The weather was again very cold and damp at Armadale but this time the meeting went ahead, with a deserved League Cup victory for Berwick who held on to win 46-44. It wasn’t the opening we were looking for.
Bandits took the lead in heat 5 and never relinquished it. There were times when we seemed to be clawing things back, but whenever we did we then lost vital points with the 1-5 reversals in heats 5 and 11 proving crucial.
Border Roofing Monarchs’ skipper Sam Masters said “It was never going to be easy with two new boys in the side, so we needed the heat leaders to win most of the races. Some of our side just didn’t gate well enough.”
When rain started prior to the meeting, it must have been expected that either the match would be called off or the action would be disappointing. In fact while gating was generally pretty crucial, there was some very competitive racing, with heat two an absolute standout.
In this one Liam Carr gated with Matthew Wethers trying to nurse him round, but Max Clegg hitting the wider line and battling to pass the visiting pair. He was close on every bend and came through between them at the start of lap three, only for Wethers to edge back in front. Clegg wasn’t finished though and pulled off an outside pass to take a brilliant victory.
In fact Max produced several more overtakes in his paid 10 score, and was one of the home successes.
Sam Masters shot to the front in every heat and never looked like being beaten but the heat leader backup was not quite there – just one win each for Kevin Wolbert and Ryan Fisher. Generally they gated poorly although Fisher made typically massive efforts to make up lost ground.
He did pick up a third place from the back in heat 13 as he shot across Jorgensen with his front wheel in the air. The Bandits’ Dane might have been unsettled because he came off the back of his machine close to the finish.
Erik Riss started poorly but finished with five from his last two, and both the new boys showed glimpses of the potential they have. They certainly didn’t let anyone down.
For the winning team, Theo Pijper and Kevin Doolan played important roles. Theo won three heats with some smooth starting, and Kevin won his first two followed by three seconds.
Matthew Wethers predictably scored some vital points and Thomas Jorgensen was lively throughout.
Monarchs had got within two points at heat 10 and at that stage it looked like we might squeeze out a victory. However a 1-5 from Pijper and Jorgensen against Fisher gave us a great deal top do. Kevin Wolbert made his one decent start to win heat 12, and with Sam ahead in heat 13, we needed something from Ryan Fisher. That’s when he pulled off his unorthodox pass on Jorgensen.
Heat 14 was crucial and it seemed Erik Riss had made the gate, but crafty old Wethers slipped up the inside and held off all Erik’s efforts thereafter. That was a match winning ride from Matthew.
That meant we need a 5-1 for a draw in the last heat, and while Masters completed a comfortable maximum, Kevin Doolan fairly easily held on to second spot to ensure the Bandits first win at Armadale since 1998!
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||3||3||3||3||15||0|
|2. Jye Etheridge||0||0||0||0||0|
|3. Kevin Wolbert||2||1||1||3||1||8||0|
|4. Erik Riss||1*||0||3||2||6||1|
|5. Ryan Fisher||3||2||1||1||7||0|
|6. Max Clegg||3||1*||2||1||0||1*||8||2|
|7. Dan Bewley||0||0||0||0||0|
Team Manager: Scott Courtney
|1. Thomas Jorgensen||1*||2*||2*||F||5||3|
|2. Theo Pijper||2||3||3||3||0||11||0|
|3. Kevin Doolan||3||3||2||2||2||12||0|
|4. Anders Mellgren||0||0||0||0||0|
|5. Seb Alden||2||2||0||2||6||0|
|6. Matthew Wethers||2||1*||2||1*||3||9||2|
|7. Liam Carr||1*||1*||1||0||3||2|
The 2016 season opens at Armadale this evening and after a mid morning shower it has remained dry since.
This match seems to have created as much interest as last week's with Berwick believing that they have their best chance for some years of securing a victory.
Both teams are as per our new look programme which sells tonight for £2.80 or £4 if you would like last week's also.
We have made some alterations to admission arrangements at the entry gates and we would ask supporters to carefully look at the well signed arrangements.
With the threat of rain coming from the west later the first race will start at 7.30pm prompt.
We try again to open the Armadale season this Friday with a visit from the Berwick ‘Olympus Marquees’ Bandits in the League Cup.
