Workington Comets 48 Edinburgh Monarchs 42

Workington Comets stayed right in the mix for the SGB Championship play-offs by bouncing back from a heavy defeat at Edinburgh with a crucial, entertaining win against the Monarchs at Derwent Park.

A Friday night to forget had seen Workington lose by 40 points to their top-four rivals in a 65-25 rout but they showed their character the following day in an all-action meeting which put them seventh but level on 30 points with the three teams above them.

It wasn’t the start Comets would have hoped for as they looked to bounce back, with Nicolai Klindt replaced by Mason Campton after the Dane missed the two minutes before Ricky Wells combined with Victor Palovaara for an away 4-2 from the gate.

The hosts responded emphatically as Campton got a dominant win and was joined by Kyle Bickley as the youngster blasted past both Monarchs on the third bend for a Comets 5-1.

Richie Worrall darted to the front of heat three and, although Rene Bach was steady behind him, Workington guest Ben Barker struggled and wound up at the back in another away 4-2 as the play-off hopefuls continued to trade blows.

Erik Riss looked at home in the lead in heat four but Campton and Ty Proctor settled in behind him to share the points, before Barker split the visitors to limit them to a 4-2 in heat five as Bach pulled up.

Klindt suffered bike trouble again before heat six but he made the gate only for first Riss then Jensen to whip past him and the latter was in confident mood as he caught Riss with a sensational swoop around the outside on the final bend to earn a Workington 4-2.

A fantastic gate from Worrall gave him the lead in heat seven and Pickering slotted in behind for an away 5-1 despite pressure from Proctor.

Campton was penalised for his start in the next heat but his gate in the re-run was flawless and Jensen was almost as good to join him at the front, but Andersson wasn’t giving up and nudged his way between the pair.

Jensen and Andersson took turns to hold second with the Comet the man on the spot going across the line to earn a vital home 5-1.

Bach’s flying start to the next race put him in the driving seat and Barker enjoyed a brief tussle with Riss to battle his way into second and clinch a second Comets 5-1 in a row and turn a four-point deficit into a four-point lead in two races.

A suspect start from Worrall was pulled back by the referee in heat 10 before Klindt got tangled up in the tapes in the re-run and was duly excluded and warned, with the Dane electing to start 15 metres back.

With his team-mate at a disadvantage, Jensen needed to get the win and he continued his phenomenal night with a swashbuckling ride to beat Pickering and Worrall for a draw.

Comets still had a slender lead to protect and Proctor expertly resisted the attention of former Workington No.1 Ricky Wells as Bickley had another storming ride for a point ahead of Palovaara in a 4-2.

The home side gated on a 5-1 in heat 12 but both Monarchs breezed past Campton and set about what looked like a fruitless pursuit of Barker until the final bend saw Pickering make a staggering move for the lead and an Edinburgh 4-2.

Heat 13 saw the Monarchs hit back in a big way to level the scores with a 5-1 as Klindt’s mechanical woes continued and Proctor chased down Wells and Riss but couldn’t find a way through.

That result piled the pressure on heat 14 and Bach thrived under it as he drove up the inside of the track to pass Worrall while Campton came in third to edge Workington ahead with one heat to go.

A draw would give Comets victory but Bach had the bit between his teeth and charged to the front before the unstoppable Jensen bullied his way through into second, only for Pickering to crash out and the race to be stopped and awarded as a home 5-1 to make the final score 48-42.