Fans' frustration after being denied a last heat decider
Berwick faced a double header against Scottish rivals Glasgow at the weekend with home and away meetings against the Tigers.
Saturday’s fixture at Shielfield resulted in a 42-42 draw, abandoned after heat 14, but many fans left feeling disappointed and frustrated after being deprived the chance to see a last heat decider due to rain which made track conditions difficult.
Many took to social media to vent their anger, but the management and riders of both clubs were adament that the right decision had been made under the circumstances.
At Glasgow on Sunday the Tigers raced to a big home win, the Bandits unable to recover after a slow start to the meeting.
Berwick Bandits 42
Glasgow Tigers 42
This was a meeting which had a little bit of everything, but in the end many fans left feeling annoyed and frustrated after being denied the opportunity of seeing a last heat decider.
The evening started in sunshine, but later in proceedings rain started to fall, and after consultation with both teams, referee Mick Bates took the decision to abandon racing after 14 heats, with the result being a draw.
Riders simply described the track as being ‘icy’ and unsafe to ride.
The meeting itself was a tight affair throughout with never more than two points separating the sides, both teams holding the lead at one stage or another.
A feature of the racing was the fact that of the 13 riders on show, no fewer than 11 managed to take the chequered flag, the only exceptions being the respective number sevens.
Joe Jacobs, perhaps unexpectedly, set the ball rolling with a victory in heat one, but after Jye Etheridge won heat two, the impressive Dan Bewley and Richie Worrall picked up a 1-5 in three which saw the lead change hands for the first time.
Berwick edged back in front at 19-17 with two 4-2s, but a second 1-5 from Bewley and Worrall in seven saw the Tigers regain the initiative at 20-22.
Dany Gappmaier won in nine for a 4-2 which levelled it up again, and when Nick Morris made a pass on Worrall for his only defeat of the night in ten it meant the teams were all square at 30-all going into the break.
Bewley’s third win of the night in 11 saw Glasgow edge ahead again at 32-34, but then the rain started to fall.
Worrall won in 12, but his time was a good three/four seconds down on the previous races, and visibility was also an issue.
Kevin Doolan passed Richard Lawson for a point in another slow heat 13, and after a first bend crash in 14 David Howe won the re-run ahead of Bewley with Etheridge taking the all important third spot which levelled it up at 42-42.
With the rain having stopped, and more than half an hour to the curfew, fans were eager to see a last heat decider, but then the announcement came that racing had been abandoned and the supporters trudged off, many of whom were frustrated at the decision.
Gary Havelock, the Berwick manager said afterwards: “It was a great battling performance from the Bandits and it’s a shame the rain spoiled the finish and meant we had to cancel Heat 15, as when you looked at 14 with the first bend falls it was dangerous, which Glasgow’s manager, Stuart Dickson agreed.
“The riders were having to ride so, so wide, inches off the fence to get the grip as the inside lines were just like ice.
“As we know, me more than many, speedway is a dangerous enough sport as it is without asking the guys to race a hard final heat that all depends on and the last thing we as managers wanted was an injury so it was sensible. I guess its a fair result too as neither side deserved to lose that match.”
Berwick: Etheridge 9+2, Morris 9, Gappmaier 6+1, Jacobs 6, Howe 6, Doolan 5+1, Bowtell (guest) 1.
Glasgow: Bewley 12+1, Worrall 9+2, Summers 7, Lawson 6, Perry 4+1, Smith 4, Lunna - rider replacement.
Glasgow Tigers 58
Berwick Bandits 32
Berwick and Glasgow met in the return fixture at Ashfield on Sunday when the Tigers achieved a comfortable 26-point victory.
Richie Worrall and Aaron Summers achieved three victories apiece for the Tigers, who in effect led from start to finish.
Nick Morris won his final two races, whilst Dany Gappmaier and David Howe also both took the chequered flag for the Bandits late on, but by then the home side were already home and dry and well on the way to a comfortable win.
Team manager Gary Havelock said: “If we’d managed to start the match in the way we ended it we might not have looked so out of things as Dany’s last ride was incredible and Nick took got better and better as the heats rolled on.
“It was an odd match, but one which shows how our season has gone to date with bursts of excellence when you least expect them.”
Berwick got off to a poor start and three successive heat advantages saw Glasgow lead 14-4 after only three heats.
It was an uphill struggle for Berwick after thatand three more 5-1s and a 4-2 meant that after heat eight the home side were already 36-12 in front.
A 2-4 from Howe and Gappmair in heat 10 was Berwick’s only race advantage of the afternoon as the Tigers stormed to victory.
Glasgow: Worrall 13, Summers 11, Lawson 9+1, Perry 8+3, Bewley 8+3, Lunna 6+1, Smith 3.
Berwick: Morris 10, Howe 8, Doolan 5, Gappmaier 4, Bowtell 3+1, Etheridge 1+1, Jacobs 1.