I was also happy for the team, Workington are a great side who made it very tough for us.”

All the Monarchs chipped in and reserve Micky Dyer had a fine win over Irving and Howarth in the heat two tail-enders race.

Teammate Theo Pijper who has been in terrific form for Monarchs and has been showing everyone else the way, scored eight points and had two wins for his credit.

“I had a bit of a problem in my second ride but after that I was fine, it was a good night for all the boys.”

And Derek Sneddon who chipped in with six points commented: “We showed what we can do when we all score together and this result proved that, it was a fine result and a fine win for the whole team.”

Comets’ top scorer was Bach who rattled up 13 points from five starts and his best support came from Harrison who weighed in with eight.

Monarchs: Tully 14, Cook 11, Wethers 9, Pijper 8, Sneddon 6, Dyer 4, Wright 2.

Workington: Bach 13, Harrison 8, Lawson 7, Howarth 5, Irving 4, Roynon2