Berwick Bandits 57, Glasgow Tigers 33: Berwick opened their competitive season with a comfortable home win over Glasgow in the League Cup.
The Tigers posed the Bandits a few problems in the first half of the meeting, but in the latter stages they struggled to make any starts, and on what was effectively a gate and go track that simply spelled disaster.
An added complication for the visitors was the fact that new boy Harley Horwood suffered a back injury when he crashed into the boards off the last bend in his third ride, forcing him to miss the return meeting at Ashfield the following day.
Berwick’s strength in depth again came to the fore with six of their seven riders winning races, the star performer being former Tiger David Bellego. The Frenchman showed some va va voom and was only beaten once by an opposing rider in five races, losing out to James Grieves, who pipped him for second place in heat six.
Berwick made the brighter start and were 9-5 up after two races, Bellego and Ricky Ashworth setting the tone with a 5-1 over Joe Screen in the opening heat.
But Glasgow hit back with three successive 4-2s to level it up at 15-all, Henning Bager, Grieves and Screen providing the wins.
Berwick hit back with three successive heat victories of their own to open up a 10 point gap at 29-19 and this enabled Glasgow to use Grieves as a tactical ride in nine, which he duly won to cut the deficit to 32-25.
By this stage it was apparent passing was virtually impossible. And this was a trend which was to continue right through to heat 14 when Bager managed to pass Matty Wethers, but only after the Bandit made a mistake coming off the second bend on the third lap.
Another Ashworth-Bellego 5-1 and a 4-2 saw Berwick stretch their lead to 13 at 41-28, and Glasgow then used James Wright as a second tactical, surprisingly after he had only scored one point from his first three outings.
He trailed in behind Kozza Smith, who recovered from two falls in his opening rides, and Nicki Barrett, the 5-1 securing the win for the Bandits at 46-29.
Another two heat advantages saw Berwick extend their lead to 54-33. This left Ashworth to go for his paid maximum in heat 15, but after initially making the gate with Bellego he suffered a spluttering engine, being overhauled by Screen before eventually retiring from the race.
After the meeting stand-in manager for the night, promoter John Anderson said: “Glasgow kept the meeting tight early on, but once our riders opened their throttles and got the measure of the opposition they pulled away and won by a comfortable margin.”
Ricky Ashworth 2*,3,3,3,R 11+1
David Bellego 3,1,3,2*,3 12+1
Kozza Smith 0,R,2,3 5
Matthew Wethers 2,2,1*,1 6+1
Robin Aspegren 2,2*,3,1 8+1
Alex Edberg 1,3,1,3 8
Nicki Barrett 3,F,2*,2*. 7+2
Manager - John Anderson
Joe Screen 1,3,2,2,2 10
Joey Ringwood F,1,Fx,0 1
James Wright 1,0,0,1^ 2
Henning Bager 3,1,1,2 7
James Grieves 3,2,6^,0,1* 12+1
Harley Horwood 2,0,F 2
Joe Jacobs R,1,1,R,0 2
Manager- Sean Courtney
Referee - Graham Reeve