The Parsons Peebles Monarchs raced back to the top of the Championship tonight after beating Newcastle 49-41, a score line which didn't seem likely for much of the evening.
There were many talking points. In the final analysis the decision to bring Josh Pickering into heat 12 made all the difference, as Alex Harkess agreed.
"Josh was pointless at the time but he rode such a good race in heat 11 against Robert Lambert that I said to him - 'This is your chance.' The Newcastle riders made the gate in heat 12 but a brilliant first corner by Josh took him to the front and that turned the match. It was unfortunate that Lewis Rose then crashed and we send our best wishes to him, but it was that move which changed the match."
Because of fairly heavy rain prior to the event, there was no pre-match parade and the early heats were completed quickly, just over an hour for 11 heats. Unfortunately then due to the events of heat 12 there was a delay of around an hour before the match could resume, Rose being taken to hospital with what was said to be a collar bone injury.
Happily Ben Hopwood who also crashed heavily was fit for the heat 12 restaging, in which Monarchs took a 5-1 to lead the match for the first time. They then added another 5-1 in a ferocious heat 13, and that took them close to the winning post. A shared heat14 clinched the win and Sam Masters' win in heat 15 left the rather unfortunate Diamonds pointless. This earned the captain the Arnold Clark Fiat/Kia Seafield Monarch of the Match award.
Newcastle were especially unlucky in that final heat as they had gated on a 5-1 at the first attempt only for Erik Riss to get too close to Lindgren's back wheel and fall. Masters won the rerun after which the Newcastle captain made his complaints about where Sam had been allowed to start in the gate 1 'box'. Ludvig was not his usual cheery self.
In the early stages, none of the Monarchs' heat leaders won their opening rides as Newcastle led 15-9 after four heats. Three of the first four race winners were off gate 4. There was a stroke of luck for the home team in heat 5 when race leader Robert Lambert apparently pulled his cutout out, gifting Monarchs a 5-1. A 4-2 levelled the scores and we then had five successive 3-3s.
Then came the drama of heats 11 and 12 and by the end the home heat leaders had redeemed themselves, not dropping any points after their first rides until Riss's heat 15 tumble.
Reserves are always important and there were certainly some goings-on in that department. Mitchell Davey won heat 2, but the expected domination by the home reserves did not happen as Josh Pickering first touched the tapes, then fell on the last bend after an exciting dash through to challenge for second place.
Later on, Bowtell took a point off Davey and Clegg lost to Hopwood, so had Diamonds gained a point they would have been grateful to their numbers 6 and 7.
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||2||3||3||2*||3||13||1|
|2. Theo Pijper||0||1||3||E||4||0|
|3. Ricky Wells||1||3||3||2*||9||1|
|4. Max Clegg||0||2*||0||2||4||1|
|5. Erik Riss||2||3||3||3||X||11||0|
|6. Josh Pickering||F||0||0||3||1*||4||1|
|7. Mitchell Davey||3||1*||0||4||1|
Team Manager: George English
|1. Robert Lambert||3||0||2||1*||2||8||1|
|2. Ashley Morris||1||1||2||1*||5||1|
|3. Lewis Rose||2*||1*||2||X||5||2|
|4. Ludvig Lindgren||3||2||1*||3||1*||10||2|
|5. Richie Worrall||3||2||2||0||7||0|
|6. Ben Hopwood||2||0||1*||1||4||1|
|7. Alfie Bowtell||1*||0||1*||0||2||2|
The Parsons Peebles Monarchs will be looking to go back top of the SGB Championship table with 3 points against the visiting Newcastle Diamonds this Friday night.
This will be no easy task as the Diamonds travel with a vast array of Armadale experience and pedigree and having struggled a little so far this season they will be looking to start the second half of their season with a bang as they hunt for a playoff spot.
