The Parsons Peebles Monarchs were the latest team to fall victim to the table topping Sheffield Tigers as they went down to a 55-35 defeat at Owlerton on Sunday afternoon.
This was a remarkable tenth win on the spin for the hosts and cemented their place at the summit of the table as the season ending play-offs approach.
The Tigers are in red hot form at the moment and took the lead as early as heat 1 as Josh Grajczonek headed home Mark Riss in his first race back after a 2 month absence through injury. With Todd Kurtz in third it was a 4-2 to Sheffield and they had a lead they would never relinquish.
The second race was a similar result with Josh Pickering unable to overhaul the fast starting Jan Graversen and the Monarchs were already 4 points down.
Pickering was in excellent form throughout though finishing with his 3rd double digit score in as many matches and commented after the match “I started off with a bit of a bike issue but we found it straight away and I was happy to get my heat win. It is a track specialist type of track and Sheffield riders ride it so well. Lasse (Bjerre), Kyle (Howarth), Josh Bates and Josh Grajczonek ride it so well it’s like riding against 4 number 1’s there. The track was a bit different to how it was last time we were here but tracks change as the season goes on there has been a lot of racing on it throughout the year and the tracks go hard and that’s just how it is. We are still without Sam and that made it harder but it is what it is and we will regroup.”
The Monarchs did at least manage to stop the rot over the next few heats with top scorer Ricky Wells taking the first of a brace of wins for him in heat 3 and with Mark Riss repeating this trick in heat 5 there was still only 4 in it.
Gating was at a paramount with all races decided by the 2nd bend up to this point and unfortunately over the next few heats with the Monarchs having a prevalence of outside gates from which to try and overcame the home men streaked away.
Heat advantages in heat 6 and 7 for the Tigers meant a ten point advantage and it was tactical ride time for the Monarchs. Mark Riss was charged with the task but ultimately he could make no impact from gate 4 in heat 8 and was left at the back. And it looked like the Monarchs hope of a point was gone.
This was indeed to be the case as the home men turned the screw further over the next few heats taking advantage of an ineffectual Max Clegg and more unusually Erik Riss who had a nightmare of a day mechanically and finished with 0 points.
With the home men winning the next 6 races in a row at this point and taking advantages in 4 of them the score was looking more and more comfortable for the hosts.
The fans were at least treated to a cracking race in heat 13 when Monarchs guest Ty Proctor headed the field coming out of the second bend, a blanket could have covered all 4 riders for most of the 1st lap before the race spread out.
Any hopes Proctor had of dashing home star Josh Grajczonek’s maximum were to be dashed though as the Tigers number 1 pulled off a beautiful inside swoop on bends 3 and 4 of the 3rd lap to take victory.
The visitors did leave on somewhat of a happier note though as the excellent Wells took heat 15 from tapes to flag but in all honesty it was a pretty easy day for the home men as they made it a maximum 34 points out of 34 in their last 10 matches.
Team Manager: Simon Stead
|1. Josh Grajczonek||3||3||3||3||12||0|
|2. Todd Kurtz||1||2*||2||1||6||1|
|3. Lasse Bjerre||2||2||3||3||1*||11||1|
|4. Josh Bates||1*||0||2*||3||6||2|
|5. Kyle Howarth||3||3||3||1||2||12||0|
|6. Jan Graversen||3||1||1*||0||1||6||1|
|7. Georgie Wood||1||1||0||2||0|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Ty Proctor||0||1||2||2||5||0|
|2. Mark Riss||2||3||0||1*||0||6||1|
|3. Ricky Wells||3||2||2||2||3||12||0|
|4. Max Clegg||0||0||0||0||0|
|5. Erik Riss||R||R||0||0||0||0|
|6. Josh Pickering||2||1||3||1||1*||2||10||1|
|7. Mitchell Davey||0||2||0||2||0|
The Parsons Peebles Monarchs are on their travels again on Sunday as we head to south Yorkshire to take on the form team in the league the Sheffield Tigers.
Tipped as pre-season title favourites the Tigers took a little while to get into their stride but are in blistering form now having recorded a remarkable maximum 31 points from their last 9 fixtures. 5 home wins and 4 maximum 4 point away victories of course including a 51-39 triumph at Armadale a couple of weeks ago just goes to show the kind of form Simon Stead’s men are currently on.
This is not to say the Monarchs head south having admitted defeat though and we will of course be doing our best to dent that record.
Sheffield’s recent turnaround has coincided with a strengthening at reserve with Jan Graversen and Georgie Wood being introduced into the mix adding some punch to what is a frighteningly strong top 5.
Sheffield return to full strength with Josh Grajczonek and Lasse Bjerre back in the line-up following recent absences. They join a top 5 completed by Todd Kurtz and the biggest improvers in their side in the form of Kyle Howarth and Josh Bates. Anyone who has witnessed the Tigers at Armadale cannot help but having been impressed by the improvement shown by Howarth and Bates and their fast riding and exciting styles are a joy to watch particularly at the fast open spaces of Owlerton.
Of course the Monarchs have riders of their own who are just as comfortable around Owlerton as some of the home men although our main man there is normally Sam Masters who of course still misses out. Former Tiger Ty Proctor is the man charged with filling Sam’s shoes and on recent form a big performance from Ty may not be totally out of the question.
With Friday’s unfortunate rain off this means that Mark now makes his return at Owlerton and if he can recapture the form shown earlier in the season while guesting for the Tigers then who knows what we may be capable off.
This is our second visit to Sheffield this season and we will be looking to improve on our first attempt which resulted in a 53-37 defeat and a KO cup exit. No one really excelled that day although there were encouraging signs from Max who won heat 2 and Josh who got to grips with the track as the match progressed. Add to this that Mitchell also had a good outing hitting 4 points and most pleasingly for him was getting the mental barrier of his first visit to the track since his almost career ending smash a few years previous.
It would have to be said that riders such as Ricky Wells and Erik Riss are in better form now than they were when we visited last and if everything falls in right for the Monarchs then who knows what we are capable off.
It is probably said that the Monarchs fans travel (or attempt to as I currently try to navigate my way across the country after a cancelled train) in hope rather than expectation but how many times have we seen our boys come out fighting when their backs are to the walls it will take a tremendous effort to record so much as a point but as we all know in speedway anything can happen.