BERWICK BANDITS 39, SHEFFIELD TIGERS 39
Berwick and Sheffield fought out a fitting draw in this meeting which was held to honour a rider who had represented both clubs during his career.
But as was said by so many afterwards, the result was not that important - the evening was all about raising as much money as possible for the stricken Ricky Ashworth, who was still in a coma in hospital over eight weeks after his tragic on-track accident at Scunthorpe.
And with a healthy crowd, generous sponsorship, free ground rent, a host of other fund-raising activities and the riders offering their services for expenses only, that is precisely what happened.
In a meeting which was run over the old 13-heat formula, Sheffield held the early advantage with wins in heats one and three from Richie Worrall and Theo Pijper, whilst Paul Starke won heat two for the Bandits.
But Berwick got their noses in front in heat four, with the sensational Jakub Jamrog partnering Frenchman Dimitri Berge to a 5-1 which saw the home side edge 13-11 in front.
Matty Wethers looked set for a win, and 5-1 in heat five, when he suddenly ground to a halt coming off the last bend, Kevin Doolan coming through to take the flag.
But a 5-1 from David Bellego and Kenneth Hansen in six saw Berwick stretch their lead to six at 21-15 before Jamrog produced one of the rides of the night in seven, pipping Pijper up the inside off the very last bend.
After another Bellego win in eight, it was Wethers’ turn to get the crowd on their feet, with a pass on Damien Koppe as the score moved on to 30-24.
Bellego fell when he ran out of room behind Hansen in 10, a Pijper-Danny Maassen 2-4 bringing it back to 32-28.
Jamrog was at it again in 11 with a tremendous tussle with Worrell which saw the pair pass and re-pass each other, the Pole just getting the edge as they went shoulder to shoulder scraping up the safety fence down the home straight.
And that was only for second and third place as Andrew Compton was clear out front.
It was thrilling stuff, and after another Pijper win in 12, and with the scores standing at 37-35, Jamrog was again in the thick of the action in the final heat 13.
He drifted wide on the first bend as he tried to power his way around the outside. Unfortunately, he caught the safety barrier and bounced off the top of it at high speed.
His bike was demolished, and as he lay on the track it looked as if he might have been hurt, but thankfully he picked himself up, and after initially being excluded by referee Jim McGregor, due to the nature of the meeting was allowed back into the re-run.
Needless to say, still shaken, he finished at the back with Worrall and Maassen taking a 2-4 over Doolan for the draw.
Both teams agreed afterwards that the trophy provided for the winning team should be taken back to Salford by Ashworth’s father Dave, to present to his son.
* The old-style second half had £850 up for grabs, with £500 going to the winner, and it was perhaps fitting that the win should have been taken by Ashworth’s former Sheffield team-mate Andre Compton, who after making the gate in the final did his best to slow it down and create a dead heat finish.
Compton won through to the final along with Pijper, Worrall and Hansen, who had all won their qualifying heats.