Plymouth Devils 43-52 Berwick Bandits

editorial image

Inspired by another super show from reserve Steen Jensen, and with Dennis McCleary making his debut as stand-in team manager, Berwick made pulled off another great win in the Premier League at Plymouth on Friday.

The victory means the Bandits have taken maximum points from their opening four league fixtures, and at the time lifted them to third in the table behind leaders Edinburgh and Ipswich.

Jensen was the star of the show, reeling off four straight wins in his opening rides, but again this was a result based on team strength in depth, with every member of the squad contributing.

As expected, Devils’ number one Ben Barker proved a handful, scoring 18 points from his six outings, although he was beaten twice by a Bandits - by Claus Vissing, who produced a tremendous burst of speed in heat six when the home rider was on a double-pointed tactical ride, and by Berwick skipper Matty Wethers, who was celebrating his birthday, in heat ten.

Steen Jensen won in heats two and four -the latter of which produced a 1-5 with Vissing, and with Kevin Doolan and David Bellego also taking maximum points from heat five, the visitors suddenly found themselves 10-20 in front.

Vissing’s win over Barker in the black and white helmet in six took some of the sting out of Plymouth’s challenge and with Jensen winning again in heat eight the Bandits maintained their ten point advantage at 20-30.

Rasmus Jensen, who had a good meeting for the home side, won in nine, but with Wethers and Matej Kus split for a 2-4 by Barker in ten, Bandits edged further ahead at 25-37.

Another Rasmus Jensen victory in 11 saw Plymouth reduce the deficit slightly with a 4-2, but Steen Jensen’s fourth win of the night in 12, with Kus finishing third behind Ramsus Jensen, took the score further in Berwick’s favour at 34-43.

With three races remaining Bandits were in the driving seat. Barker buret from the tapes to win heat 13, but Vissing and Doolan tucked in behind for a shared 3-3 which meant The Borderers were un an unassailable position at 37-46 with only two heats to go.

Steen Jensen fell in 14 and was excluded but in the re-run Wethers led from start to finish, and although Barker won the final race, Vissing and Steen Jensen secured a 3-3 which meant Berwick left with all four match points.

After the meeting, Berwick promoter John Anderson said: “We’re on a real roll at the moment and all the lads put in vital points in this win, including Liam (Carr) who was back on the pace, looking confident and scoring important points and as for his reserve partner Steen (Jensen), well what can you say except magnificent!

“Dennis (McCleary) has done almost everything in speedway, refereeing, announcing, time keeping, secretarial and programme editing amongst many other things and at Plymouth he made his team managerial debut – and what a way to do it. He had the team spirit running high from the off and even called a team meeting mid-match just when it was needed and got the perfect response.”

Plymouth: B Barker 18, R Jensen 13, K Newman 7, K Katajisto 5, S Samota 0, T Webster 0, A Roynon rider-rep.

Berwick: S Jensen 13, C Vissing 10+2, M Wethers 9+1, K Doolan 8+1, M Kus 5+1, D Bellego 4+2, L Carr 3.