The Parsons Peebles Monarchs failed narrowly to overturn Ipswich’s 10-point lead from the first leg of the Championship Playoff semi-final, beating Ipswich 48-41 on the night but going down 88-91 on aggregate. The Witches will meet either Sheffield or Glasgow in the Final and we wish them well.
Sam Masters said “I think we could have qualified, but we made too many mistakes between us including me running a last.”
Erik Riss, unbeaten till heat 15, added “In the final heat I clashed elbows with Rory then tried to cut back under him down the straight, and I thought I could pass him with Sam in front. But Rory passed Sam and that was that.”
It was a frustrating night for the home side because it was probably their own errors which cost them victory. It was also a controversial night, but in the end it came down to the final heat with Monarchs needing a 5-1 to go through. For a tantalising moment it seemed we might get it with Sam Masters edging ahead and Erik Riss pushing hard on Rory Schlein down the back straight, but rather than Erik catching Rory, it was Rory who caught Sam at the next bend. Once our former rider got ahead, that was that.
Rory was the main man for the Witches, no doubt about that, with Danny King floundering badly and scoring just 4. However they also had very good contributions from Kyle Newman and the reserves Nathan Greaves and Connor Mountain.
Monarchs’ reserves had had a good outing in the first leg but they were outscored 11-5 at Armadale which was one of the sources of the problem. Mitchell Davey didn’t get amongst the scorers and Max Clegg didn’t reach his potential either.
We made such a fine start in heat 1. Initially Danny King actually touched the tapes with a lunge forward, but this was not spotted by referee Ronnie Allen who only warned the Witches’ captain. It made no difference as Danny was poorly away and eventually stopped, as Ricky Wells and Josh Pickering took a comfortable 5-1. That also used up Mason Campton’s rider replacement ride.
Unfortunately we then made out first major blunder of the night, Max Clegg riding into the tapes off gate one in heat 2. We really needed him to take that heat but off 15 metres though he quickly closed on the opposition, he could not pass. Mitchell Davey was initially in a scoring position but dropped back.
Undaunted we quickly took another 5-1 from Sam Masters and Mark Riss. Imagine if we had shared heat 2 as we hoped! We would have been getting close and worrying the Witches.
Erik Riss beat Schlein in heat 4 but again Mitchell Davey could not get the better of Mountain. Sam and Mark took a 4-2 from King in heat 5 and at 18-12 things were looking promising.
However Witches took that one straight back as Rory Schlein beat Ricky Wells and Josh Pickering finished adrift of the tenacious Greaves. We used heat 7 for Mitchell’s third ride as he was struggling, and we shared it as Erik headed home Campton and Newman.
Heat 8 was a very controversial heat and the biggest talking point afterwards. In the first running Josh Pickering landed in the third bend air fence and was excluded. In the rerun Max Clegg slotted into second down the back straight, but rider replacement Schlein was looking across at him. Clearly Rory was considering slowing the heat to allow Greaves to come round Clegg, but as they arrived at the third corner Rory really did seem to overdo the slowing up. He was virtually stationary as Clegg clipped his back wheel and fell. Max was far from happy and the ref should have at least considered putting some blame on the Ipswich heat leader.
The resultant 5-0 completely changed the meeting and put the Witches ahead. Mark Riss won heat 9 well from Schlein (who had been within a whisker of touching the tapes) but Sam Masters was pushed out and could not grab a point. It could have got worse in the next one as Newman and Campton led before Campton spun off. We were now at heat 10 and a point down on the night.
Monarchs needed advantages and they got one in heat 11 with Erik Riss’s third win of the night, and Clegg’s pass on Greaves. A point ahead, 9 down on aggregate.
Heat 12, another 4-2 with Sam back on song and Clegg again gaining a point after a poor start. Better gating, and who knows what Clegg might have scored – but how often have we said that?
