Tigers clash now critical for Monarchs

Monarchs face a race against time (Ron MacNeill)
Monarchs face a race against time (Ron MacNeill)
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Edinburgh Monarchs today said they are still in talks with Glasgow Tigers to hammer out a new date for their Premier League speedway clash which was rained off at Armadale on Friday.

The derby could prove critical to Monarchs’ chances of finishing top of the league before the championship play-off deadline expires on September 15, which would give them first pick of their group opponents.

With Monarchs’ outstanding away fixtures at Workington Comets and Sheffield Tigers unlikely to take place before the cut-off date, the Capital side must pick up maximum points from their other six matches to have any chance of overhauling leaders Somerset Rebels, who are ten points ahead but have ridden five more matches.

Somerset have three fixtures left, at home to Workington and Berwick Bandits, and a road trip to Workington. They could conceivably finish on 71 points, a total Monarchs can match if they win their last four home matches and triumph at Rye House Rockets and Glasgow.

Monarchs have still to agree dates for their League Cup legs against Peterborough Panthers and can’t proceed with their KO Cup semi-final until Glasgow and Newcastle contest their quarter-final clash.

With play-off group matches to squeeze in, it could be a mad scramble for Monarchs in their bid for a trophy treble.

And this begs the question over the wisdom by promoters to extend the league programme in 2014 for no good reason, an idea that looks set to be binned next season.

British Speedway Promoters’ Association chairman and Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said: “I was not in favour of extending the league fixtures simply because of the fear it could lead to congestion.”

“It all fits in if you don’t have any rain-offs, but of course no one knows that in advance.”

Glasgow are considering a fresh date from Monarchs and their answer is expected within the next 48 hours.