Edinburgh Monarchs 54-39 Berwick Bandits

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Berwick lost their opening fixture in the Premier League play-offs when they went down at Edinburgh on Friday.

As the Bandits do not have the best of records at Armadale, this was perhaps an expected result, but the final scoreline was closer than some might have predicted.

In the main that was diwn to the form of Kevin Doolan, who top-scored with 16 points, which included a double-pointed tactical win.

The reserve pairing of Alex Edberg and Matty Wethers also weighed in with paid 19 points between them, but by the end of the evening Wethers fell sick, presumably picking up the same bug which had laid low Edinburgh skipper Derek Sneddon for the meeting, and he was immediately withdrawn for Saturday’s resurn fixture between the sides at Shielfield.

Bandits had gone into the meeting with only six riders after Steen Jensen sustained a groin and viral injury and had been ordered to rest by doctors.

With Edberg prominent in the first two races, Berwick edged 4-8 ahead, but with Sam Masters racing to a paid 15 maximum for the Monarchs, and Craig Cook, Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen and Stevie Worrall all in the points, all picking up race wins, the home side gradually started to exert their authority.

Edberg won three races and Doolan one, but the usually reliable Claus Vissing and Matej Kus both had off-nights which affected the team’s overall scoring.

Afterwards, director George Hepburn said: “We might have lost, but this was one of our best performances at Edinburgh for a long time, so we have to take the positives from the meeting.”

Edinburgh: Masters 13+2 (max), Cook 12+1, Fricke 9, Sedgmen 8+2, Worrall 8+2, Fox 4, Clegg 0.

Berwick: Doolan 16, Edberg 10+1, Wethers 7+1, Kus 4+1, Vissing 2, Bellego 0, Jensen rider rep.