Edinburgh Monarchs 59 Redcar Bears 37

Redcar Bears completed their Premier League fixtures for the year with a comprehensive defeat at high-flying Edinburgh.

The defeat, it has to be said, was a predictable one given that the Ecco Finishing Bears have missed out on the play-offs while their hosts were heading into a hectic weekend in a good position to finish top of the table at the end of the regular season.

The Monarchs haven’t dropped a point at home all season and the enormity of the Bears’ task became all the more obvious as they found themselves 15-3 down after three heats.

Craig Cook and former Bear Justin Sedgmen led the way in heat one as they outgated Richard Lawson and Mark Lemon but in heat two it looked odds on that the Bears would peg the Monarchs back.

Jan Graversen and Rafal Konopka both made fantastic starts ahead of Aaron Fox and Derek Sneddon. Graversen was clear at the front but after Fox passed Konopka it was Sneddon’s turn to try and get past the young Pole.

Sneddon came underneath Konopka going into turn one and the pressure was enough to unsettle the Redcar rider who went down. Referee Willie Dishington ordered a re-run and this time the Monarchs made no mistake and recorded another 5-1.

With the Bears 14 down after four heats the Redcar management decided to give the black and white helmet colour to Lawson for heat five.

The Cumbrian delivered the six points to halt the Monarchs bandwagon but team-mate Lemon couldn’t split the home pair of Max Fricke and ex-Bear Steve Worrall to increase the advantage. It was a welcome 6-3  but the Bears couldn’t build on the glimmer of hope that Lawson had provided.

Edinburgh followed up Lawson’s six points with three heat advantages in a row to go 19 points ahead and the chances of the Bears becoming the first side to leave Armadale with a point were blown away.

The Bears can take one positive from the meeting in that Summers and Lawson became the first duo to secure heat advantages in both heat 13 and 15 against the Monarchs this season.

Cook and Australian Sam Masters have been in superb form around their home track all year but the Bears duo upset the applecart in heat 13 with a 5-1 of their own to put some respectability back into the scoreline.

Summers made it back to back race wins in heat 15 and the former Monarch was on top form on his return to his former track.

“With the form that Edinburgh are in at home, it was always going to be tough coming here,” reflected the skipper. “We have been struggling ourselves lately, even at home, so it was always going to be very tough.

“From my point of view I thought I had a good meeting, I had a slow start but I finished off strong. I’ve been going to Edinburgh for a couple of years now and I always look forward to going back there. To be honest it is my favourite Premier League track and every time we go there I enjoy it.”

The Bears had to go with only one rider in heat 14 as Konopka had bike problems and no spare machine.

“We needed our reserves to score tonight,” added Summers, “and after the way Rafal scored at the Scottish Open I thought he would have been alright.

“He’s had a bit of a tough run recently. He bent his No 1 bike the other week and hasn’t been able to get the problem fixed.”

MONARCHS: Justin Sedgmen 12+2, Max Fricke 10, Sam Masters 10, Craig Cook 8+1, Aaron Fox 7+1, Steve Worrall 6+4, Derek Sneddon 6.

BEARS: Aaron Summers 15, Richard Lawson 12+1, Carl Wilkinson 5, Jan Graversen 3, Hugh Skidmore 2, Mark Lemon 0, Rafal Konopka 0.

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