Edinburgh Monarchs won the final heat 4-2 to earn a 45-45 draw with battling Redcar Bears in their SGB Championship opener.

Alex Harkess, Monarchs’ team manager (pictured right), was disappointed that the home side didn’t win after their top two riders had achieved a 5-1 position in that final race.

He added: “I don’t know if they got too close to each other but I expected a 5-1 from these two from that position. Overall, we knew it would be a hard match.”

The men spotlighted by Harkess were Sam Masters and Richie Worrall. They led the way on the opening lap but a clever ride by Michael Palm Toft saw him slip inside Worrall.

Even though Masters tried hard to slow the heat and give his partner a chance, that’s how it finished.

There were several outstanding heats during the evening. Monarchs had 11 race winners to Bears’ four, but they also had nine last places to Bears six and that cost them two match points.

The heat leaders totalled 34 points and the other main success was Thomson with his race win and some spirited riding on his home debut.

MONARCHS 45: Masters 13, Worrall 11, Pickering 10, Lawson 5, Thomson 4, Greaves 2, Lawlor 0.

BEARS 45: Palm Toft 11, Allen 10, Sarjeant 7, Rowe 6, Wright 5, Stewart 3, Jenkins 3.