MATCH REPORT: Monarchs hold off Coventry challenge
The Birmingham Monarchs wrapped up their league programme by taking victory in the 1st division match over Coventry, although both 2nd and 3rd division teams fell to defeats. Four riders who were successful podium finishers in last weekends British Championships were on show at Perry Bar, including Open Champion Myke Grimes. Nick Yarworth from British Cycling was also on hand to present the Birmingham Club with their Go Ride certificate.
The Monarchs faced a battling and determined Coventry side who fought hard throughout. Chris Timms opened with a heat 1 win over Grimes in a 5 all opening heat. Three further heat advantages followed in the next 5 heats to take control of the meeting (35-23) before Coventry hit back with advantages in the 7th and 8th to move to within 6 at the interval (47-41).
Birmingham hit strong after the break with 2 maximums won by veterans Hodgkinson (10th and Paul Timms 11th) to move 14 points clear. Coventry finished on a high by taking a 6-4 in the final race, however the Monarch men held control throughout the 2nd half to ensure the victory was confirmed.
Grimes was the standout rider, going unbeaten after a 1st race defeat and had support from Dominik Rycharski. For the Monarchs 6 different riders took at least a paid win. Mark Winwood top scored on 18.
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Mark Winwood 18 (5), Chris Timms 17+1 (5), Paul Timms 16 (5), Scott Millward 15+3 (5), Steve Hodgkinson 12 (4), Ewan Hancox 11+4 (5), Jake Steel 7+1 (5), Billy Winwood 3+1
Matt Lawrence 10+2, Myke Grimes 19, Cameron Gill 9+2, Sam Hardie 9, Dominik Rycharksi 16, Jimmy Wassall 8+1, Ollie Morris 5, Joe Andrews 3
In the Division 2 fixture it was all one way traffic for the visitors who were way too strong for mostly younger Monarchs side. Jake Steel took 2 wins for the Monarchs. William Arkinstall also took a victory in a much improved performance.
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Jake Steel 11 (4), William Arkinstall 11 (4), Billy Winwood 7 (4), Phil Widdas 6+1 (3), Natalie Timms 5 (3), Rebekah Humphries 5 (4), Vinnay Chawla 5 (5), Ryan Winwood 4 (3)
Jimmy Wassall 10, Tom Savage 8+1, Kyle Barlow 19, Lee Gregory 9+2, Ollie Morris 18+2, Cameron Gill 13+3, Owen Gregory 9+1, Ben Wells 9+3
In the Division 3 fixture the Mini Monarchs were beaten for the first time this season and first time in 2 years, as Coventry took a well earned victory with a very strong performance.
Such was the solidity of the young Coventry side that they restricted the home side to just one heat win and advantage. Despite the loss the Monarchs were still crowned Division 3 champions for the 3rd season running.
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Connor Steel 9 (3), Ryan Winwood 8+1 (3), Billy Winwood 8 (3), Rebekah Humphries 6+1 (3), Charlie Buet Gannon 6+1 (4)
Ronnie Wassall 8, Tom Savage 12+1, Ben Wells 16, Jack Reynolds 4, James Morris 3
Mark Winwood finished 4th in Glasgow in round 6 of the Eurovets Series, he remains 3rd overall.
This weekend sees the start of the Play offs, which will be hosted by division one champions Wednesfield. The host club are joined by runners up Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry. The winners will join the other regional play offs winners to battle for the Regional title in 3 weeks time.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday at the track, 6pm under 16’s, 7pm seniors. Newcomers welcome.
Keep up to date with Birmingham Monarchs news at birminghammonarchs.wordpress.com, and follow the Monarchs on Twitter with the handle @brummonarchs.
Report by Steve Hodgkinson