With the shortened structure of the League Cup this season, maintaining full home points is a must and it wouldn’t be unfair to say the ‘Border’ group that consists of the Monarchs, Bandits and Glasgow is the toughest of the lot.
After last week’s proposed visitors had no less than three former league winning Monarchs I didn’t think it would be possible for a team with more Armadale experience to visit this season. Now along come the Bandits featuring two long time Monarchs, one of the most experienced visitors over the years and also a youngster at reserve who has guested for us many times. In fact here’s one for the trivia buffs out there have we ever had a visiting team in the history of Edinburgh Speedway that had two riders in their ranks who each were awarded a testimonial for the Monarchs?
The Bandits have gone for a strength in depth approach this season and if any of the heat leader trio can up their average and become a true number 1 they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The man who starts the season with the number 1 jersey on his back is young Dane Thomas Jorgensen. Jorgensen is now into his second season with the Borderers and when in full flow he is devastatingly fast. He is yet to find the quickest way round Armadale but will surely keep the Monarchs top men on their toes on Friday night.
Number 2 for the Bandits is a man who needs no introduction to the Blue and Gold having first ridden on these shores for us way back in 2002 and having enjoyed an Armadale testimonial last year it’s Theo Pijper! Theo is an Armadale specialist and will surely be a danger man slotted in a second string position.
The elder statesman of the Berwick side is undoubtedly Kevin Doolan. Kevin has been a popular rider on these shores for many years now and while his days at the top of the Premier League average charts may now be behind him, he is still a threat as his early season form has shown. Kevin being top scorer totalling paid 28 in Berwick’s early season challenge matches against Redcar.
Alongside Doolan in the engine room of the Bandits is Swede Anders Mellgren. Mellgren has been around the Premier League on and off for a few seasons now and many will remember him finishing runner up to our own Craig Cook in the 2012 PLRC. Mellgren could claim he was unlucky that night as well. He was leading one attempt of the final before Cookie eventually ran out the winner at the third attempt. If Mellgren can recapture the form shown back then he will be an absolute snip on a 5.57 average
A surprise signing at number 5 was the returning Swede, Sebastian Alden. Alden had been a mainstay for the Bandits a few years ago but seemed to have drifted from the scene and few expected a return to British Speedway. He returns as a key man for the Bandits riding at number 5 and is another who if he can return to previous form the Bandits will take some stopping.
At number 6, without a doubt one of the most experienced reserves in the Premier League and the second of the Monarchs former testimonial men is Matthew Wethers. Still one of the most popular Monarchs of the Armadale era no one will forget his heroics in the Blue and Gold which are almost too multiple to mention. Multiple league champion, 21 point maximum at Newcastle in 2008 and his vital heat win in the Golden Heat knockout heats at home to Newcastle are the first three that spring to my mind. If ‘Stormy’ is in the mood on Friday night we could be in trouble.
Joining Wethers at reserve for the Bandits is local product Liam Carr. Liam is another who is no stranger to the Monarchs faithful and guested for us in the home leg of the playoff final last year after Rob Branford’s unfortunate injury. Once the new 3 point rule was introduced Liam was a no-brainer for the Bandit’s and is exactly the kind of rider the rule was brought in for.
Hoping to contain the Olympus Marquee Bandits will be our very own Blue and Gold heroes. The Border Roofing Monarchs line up with our full 1-7 and will be looking to bounce back from a fairly resounding defeat at Ashfield last Sunday. Top man Sam Masters showed he has hit the ground running this year with 17 from a possible 18, heading all of the Tigers top men. Our new boys Jye and Dan showed enough to show they will be competitive once they get dialled in and we will look for more from Kevin, Ryan, Erik and Max on their home shale.
A tough match is in store and as mentioned earlier, maximum home points are a must if the Border Roofing Monarchs are to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages in the hope of retaining our League Cup for the 3rd year in a row and an interesting battle is sure.
Friday 8th April 2016, 9:45pm
The first meeting of the season took place at Armadale tonight.
Thursday 7th April 2016, 8:57pm
At the second time of asking it looks like we'll get our home season underway at Armadale on Friday evening.
Wednesday 6th April 2016, 6:46pm
The Border Roofing Monarchs try again this week to get their home season started with a visit in the League Cup from Berwick Bandits on Friday.