Bandits race to one of their biggest ever away victories

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BERWICK recorded one of the biggest away victories in their 43 year history when they beat Plymouth on Saturday.

The meeting came at the end of their three-match tour, which also took in Sheffield and Somerset, and according to the management ‘everyone played their part.’

Tteam manager Ian Rae was naturally in jubilant mood afterwards when he said: “This was one of the very best Bandits’ team performances I’ve ever seen, and that’s over more than four decades!

“Every member of the side deserves the greatest credit for knuckling down and helping us put our mark on this away meeting. It was a magnificent effort and everyone played a vital role.”

Berwick had lost at both Sheffield on Thursday and Somerset on Friday, and no one in the camp expected them to bounce back in such a convincing fashion.

The four match points gained from the win meant Berwick moved up to tenth place in the Premier League table.

Meanwhile, the fixtures are now out for the second phase of the club’s PL programme.

Having already faced Sheffield in a second-phase meeting on Thursday the other confirmed dates are:

August

Sat 13 - Rye House (h); Sat 20 - Newcastle (h); Sat 27 - Workington (h), Mon 29 - Workington (a).

September

Sat 3 - Plymouth (h); Sat 10 - Sheffield (h); Sat 17 - Rye House (h); Thurs 22 - Ipswich (a); Fri 23 - Plymouth (a); Sat 24 - To be confirmed;

October

Sun 2 - Rye House (a).

Plymouth Devils 36

Berwick Bandits57

Berwick got off to the best possible start with a 5-1 in the opening heat from Swedish pairing Sebastian Alden and Ludvig Lingren, and that against Great Britain international Ben Barker, who was unbeaten in 31 straight victories around his home track.

From that point on Bandits simply went from strength to strength, despite a win by Kyle Hughes in heat two and three wins by Barker, including a double-pointed tactical.

The Devils included two former Berwick riders, Italian Guglielmo Franchetti and the Czech Republic’s Hynek Stichauer, but they had no answer for a Bandits’ side who were in rampant mood.

Alden went on to win four of his five races, only dropping one point, whilst Lingren was unbeaten in his first four, only mising out on his paid maximum when he was beaten into third place by Barker (behind Alden) in heat 15.

There were also two wins for Kozza Smith, Josef Franc and Lee Complin, whilst reserves Jade Mudgway and Mitchell Davey contributed nine (paid 12) between them.

There was one very nasty looking accident in heat nine when Jesper Kristiansen went under Stichauer and sent his team-mate flying over the safety fence, but thankfully the Czech was able to walk away unscathed.

Plymouth - B Barker 15, K Hughes 7, G Franchetti 5+1, H Stichauer 4, R Wells 3+1, L Smart 2, J Kristiansen 0. Berwick - S Alden 14, L Lingren 10+3, K Smith 8+1, J Franc 8, L Complin 8, M Davey 6+3, J Mudgway 3+1.

Sheffield Tigers52

Berwick Bandits 39

BERWICK started their three-match tour with a 13-point defeat at the hands of Sheffield on Thursday.

Owlerton has never been thehappiest of hunting grounds for Bandits, and so it proved again as the Tigers raced to a comfortable victory.

Despite having two riders who previously raced for the Yorkshire club in their ranks (Lee Complin and Josef Franc), the pair only managed to win one race between them, which perhaps wasn’t the level of support some fans had expected for top-scoring Sebastian Alden.

The Swede also only won one race, but he was consistent throughout the night, and with Kozza Smith the only other Bandit to take the chequered flag it was all Berwick could do to try and stay in contention.

For Sheffield veteran Shane Parker was in blistering form, scorching his way to a 15-point maximum, and with Josh Auty unbeaten in his first three rides, Ricky Ashworth winning two races and Simon Lambert proving useful at reserve, the Tigers, despite a slow start to the meeting, pulled away in the second half.

Berwick actually made a bright start to the meeting, taking a 4-2 in the opening race. But Sheffield pegged them back immediately. The scores moved on to 15-all after five, but after taking a 5-1 from six and a 4-2 from seven the home side established control and went on to win convincingly.

Sheffield - S Parker 15 (max), J Auty 8+1, S Lambert 8+1, H Skidmore 7, R Ashworth 6, E Sanchez 5+1, A Birks 3. Berwick - S Alden 10, K Smith 7+1, L Lingren 6+2, J Franc 6, L Complin 5, J Mudgway 3+1, M Davey 1.

Somerset Rebels59

Berwick Bandits31

BERWICK slipped to a second tour defeat when they went down to high-flying Somerset on Friday.

Reserve Mitchell Davey had his best away meeting since joining the Bandits, winning two races and taking a 5-1 in another, as he topped the scorecharts with an impressive 10+1.

Sebastian Alden won heat won, and there were also victories for Kozza Smith and Josef Franc, but they weren’t consistent enough and the strong Rebels side raced away for a comfortable victory.

Berwick’s performance wasn’t helped by tactical rides from Smith in 10 and Alden in 11, both of which resulted in 5-1s being recorded against them, and as the score moved on to 40-23 at that stage, the home side were guaranteed victory with four races remaining.

For Somerset Sam Masters was in unbeatable form as he stormed to a 14+1 paid maximum, Anders Mellgren was unbeaten in his last three rides and Corey Gathercole won each of the three races he finished.

After the meeting Berwick manager Ian Rae was philosophical about the defeat when he said: “I think tonight Somerset showed why they are a side who don’t fear anyone in the Premier League.

“There was some good racing from us at times, especially from Mitch Davey, who topped the scorecharts, but we just couldn’t handle it when the Rebels turned the screw in the second half of the meeting. At that stage we just couldn’t match them.”

Somerset - S Masters 14(p/max), A Mellgren 11+2, C Gathercole 9, C Heffenbrock 8+2,A Davies 7+2, T McGowan 6+2, J Holder 4+2. Berwick - M Davey 10+1, K Smith 7+1, S Alden 6, J Franc 4, L Complin 2, L Lingren 1, J Mudgway 1.