More controversy in heat 13. Danny King away quickly – too quickly said the ref though it seemed marginal. Added to the warning from heat 1 Danny was out and rather than go off 15 metres, he bowed out and Mountain went from the gate. In the restart, Ricky Wells gated well from the inside and moved out to prevent Schlein’s outside run – not leaving a lot of room, but when Rory ran into the air fence, he was out too!
So that was an easy 5-1 and now Monarchs were 7 up, three down on aggregate. Heat 14 had to be a chance – but a crucial gate from Newman off the inside took the three points as Mark Riss lifted wildly down the back straight. He did well to regain control.
That’s how it came down to that last heat, with Rory Schlein’s ride taking the Witches through.
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Ricky Wells||3||2||2||3||10||0|
|2. Josh Pickering||2*||0||Fx||1*||3||2|
|3. Sam Masters||3||3||0||3||2||11||0|
|4. Mark Riss||2*||1||3||1*||7||2|
|5. Erik Riss||3||3||3||2*||1*||12||2|
|6. Max Clegg||1||X||1||1||2||5||0|
|7. Mitchell Davey||0||0||0||0||0|
Team Manager: Richie Hawkins
|1. Danny King||R||2||2||0||4||0|
|2. Cameron Heeps R/R||0||0|
|3. Mason Campton||1||1||1*||F||2||5||1|
|4. Kyle Newman||0||2||3||0||3||8||0|
|5. Rory Schlein||2||3||3||2||Fx||3||13||0|
|6. Nathan Greaves||2*-||0||1||2*||0||F||5||2|
|7. Connor Mountain||3||1*||1*||1||6||2|
It all comes down to this! It’s the second leg of the SGB Championship playoff semi final against the Ipswich Witches at Armadale as we look to overturn a 10 point deficit from the first leg on Thursday night and clinch a final berth.
A tough task lies ahead as the Witches have been competitive visitors to Armadale this year going down by 8 and 4 points in their two league visits, of course if either of these results are repeated tonight then it will be season over for the Monarchs and it will be the Witches marching on.
The Monarchs battled hard last night but we did not have the heat winning back up to captain Sam Masters who was back to his best with a 14 point haul. This will need to be reversed this Friday with the Monarchs needing to fire all cylinders from all parts of the team if we are to progress.
We will be boosted by the return of Mark Riss from injury. Mark was a huge miss at Ipswich last night as his rider replacement rides netted only 2 points and we will be looking for him to be back to form tonight.
Elsewhere Sam will continue at number 3 with Ricky at 1 with the new averages in place. Josh rides at 2 with Mark slotting back into the number 4 slot and with no tactical rides available tonight there is no need to worry about potentially nullifying one of these also.
For the Witches they line-up exactly the same as the 1st leg with rider replacement operating for Cameron Heeps allowing everyone bar Danny King an extra ride and Mason Campton who did such a good job guesting for the Suffolk men at Foxhall retaining his place in place of injured Justin Sedgmen.
The rest of the Witches are as planned with Danny King and Rory Schlein leading the way and Kyle Newman providing backup. Add to this one of the most impressive reserve pairings in the league in Nathan Greaves and Connor Mountain and it is easy to see why Chris Louis’s men had such a good season and finished second in the standings.
So the night of the season is here, a tense and exciting affair lies ahead under the lights at Armadale. Can the Monarchs progress? One thing is for sure our Blue and Gold heroes will need every bit of support we can give them and a loud support will surely gee the boys on to perform. I for one can’t wait and as always See You There!
Friday 22nd September 2017, 10:11pm
Rory Schlein won heat 15 to knock the Parsons Peebles Monarchs out of the Play-offs. The Monarchs won 48 to 41 on the night but lost 91 to 88 on aggregate. Well done to the Witches.
Wednesday 20th September 2017, 2:20pm
After a season of ups and downs it’s now time to get down to business as the Parsons Peebles Monarchs take on the Ipswich Witches in the SGB Championship playoffs this week with a place in the grand final and a league title shot on the line.
Monday 18th September 2017, 1:00pm
League leaders, Sheffield, selected Glasgow as their play-off semi final opponents and that means we'll be racing Ipswich in our semi final.