Carr out injured - Bandits suffer home defeat
Berwick have been dealt a second injury blow, to add to a second successive home Premier League defeat.
Just a fortnight after Anders Mellgren was ruled out with knee ligament damage, reserve Liam Carr broke his scaphoid whilst riding for Coventry Storm in the National League on Friday, and he too now faces several weeks on the sidelines after being placed in plaster. Carr himself says he hopes to be back in ‘about four weeks time.’
Under the circumstances, Danny Ayres was used as a guest replacement for the home meeting against Sheffield on Saturday, and he performed well with a paid seven haul.
Skipper Kevin Doolan dropped only one point on his way to 14, but the Bandits, who had been beaten at home by Newcastle the previous week, lost their second home meeting in a row when they went down 41-49 to a determined-looking Tigers side.
Team manager Scott Courtney again had to contemplate a far from satisfactory situation, saying: “Again a side has come here and shown us determinedly and professionally the way to race and win matches around our own track.
“Whatever the problem is we need to solve it quickly and get back to winning ways, as there is still sufficient time left for us to sort things out.”
Berwick will have a fortnight to regroup as they have no meetings this weekend - the next match is at Sheffield next Thursday (May 26), with Redcar the visitors to Shielfield on Saturday 28.
BERWICK BANDITS 41
SHEFFIELD TIGERS 49
On a night when the Flying Scotsman passed through Berwick, the Bandits were literally blown off track by a Sheffield side who went about their business in a thoroughly professional manner.
It was full steam ahead for the Tigers almost from the word go, a 2-4 in the opening race giving them a lead they were never to surrender.
They went on to provide six of the first seven race winners, and at that stage in proceedings it was difficult to say who the home side actually were.
Sheffield’s top five all contributed heavily to their tally and even reserve Arthur Sissis got in on the act with a win in heat two.
For the Bandits the only bright spot of the evening was the form of skipper Kevin Doolan.
He moved to the always difficult number two position in the team, but responded with a 14 point haul, his only dropped point of the night coming in heat one when he was headed by the fast-gating Dimitri Berge.
There was also a first win in Bandits’ colours for recent signing Henning Bager (in heat nine), whilst Danny Ayres, drafted in at short notice as a late replacement for the injured Liam Carr, did not let anyone down with his five paid seven score.
But in general this was a poor performance from Berwick, who were continually out-gated and out-manoeuvred by a Tigers side who looked up for it from the start,.
They always appeared capable of inflicting a second successive home league defeat on the Bandits, especially with Josh Bates refusing to buckle when twice being put under pressure by home riders.
Berwick: Doolan 14, Pijper 6, Ayres 5+2, Alden 5+1, Wethers 5, Bager 4, Jorgensen 2+1.
Sheffield: Stead 11, Bates 9+1, Berge 9, Howarth 8+1, Garrity 7, Sissis 4+1, Greaves 0.