Winning start for Bullets
BERWICK BULLETS 50ARMADALE DEVILS 40Berwick’s second team, the Bullets, kickstarted the 2021 British Speedway season when they hosted Armadale Devils in the first meeting of the year at Shielfield on Saturday.
The teams are competing in the National League, the third tier of the sport in the UK and because of the current COVID-19 restrictions, racing was held behind closed doors.
The club hopes to welcome fans back when their first team, the Bandits (and the Bullets) take on Birmingham and Belle Vue respectively later this month, on May 22, after restrictions are eased.
Berwick, with first-teamers Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley as their spearhead, and who won six races between them, led the meeting from start to finish and after opening up a 16-point lead at 41-25 after 11 heats, they looked to be heading for a convincing victory.
But Armadale, who had been reduced to six riders when reserve Gregor Millar looped at the start of heat two and was forced to withdraw, hit back over the closing stages, with three heat advantages of their own, which closed the gap to only ten points, setting up the return at the Scottish track on Friday (May 7), which will also be held behind closed doors.
The gap might have been closer had Nathan Greaves not taken a tumble after leading heat 11 for three laps, the fall gifting the Bullets a 5-1.
Their match saviour was definitely reserve George Rothery, who stepped up to the mark after Miller’s fall, taking seven rides and top scoring with 11+2.
Afterwards, team manager Gary Flint said: “It was great to be back in action after so long away. The boys made a good start, and we got the win, which is important, but credit to Armadale for making a match of it towards the end.
"Everyone played their part, but there are still one or two little things to work on, but that’s to be expected as it was only the first meeting.
"We are up at Armadale on Friday and the boys are confident of going up there and getting another result.”
Bullets - Bickley 12, Flint 11, Blair 8, Douglas 6+1, Watson 6, McDonald 4, Rathbone 3+2.
Devils - Rothery 11+2, Greaves 10, Wolley 9, Phillips 9, L Millar 2, Davies 1, G Millar 0.