Home victory lifts Bandits up to second place in league
Berwick Bandits 40-32 Plymouth Devils
Credit where credit is due, this was a meeting saved by Berwick’s decision to cover the track on Saturday lunch-time in view of the impending weather forecast.
And referee Darren Hartley stressed before racing got underway that had the club not taken that decision there was probably no way the meeting could have gone ahead.
But in truth this was not one for the connoisseur.
It was stop, start from the word go, with several delays following crashes, and the nett result was that racing had to be abandoned after only 12 heats after the curfew had been reached.
Both sides operated rider replacement, Plymouth had to draft in two guests, and Berwick guest Simon Nielsen was unfortunately withdrawn from the meeting after only one lap in heat one with suspected ankle ligament damage.
There was a further delay in heat nine when Matty Wethers took a nasty tumble on the way to the first bend, and with the clock ticking, the ambulance was again called for when Sam Samota and Theo Pijper locked horns on the first turn.
The racing itself saw Devils’ guest Stevie Worrall win the re-run of heat one, with Liam Carr taking the chequered flag in a three-man heat two.
A Pijper-Wethers 4-2 in three, when they were split by the other Plymouth guest Ben Barker, saw the Bandits edge in front at 9-8, and from there-on in the home side were never headed.
Worrall and Barker, who both won two races apiece, did their best to keep the meeting honest, as did Jack Holder and Stefen Nielsen, who had been involved in the heat one spill, who won one race apiece.
This meant the teams shared the heat wins at six apiece, but Berwick, with only one last place from the races run, always looked the more competent side, with Thomas Jorgensen recovering from a heat one tape exclusion to rattle off three successive wins.
Pijper was also always in the points, his 12-point haul making him the meeting’s highest scorer.
The win lifted the Bandits up to second place in the table, albeit they had raced more meetings than their rivals at the time, but on this occasion the overriding factor was the fact that racing was actually able to proceed due to the installation of the covers, something a few other clubs might wish to consider!
After the meeting Berwick team manager Scott Courtney said: “I have to firstly thank all the track staff who helped up put the covers down this morning, a move that definitely saved tonight’s meeting which would have been postponed had we not taken that action.
“Then again to the staff who lifted the covers in double-quick time after the last heavy shower just after 6pm. It is such an effective way to save a meeting and as a result save money and we’ve now proven twice it really does work!
“On the meeting, I send my best wished to the guys who took knocks and bumps and hope they get back to full fitness soon.
“It was a match that had a bit of everything, and sadly the delays proved too costly as the clock ran out with three races not run, but it was another vital three league points for us which elevated us into second place in the Premier League behind leaders Glasgow – which ain’t a bad place to be at this stage of the season!”
Berwick: Pijper 12, Jorgensen 9, Doolan 7+2, Carr 7+1, Wethers 5+2, Simon Nielsen 0, Alden - rider replacement.
Plymouth: Barker 10, Worrall 8, Holder 6, Stefan Nielsen 4+1, Perks 4, Newman - rider replacement.