Glasgow Tigers 44 Edinburgh Monarchs 51
GLASGOW TIGERS fans turned up at Ashfield on Saturday unsure of who would be filling the vests for their injury-ravaged side against newly-crowned champions Edinburgh.
Top riders Joe Screen and Josh Grajzconek were both, as expected, ruled out but, adding to the club's problems, the original choices of guest replacements were then injured at Berwick on Saturday.
In the end the Glasgow management team turned to Birmingham's Jason Lyons and Berwick's Lee Complin as 'replacements for the replacements' - and with hugely contrasting results as Lyons struggled badly all day while Complin stole the show with a staggering 16-point haul.
The contrast between the two sides going into the meeting could hardly have been more stark. The Monarchs arrived in town having been crowned Premier League champions following their victory at Stoke on Saturday night and were at full strength.
For the second week running the Tigers conceded an opening heat 5-1 reversal with Lyons machine not sounding at all healthy leaving the Monarchs pair to streak away for maximum points.
Heats two and three were shared with Monarchs Ashfield first timer Kevin Wolbert looking impressive winning heat three.
Heat four saw Andrew Tully and William Lawson score a 4-2 over Complin to take the scores to 9-15 in favour of the Monarchs.
Travis McGowan became the Tigers first heat winner holding off the spectacular Ryan Fisher and Matt Wethers for a shared heat. More bad luck for Lyons in the next when he fell awkwardly whilst trailing Andrew Tully. The ensuing re-run saw Nick Morris lead for a couple of laps before Tully powered around him on the third and fourth turns much to the delight of the large and noisy travelling support to take the scores to 14-22.
In heat seven the flying Complin lowered Wolberts' colours with a spectacular fence scraping ride to win the heat and with Lee Dicken picking up the point for third the Tigers had temporarily stemmed the tide. Complin won heat eight, a drawn race, and McGowan and Morris took a 4-2 when Tully fell making the scores a far more respectable 25-29. Could a Tigers fight back be on, the Ashfield loyal asked?
Sadly heats 10 and 11 were to be where the home team perished. Lyons, who had been victorious the night before in an individual meeting at Workington, could only finish a sorry third behind Monarchs pair Wolbert and Kalle Katajisto and more punishment followed with another Monarchs 5-1 this time from Fisher and Wethers over Complin to take the scores to 27-39. Complin could not be faulted for effort, exploring many lines to try and get past the Monarchs pair but just falling short.
Maybe only pride at stake now for the Tigers, however they did rally to outscore the visitors over the last four heats due mainly to the black and white helmet colour which gives the bearer double points.
Morris was first up in the 12th heat and finished second, the heat drawn 4-4. Complin was a comfortable winner in the next taking six points for a 6-3 to make the scores 37-46 with two to go.
McGowan won his third race of the day and with Dicken getting past Lawson as he was breaking down the Tigers 4-2 meant they went into the last heat 41-48 in arrears.
Wolbert took a re-run heat 15, after Fisher fell, with McGowan and Complin in second and third making the final score 44-51.
The Tigers were left to rue the poor showing from guest Jason Lyons whose one point score didn't dent the score charts.
On the other hand Lee Complin did all that was expected of him and more. His spectacular style and commitment would be welcomed at Ashfield on a weekly basis by the Glasgow management.
After the meeting Monarchs Kevin Wolbert heaped praise on the Ashfield circuit by saying: "It was the best track that I have ridden on in the UK."
Unfortnuately there are no points handed out for sparkling tracks - only sparkling speedway for which the Tigers are struggling at the moment.
Next up is a home fixture against King's Lynn Stars on Sunday, tapes up 4pm.
Tigers Scorers v Edinburgh: Lyons 1, Morris 8, McGowan 13, Complin 16, Dicken 4, Anderson 2
Pic: Ian Adam