|Sheffield PIRTEK 'Tigers' v Edinburgh Fulfilment Factory 'Monarchs'||Premier League||7th July|
|Richard Hall r/r||
|André Compton ©||8.57||3||3||3||2||3||14|
|Theo Pijper ©||8.80||1||2||2||3||2||10|
|Chris Mills (g)||4.58||1||0||1||1'||1'||4+2|
Ben rounded the field to exit turn 2 leading in heat 1 and guest George Stancl elected to ride shotgun. He twice pulled alongside Ben but dropped back to cover any potential moves from Theo Pijper. An excellent piece of team riding. Kyle dominated heat 2 and Paul just had the pace to head Chris Mills, with William Lawson trying some experimental lines at the back of the field. Ricky trapped to win heat 3 but after a poor start Ben never troubled Cameron Woodward and Daniel Nermark who shared the heat. Chris Mills made a blinding start to heat 4 but André blasted round him on turn 2 and then Rusty Harrison did likewise on turn 3 and also Kyle on turn 4, with Rusty outpacing Kyle for a good second place. Ricky led heat 5 with Theo keeping him on his toes and Paul Cooper found the drive to round Kristian Lund on the pits turn to extend the lead to 12 points.
Rusty was on a tactical ride in heat 6 but Ben made another blistering start and George exited turn 2 in second for another maximum home win. It was Cameron's turn for the black & white helmet in heat 7 but André made no mistake to take a comfortable win. Cameron and Daniel easily outpaced Paul and the Monarchs took their first heat win 3-5. The Monarch's fightback ended just as soon as it began though. Ben made another great start to win heat 8 with Chris Mills and Kyle disputing second place to entertain us. Chris made a sweet move on the inside of turn one on the last lap to ease into second place, but Kyle wound it all on to re-pass Chris exiting the final bend. Ricky won heat 9 from tapes to flag while everyone watched the scrap behind. Rusty seemed to have second place in the bag ahead of Kyle who was under considerable pressure from William. Hard to tell the intention from my vantage point at the other end of the stadium but perhaps Rusty was trying to help his partner when he was slow entering the first turn on the last lap, but he very nearly surrendered second place to Kyle. Kyle then tried again on the third turn and not only did Rusty hold him off but William nearly sneaked past him on the run to the line. Ben made another electric start to lead heat 10 with Daniel working hard to contain George Stancl and Cameron climbing all over his back wheel. Cameron got his nose in front on the second lap only for George to pass both him and Daniel on the inside of the third bend. Daniel's wide line gave him the momentum to re-pass George and after a couple more closely contested laps that was the finishing order.
Chris Mills took the disappointing Kristian Lund's last ride, and trapped strongly to share the lead with Theo. André passed them both with a superb 3rd bend maneouvre and although Theo recovered to put him under pressure he never looked like making the pass. William trapped to lead heat 12 but Ricky wasted no time scything past on the third turn. Cameron recovered to pass Kyle on the second lap and then held onto third despite Kyle's best efforts. Theo got the drop in heat 13 and rode a good fast race to claim the Monarch's first chequered flag, leaving André little opportunity to get on terms. Rusty pulled off the track with engine problems in the early stages. Daniel and Chris both trapped well in heat 14 and Ricky had to work hard to catch Daniel before swooping past on the second bend on lap 2. Paul struggled to match Chris Mills' pace losing ground lap after lap and his bike eventually ground to a halt after the flag and had to be carried back to the pits leaving him disconsolately wondering what can go wrong next. André gained revenge by outpacing Theo to win heat 15, just holding on to his advantage riding an unusual (for André at Owlerton) line hugging the inside all the way to the flag.
The Monarchs weren't quite the 'lambs to the slaughter' many expected after their drubbing at Somerset the night before and although the result was never in doubt after the first few races the racing improved as the night progressed. Chris Mills certainly impressed and surely merits a Premier berth somewhere, although I'm sorry I can't say the same for the Monarch's latest signing. Ross Brady would have revelled in the conditions and would have put an altogether different complexion on the match.
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