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Early Bandits' success fails to halt Monarch's win

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Edinburgh "Staggs Bar" Monarchs 57
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 33
SGB Championship Knockout Cup 1/4 Final 1st leg

A Cup Quarter Final when coupled with a local derby is always a recipe for hot and heavy action as the Berwick Bandits travelled to the Edinburgh Monarchs last night, knowing it has never been a happy hunting ground for the Border's seven, but with the main aim of the game to keep the scores close to give Berwick a decent chance at Shielfield Park tonight (7.00pm) in the deciding leg, it was all to play for.

After the Monarchs took Heat One 4-2 it was former Edinburgh man, Theo Pijper who took the first Bandits' chequered flag in Heat Two ahead of Max Ruml and Joel Andersson who kept Dany Gappmaier at the rear to take move the score on to 7-5, but come the third race, rejected Monarch, Jye Etheridge did the thing he loves to do most, and won a race over his former team in fine style over a hard-pushing Josh Pickering, and with David Howe taking third despite both Monarchs visibly moving at the tapes, the scores were tired 9-9.

The sides then exchanged 4-2s, Edinburgh taking the fourth with a solid win from Erik Riss over Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen followed by a great Summers win in Heat Five, holding Pickering in second as skipper Doolan took the third placed point taking the scores to a tight 15-15, just as the Bandits were hoping.

However the plan went off the rails to a degree in Heat Six when new-Monarch, Victor Palovaara rode hard with Wells to relegate Busk Jakobsen to third and put a rare four-point cushion between the sides before it was Howe's chance to shine, taking Heat Seven well over home skipper Erik Ross and Max Ruml.

Heat Eight saw Pijper lead well over most of the four laps but Andersson was reeling him in little bit by little bit to whip up past the Bandits on the finish line in a 3-3, maintaining the four-point gap, which doubled to eight after Heat Nine's 5-1 to Pickering and Mark Riss who shot ahead of Busk Jakobson from the gate taking the score to 31-23.

After a Heat 10 home 4-2, putting Edinburgh 10 ahead, while Summers held that deficit taking another great win in Heat 11's share of the spoils as Ruml battled hard to keep Doolan at the back however Pickering joined his partner, Andersson up front in Heat 12 after a mammoth battle with Pijper with the 5-1 taking the score to 43-29, which extended to 18 worrying points after another home maximum in the 13th.

Unfortunately as Edinburgh's charge continued, the final score of 57-33 presented the Bandits with a far steeper mountain than they would have hoped for.

Team manager Scott Courtney said: "The guys were well up for this tonight, and early on I think we had the Monarchs worried, but they just hit their turbo-charges later on and we were left lacking, but despite the larger that we'd like defeat, we have them at home on Saturday and we'll be all out for a semi-final place which means 15 superb heats still to come!"

Individual Riders' Score Chart:

Edinburgh "Staggs Bar" Monarchs 57

Ricky Wells 3,2*,3,3,3 = 14+1
Victor Palovaara 1,3,0,1 = 5
Josh Pickering 2,2,3,2* = 9+1
Mark Riss 0,0,2*,3 = 5+1
Erik Riss (c) 3,2,2,2*,2* = 11+2
Max Ruml (r) 2,1*,1*,1 = 5+2
Joel Andersson (r) 1*,1,3,3 = 8+1

Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 33

Aaron Summers 0,3,3,1,0 = 7
Kevin Doolan (c) 2,1,1*,0 = 4+1
Jye Etheridge 3,0,2,0 = 5
David Howe 1,3,0,2,1 = 7
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 2,1,1,0 = 4
Dany Gappmaier (r) 0,0,0,N = 0
Theo Pijper (r) 3,0,2,1 = 6