REPORT Saturday 9th September 2017, 11:26pm
A mixture of a lack of heat wins and bottom end scoring was ultimately to be the Parsons Peebles Monarchs downfall as they left Shielfield Park empty handed going down 49-41 to the Berwick Bandits on Saturday evening.
The Monarchs had travelled south in the hope of picking up some league points to help pad the gap between them and the Redcar Bears as the chase for 4th place and the final playoff spot in the league nears its climax and made a promising start being 4 ahead after 4 races.
As is often the case at Shielfield getting out the start was paramount as the track appeared to be prepared in a way that suited neither home nor away riders all of whom were largely tentative particularly entering the 1st bend in the early stages. Ricky Wells and Erik Riss being the Monarchs heat winners in the first quartet of races to allow for this 4 point gap to be built.
Unfortunately this was to be the high point of the night for the Monarchs and total half of the Monarchs heat wins as they could only muster a further 2 the rest of the way.
The Bandits started to chip into the lead immediately after heat 4 hitting back with a brace of 4-2 advantages of their own and without the top end power of captain and number 1 Sam Masters the Monarchs lacked the stopper required to ebb the flow. Further heat advantages for the home men in heats 8 and 10 put them 4 up and looking at the remaining races it was hard to see where the Armadale men could claw the points back.
Monarchs guest Lasse Bjerre who battled manfully throughout did stop the rot somewhat in heat 11 with his sole race win of the night but with Mark Riss at the back no headway could be made.
It was to be a frustrating night for the Monarchs faithful who watched as their men stayed in contact without ever looking likely to snatch anything. The travelling support ever hopeful that a piece of inspiration could come from somewhere to spark a fight back but this was not to come and the Monarchs last chance of a point was extinguished when David Howe who rolled back the years on the night made a lightning start in the last race to head home the Monarchs pair in the last race his partner Nick Morris who had looked unstoppable earlier in the meeting either realising it was job done or knowing he would make no headway on the track pootling round at the back pulling wheelies down the straights.
So it is now onto Scunthorpe for the Monarchs where once again they will look for a spark to fire them into the playoffs and on a confident footing.