The Diamonds had high hopes of a playoff spot at the start of the season and while they have not hit the heights so far with the calibre of rider in their team a turnaround in fortunes may just be round the corner and the Monarchs will need to be on their toes to make sure it isn’t this week.
The Diamonds are led by Team GB world cup star Robert Lambert. Lambert is one of the most highly touted prospects in all of world speedway after his podium finish in last year’s under 21 championship that was won by former Monarch Max Fricke. Lambert is also one of the top men in the Championship with an average sitting on exactly 10 points a match for the season so far. Lambert has shown his liking for the Armadale circuit in the past but missed out on the Diamonds earlier visit to the Dale when his guest replacement Aaron Summers could only muster 5 points. The Diamonds and Lambert will be expecting a lot more than that this time.
Number 2 in the Diamonds septet is former Monarch Ashley Morris. Morris is having his finest season in the sport with an average currently in excess of 5.5 points per match and was in excellent form the last time he visited Armadale. The young Wolverhampton born man raced to 9+1 from 5 rides that night including a heat 1 win and if he repeats that for this week the Monarchs could be in trouble.
Another man enjoying his finest season in a young career is Lewis Rose. Rose finally seems to be enjoying an injury free run and that has allowed his undoubted talent to flourish. Rose has put almost 2 points on his starting average so far this season and is one to watch for as he progresses in the sport. Rose is another with a solid Armadale record and the middle order battles involving Rose may well go a long way to deciding who takes the spoils on Friday.
Captain Ludvig Lindgren slots in at number 4. Ludvig is having another stellar season and we all know how much of a danger he will be after putting in one of the best guest performances in Monarchs history with his double maximum in the double header against Redcar and Plymouth last season. Lindgren also impressed in the Harrison’s Scottish Open at the beginning of the year so a heat win can never be discounted for the smooth riding Swede particular when he makes the gate.
A guest comes in at number 5 to replace Stevie Worrall who is in action for Belle Vue in the SGB Premiership. However you may need to double check to notice the difference as the replacement is Stevie’s twin Glasgow’s Richie Worrall. Richie is having an outstanding season for our friends from the west and this has recently been rewarded with a doubling up roll with Poole. Richie also is a renowned Armadale expert having recorded double digit scores on more than one occasion already this season and coupled with Lambert the heat 13 and potentially battles will be something to behold.
Perhaps the Achilles heel of the Newcastle side this season has come at reserve where a revolving door has somewhat been in action. One man who is looking to buck that trend is recent signing Ben Hopwood. Hopwood has more than done his job since joining the Tynesiders with a current average in excess of 3 being a good jump from his original 2 point average. Hopwood was a regular and popular guest for the Monarchs last season after Dan Bewley’s injury and he will be looking to turn this experience into points on Friday night.
Completing the team is recent signing Alfie Bowtell. Bowtell was picked up after impressing guesting for Berwick at Brough Park but has found the going a little tough so far although this has not been for a lack of trying. Bowtell will be making his Armadale debut but being as he is a regular for Lakeside in the National League he is not short of experience on smaller more technical tracks and could surprise.
Moving onto the Parsons Peebles Monarchs well after losing our place atop the Championship to Ipswich the boys will be desperate for all 3 points to move them straight back to the summit. One small change to the line-up sees Ricky and Erik swap places with Ricky moving to number 3 and Erik to 5. Beyond that the team is as it was as we continue what has been a bit of a quiet spell for the team as a whole although with 6 of the 7 doubling up or down coupled with various continental commitments the majority of the team have not been short of action.
So a determined and strong looking visiting Diamonds goes up against our home heroes looking to move back to the top of the league. A barnstorming encounter awaits and you all know there is only one place to see it and that’s trackside and after a couple of weeks working away I am delighted to say....... see you there!
Friday 14th July 2017, 11:36pm
Parsons Peebles Monarchs defeated Newcastle by 49 points to 41 to go back to the top of the Championship table. Sam Masters scored 13 and Ludvig Lindgren got 10 for the Diamonds