It was a case of so near yet so far for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs this evening as they performed admirably and did well going down 50-40 to the Ipswich Witches in the 1st leg of the SGB Championship Play Off Semi Final.
The Monarchs had headed south hoping to repeat their performance from the end of July when they pipped the hosts by a point in a pulsating fixture this time Ipswich on top form and well aided by guest Mason Campton the Parsons Peebles Monarchs battled hard to keep the scores tight.
On a night where gating was absolutely paramount both teams had their moments but over the piece a 10 point deficit probably flatters the Witches although both teams will look to points thrown away or situations they could have improved upon.
For the Monarchs they were poorly served by rider replacement for Mark Riss which only gained 2 points a score he would surely have bested and they were left a little perplexed by Erik Riss’s exclusion in heat 14. Riss and Nathan Greaves tangled going into the first bend with referee Barbara Horley throwing out our man. Horley’s explanation for the decision was that Erik had moved across into Greaves although quite why he would do that when Greaves was clearly a wheel ahead is questionable.
The Monarchs were led from the front by captain Sam Masters returning to his best with a 14 point haul. The Aussie was happy with his scoring and believes the tie is on a knife edge saying “I was happy with how I scored tonight; I only got the engine back today after blowing it at Swindon last week so I was happy with how it went. I think it’s all to go for and we can pull ten back. I’m pretty confident we can do that especially if the reserves ride well we definitely have it in us and I’ll be firing the boys up to go out there and do it at Armadale.”
Unfortunately on the night Masters did not quite have the heat winning back up for the Monarchs to fire to victory with only Riss also taking the chequered flag in what was an excellent victory over a strong looking Danny King and Rory Schlein pairing in heat 6 and while the Monarchs were keeping it close there was always a feeling that this lack of heat winners may come back to bite them in the end and this was to prove the case as going into heat 13 only 4 down the wheels came off a little with a tapes to flag 5-1 for that King and Schlein pairing followed by a 4-2 for the hosts after that Riss exclusion in the penultimate race.
Masters was to stop the bleeding taking the flag in the last race leaving the 2nd leg all to play for at Armadale on Friday evening to see who can progress to the final and a crack at the title.
Team Manager: Richie Hawkins
|1. Danny King||3||2||2||2*||2||11||1|
|2. Cameron Heeps r/r||0||0|
|3. Mason Campton||2||2*||3||0||3||10||1|
|4. Kyle Newman||1||1*||3||3||1||9||1|
|5. Rory Schlein||3||1*||R||3||3||1*||11||2|
|6. Nathan Greaves||3||1||F||0||3||7||0|
|7. Connor Mountain||1||0||1*||0||2||1|
Team Manager: John Campbell
|1. Ricky Wells||2||1||2||E||5||0|
|2. Josh Pickering||0||0||2*||2||1*||5||2|
|3. Sam Masters||3||3||3||2||3||14||0|
|4. Mark Riss r/r||0||0|
|5. Erik Riss||2||3||2||1||X||0||8||0|
|6. Max Clegg||2||0||0||1||1*||4||1|
|7. Mitchell Davey||0||1*||1*||2||4||2|
The Parsons Peebles Monarchs are on their travels once again as we make the long trip south to Ipswich in our most important match of the season so far in the SGB Championship Play Off Semi Final.
This will be the 1st of 2 matches in as many nights against the Witches to see who will progress to take on the Tigers of Sheffield or Glasgow for a chance to be crowned champions and lift the coveted SGB Championship trophy.
The Monarchs have a decent record at Foxhall the home of the Witches but know that a tough match lies ahead, the task being made all the harder by the withdrawal of Mark Riss after a heavy crash at Wolverhampton last night. Of course the rest of the team were triumphant on our last visit to Suffolk minus Mark and the same level of endeavour will be required tonight if we are to match that result or even come close to it.
The Witches have been in imperious form around their own circuit since that somewhat shock result back at the end of July hitting at least 50 in all their home matches and not allowing anyone to leave with as much as the consolation point since. This however all counts for nothing as both teams start at zero in a traditional 2 legged knockout affair with no double point tactical rides allowed either.
For the home men well they go into the meeting missing two of their normal 1-7, it has been known for a while that former Monarch Justin Sedgmen’s season was over courtesy of a shoulder injury but fellow middle order man Cameron Heeps had hoped to return this evening but again a shoulder injury put paid to that. Rider replacement operates for Heeps which allows all bar number 1 Danny King an extra ride and Workington’s Mason Campton guests in place of Sedgmen Campton being a tasty performer around Foxhall having recorded a paid 13 score on his last visit there.
With a top two of Danny King and Rory Schlein you know you are always going to be up against it in the big heats and the Monarchs will need big performances from Ricky and Erik if we are to nullify that threat.
Elsewhere with rider replacement in operation for Mark this will put a little added pressure onto Max and Mitch at the bottom end as they will need to take 10 rides minimum between them a strong performance from either or both of those pair could go a long way to helping the Monarchs achieve something although again this will be no easy task against the impressive Nathan Greaves and Connor Mountain pairing for the home men.
So a tense encounter looks likely with two reasonably even matched sides. The Monarchs will be hopeful of keeping the result to a maximum of a 10 point deficit if we are to have any chance of progressing at Armadale tomorrow evening but this is a match that could go either way and as always at this stage of the season there are sure to be some shocks in store.