BERWICK BANDITS 54, SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 36
Anyone coming along to this Premier league clash between two current mid-table sides with the thoughts that it would be a ‘run of the mill meeting’ were sadly mistaken! This one had it all.
Ten re-runs for various reasons, tape malfunction, falls (thankfully no serious injuries) exclusions, a one rider finish in one heat and, yes, Kozza Smith back to his ebullient self, in amongst the fans after Heat 13, ‘high fiving’ his way along the rows!
This was Premier League racing at it’s most unpredictable best!
In the end the Bandits were comfortable and deserved winners but take nothing away from league champions Scunthorpe, for they contributed to an entertaining night and probably deserved more points for their efforts, looking really sharp early on.
However, the solid display of the home side (every Berwick rider won or was paid for a race win) always looked as if it would carry the Bandits to the three league points.
Pick of the home team? Smith, obviously, swash buckling his way from the back in almost all his races, just like the Kozza of 2011. Bellego, pointless in Heat 1 then producing terrific racing going unbeaten in his next four outings. Guest Lewis Kerr, nine points from four rides, an inspirational choice at reserve and this after a nasty fall in Heat 12. However, Messrs. Wethers, Aspegren, Kennett (in his last Berwick appearance) and Starke all contributed.
The Scorpions blew hot and cold at times but falls and exclusions did not help them. Most of their septet looked capable of race wins with Josh Auty showing his prowess again at number one.
The visitors had got off to a good start with an opening heat 4-2, won by Thomas Jorgensen who looked quick but Berwick hit back with a reserves race 5-1 from Kerr and Paul Starke.
Ashley Birks got himself excluded in heat three (tapes) and in the re run it looked a sure fire Aspegren win until he snapped a primary chain, high-siding him off.
Scorpions got it back level in four before we had a starting tapes malfunction in five, quickly sorted though and the scores still level at 15-15. Bandits got themselves in front in six and were to increase the lead in eight to eight points with another maximum.
Heat nine was full of incident! Both visitors (Douglas and Howe) were excluded for different falls and then a certain looking home 5-0 evaporated late on the third lap when Matty Wethers stopped. Despite his valiant efforts to push for over a lap in hot conditions he failed the time allowance. Not a happy Bandit!
Birks then got excluded in the next one for taking off team mate Palm Toft and in 11 a certain looking visiting 8-1 (Auty on a tac ride) all blew apart on the final bend with leader Jorgensen slowing too much, allowing Smith to sneak second. Lewis Blackbird was the next to get an exclusion, taking off Kerr in 12 before Smith produced the race of the night to pass Auty in 13 in terrific style.
Bandits then took the last two races 8-4 and it was over! Phew!