Postponement causes a fixture headache for rained-off Bandits

BERWICK face a major fixture headache as the season draws to a close over the next three weeks.

The postponement of Saturday’s home meeting against Newport because of rain means the Bandits must now try and reschedule the fixture against the Wasps before the October 31 deadline.

But as club spokesman Dennis McCleary said: “That may be easier said than done.”

Berwick are due to race another re-arranged meeting against Workington this Saturday, with an away trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

The following weekend they are off on a three-match southern tour which will take in Plymouth (Friday), Newport (Saturday) and Rye House (Sunday).

This was originally intended to bring the curtain down on the Bandits’ 2011 season.

There is one remaining Saturday left before the official end of the season (on the 29th), but unfortunately Newport are also due to race at home that night.

“They cannot be in two places at once,” said McCleary, “so it looks like there will have to be some serious talking between the two clubs before a new date can be announced.”

One alternative would be a Wednesday - Berwick can race four Wednesday night meetings under their planning regulations at Shielfield Park - but this is something they have always tried to avoid as they are not so successful financially.

A statement issued by the club at the weekend said they hoped to announce a new date shortly after negotiations with Newport.

Berwick were left with no alternative but to postpone Saturday’s meeting after light rain throughout the afternoon grew in intensity as the evening wore on.

Riders and officials from both teams, along with the match referee, walked and inspected the track.

But with rain falling continuously, and with no sign of it letting up, the decision was taken just ten minutes before the scheduled start time at 6.50pm.

It was inevitable the racing was going to be cancelled due to the weather, but it still came as a disappointment for the fans, many of whom were looking forward to the first return to Shielfield of Charlie Gjedde, who of course was signed as Bandits’ number one at the start of the season but left under a cloud after a string of under-achieving performances.

Gjedde was in fine form over the course of the weekend scoring double figure returns in the Wasps’ two victories at Edinburgh on Friday and Newcastle on Sunday, so it would have been interesting to see how he fared on a track to admitted after he left he was none too fond of.

Some supporters had remained in their cars in the car park, whilst others had entered the stadium.

Their rain-off tickets will now be valid for this Saturday’s home meeting against the Comets.

Berwick will be anxious that Saturday’s meeting goes ahead, not least because the Comets themselves have a major fixture pile-up towards the end of the season.

Sunday’s visit to Newcastle will give Berwick the opportunity to try and improve on their last visit to Tyneside just a fortnight ago when they ran the Diamonds close but left empty handed after going down to a 48-41 defeat.

“Just one more race point that night would have given us a losing bonus,” said team manager Ian Rae, “so in that respect the result was a little disappointing.

“But I am sure the lads will be up for this one and they will be keen to put up another good performance and hopefully take something from the meeting.

Fans are reminded that the start time for this meeting has been put back by half an hour from 6.30pm to 7pm as Newcastle United have a home fixture the same day.