Bandits' dismal league form continues at Somerset

SOMERSET REBELS ...... 58BERWICK BANDITS ...... 34BERWICK Bandits' dismal away form in the league continued when they went down to a 24-point defeat at Somerset on Friday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 1:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 1:03 pm

Prior to the meeting manager Dave Peet said the team's away form had to improve, as it 'left a lot to be desired.'

But at the Oak Tree Arena, a track where Berwick Bandits have never really performed all that well, they were once again on the receiving end.

They had four race winners (Paul Clews, Michal Rajkowski, Michal Makovsky and Adrian Rymel), but these only produced two heat advantages (heats eight and 15), and against a Rebels side who were dominant throughout, this was never going to be enough.

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Somerset were led by Australian pair Corey Gathercole, who had four straight wins on his way to a 12-point maximum, and Shane Parker, who after winning his first race, picked up three paid victories for a nine paid 12 tally.

Clews won heat two, but it was the home side who controlled the early part of the meeting and two 5-1s and two 4-2s in the first five races saw Berwick trailing 21-9.

Makovsky won the rerun of heat six, holding off a determined challenge from Ritchie hawkins on the first lap, whilst Rajkowski took the chequered flag in heat seven, when Bandits achieved their first heat advantage (4-2), courtesy of a Jade Mudgway third place behind Hawkins.

Heat nine was probably the race of the night. First of all Makovsky moved the Rebels pair wide on the first bend and joined Clews on a potential 5-1.

But first of all Sam Masters and then Parker fought their way from the back, and turned the race around for a Rebels 5-1, which stretched their lead to 36-18, and Berwick were all but beaten.

From thereon in it was virtually Somerset all the way, with Christian Hefenbrock (on his debut), Gathercole (twice), Masters and James Holder each taking successive races.

A Rymel-Clews 5-1 in heat 15 meant Berwick finished on a high, but this made it six straight defeats on the road and now the Bandits are languishing third from bottom of the Premier League table with only nine points from 11 meetings, just two ahead of bottom club Redcar.

Somerset - Gathercole 12, Masters 10, Parker 9+3, Hefenbrock 8+2, Hawkins 8, Holder 7+2, Baseby 4.

Berwick - Rymel 11, Clews 8+1, Makovsky 5, Complin 4, Rajkowski 4, Mudgway 2.

This weekend Berwick take a break from league action and turn their attention to the KO Cup.

Following on from their aggregate victory over Newport in the first round they take on old rivals Workington home and away in the quarter-finals.

The first leg will be held at Shielfield on Saturday with the return at Derwent Park on Sunday.

And there may be an added boost for Berwick with the news that Craig Branney may be about to return from injury.

Branney broke his left wrist when he was involved in a crash at Shielfield last month and has been forced to spend several weeks on the sidelines.

Sources close to the rider say that all being well the Cumbrian will make his return to the saddle against the Comets, a side he has also represented in the past.