Monarchs handed the title as Rebels fail at Birmingham

EDINBURGH Scotwaste Monarchs clinched the Premier League speedway championship crown last night after Birmingham Brummies produced the shock result of the season against Somerset Rebels.

After becoming the first team to win at the Isle of Wight this season on Tuesday, the Rebels looked like forcing Monarchs to beat arch rivals Glasgow Tigers at Ashfield on October 12 to clinch the title.

But Birmingham produced an outstanding performance at Perry Barr to beat Somerset 48-44 which made Monarchs champions for the second time in six years.

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Monarchs skipper Derek Sneddon today said: "I'm overjoyed for the whole team. I was always dubious about the Isle of Wight's chances against Somerset, but I don't think anyone seriously believed it would be Birmingham who would do us the favour we needed to win the league.

"The pressure is now off, we can go to Glasgow and enjoy ourselves now."

Monarchs boss John Campbell revealed he spoke to Brummies boss Graham Drury yesterday afternoon and told him it was a foregone conclusion Somerset would beat his team. Campbell said: "Graham replied when my team ride at their best they are capable of anything, and so it proved."

Campbell paid tribute to his triumphant Monarchs team and admitted: "We should have won the title weeks ago but I'm delighted it's happened now.

"I've always remained confident we would do what was required of us to win the title and had we been forced to go to Glasgow, it would have been a nervy meeting for sure, but I'm sure we would have done it. We don't have to worry about that now, we can go there and enjoy ourselves."

Campbell went on: "This is the best Monarchs team I've worked with. They are just a great bunch of guys and are very deserving of this success. I'm just delighted for them."

Campbell and co-promoter Alex Harkess assembled a solid scoring squad this season without any big names and their gamble has paid off.

"They are all superstars," said Campbell, "They are capable of anything and everything. They have been tremendous, I can't praise them enough."

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Monarchs have proved that their history-making 2003 triumph was no fluke and that success can be bred at the club. Said Campbell: "Most of the team rode for me for the Dale Devils in the Conference League at one time or another. Riders that we brought on from nowhere to league champions. This is very satisfying."

Sneddon, by common consent, has been an inspirational captain this season for Monarchs and Campbell said of the Falkirk ace: "He is a great captain of a great team. Even at Newcastle, which was a personal disaster for him, he still went round the whole team telling them they could win the match. And that's what they did. Had we lost at Newcastle that might have cost us the league. Derek has been superb, driving everybody on all the time. I'm proud of him."

Monarchs will not receive the championship trophy until after their final league fixture next month. Added Campbell: "We are keen that Thomas (Jonasson) should be at the presentation when it happens. We still have some very big matches to come at Armadale and we don't want any distractions.

"We will announce our plans in due course."