While the make-up of next season’s Edinburgh Monarchs team will be shaped by which overseas stars choose to return, Newcastle-based star Andrew Tully looks a shoe-in to become one of the first names on the 2012 roster.
Tully enjoyed his best-ever domestic season this year but is keen to broaden his experience by securing some additional fixtures at Elite League level.
He said: “I got an international licence this year on the off-chance that some Elite League clubs might be looking for a guest. I will be contacting them over the winter and pointing out where I live. A lot of them think I live in Scotland!”
It’s well known that southern clubs are not keen to recruit guest riders who reside north of the border, but Tully added: “I did mange to ride a few meetings in the Elitle League in 2009, but haven’t done many since.
“I probably wasn’t that confident to take this on at the start of the season, I just wanted to get fit, but as the campaign wore on I was trying to get my foot in the door again.” Many people thought Tully might have moved on to a team with a big track this past season but he remained with Monarchs and was a dominant force round the Lothian Arena, especially in the wet over the last few weeks of the season when he increased his average to ten points at home.
“Things can always go better but I’ve improved my average by a point and have progressed after stalling a bit for a few years. I’ve also improved my starts.
“On slick and grippy surfaces you have to do different things to get out of the gate so I’ve been learning all the time.
“I like the track grippy so when it was a foot deep or whatever against Glasgow, I liked it and would happily ride it like that every week.” Tully carried a nasty arm injury into 2011 and he reckons this was the reason he didn’t get off to a flier at the start of the league programme.
“I wasn’t high on confidemce because of the problems with my arm but in a way this helped me. I was chilled out early on especially if I had a bad race and wasn’t expecting too much.
“I did start to get a bit more frustrated towards the end, but I just need to find a bit more consistency.
Tully, who along with Wethers is believed to be in all of Monarchs’ team blueprints, is already looking ahead to March. “I’ve bought a new clutch and countershaft for next season and some bits for the other one. I’m also going to try and get a new engine at the startof next season and I’m working to earn money for that.
“I cancelled a holiday to Australia because I’ve got a chance to complete my joinery apprenticeship. I think I did the sensible thing.”
Monarchs chairman Alex Harkess commented: “I don’t have any worries about Andrew and have no reason to think he won’t be back with us for next season, he was superb at home this term for the club.”