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George Dodds's picture

Ouch, ouch, triple ouch, ouch and even more ouch.
As dear old Winston said: “never in the history of Berwick speedway had so much been expected by so many only for so few points to be scored at Edinburgh.”
He then ordered the carpet bombing of Armadale causing a level of desolation and destruction that can still be seen to this day – although I am reliably informed that seats on a trailer have been added on the fourth turn and someone was seen weeding the terraces before racing started last Friday so the renovation has begun in earnest.
Initially it all went reasonably well, trailing by just four points after heat nine only for the wheels to fall off in a manner rarely seen since the heyday of Charlie Cairoli’s car.
In the end it was a typically X-rated Bandits’ visit to the nether regions of West Lothian and a 24 point deficit was always going to take a superhuman effort to claw back.
To stand any chance on Saturday night we needed Ricky Wells in particular to suffer the sort of night that would make Mother Theresa curse like a Twempie teenager.
What we didn’t need was him to jump out of the gate and steer Victor Palovaara to successive 5-1s or for the Riss boys to bring their A-game and Josh Pickering to decide that he actually quite likes Shielfield.
By the time that the world’s most famous American-Kiwi suffered a spectacularly smelly clutch burnout in heat 13 it was all over bar the shouting and another disappointing chapter had been added to the Bandits’ less than stellar recent KO Cup history.
It was our turn to win the closing stages but while the six point victory maintained our unbeaten home record in Shield, League and Cup it seemed very much like a defeat.
There were highlights, especially David Howe showing the turbo-power so sadly missing from his van to team up with Theo for a 5-1 on his way to another heat 15 nomination, but it was one of only five home race wins on the night.
Alternatively we once again showed our strength in depth – no rider being paid for less than seven points and only Dany’s paid ten hitting double figures.
David and NBJ then popped into the Black and Gold to collect a cheque for a million pounds from the supporters club.
Unfortunately for them the application of Kenny Tait’s wet middle digit reduced it to a less eye-watering £1,000.
In many ways it summed up Saturday, delivering much less than it initially promised.
For our Main Dane it must have been a welcome bit of cash as just a couple of days later one of the sport’s worst-kept secrets was confirmed as Rye House pulled out of the Premiership amid mounting debts. Hopefully he, and Aaron Summers are not too out of pocket from what always looked to be a hopeful punt on the top flight by owners BMR.
With a number of other clubs reportedly teetering on the brink the need for speedway clubs to operate under realistic and affordable budgets.
Keyboard warriors will often claim that clubs should “speculate to accumulate”; conveniently ignoring that throughout history those that try usually accumulate little other than unsustainable debts.
And so to Redcar and the Championship Fours – an event in which we travelled expecting to do little more than make sense of a qualifying programme which would have done credit to the 30th Congress of the USSR central planning bureau for its efforts to promote inclusion without prejudice.
In the end we were a rogue Ashley Morris manoeuvre away from qualifying for a final race-off as the open season on Jye Etheridge was officially re-opened after a fallow couple of weeks.
It’s a shame that referee Graham Flint was unable to call on VAR to rule on what Mr Morris, via his twitter account, felt was a perfectly reasonable move … but it was waiting for Neymar to stop rolling after a Mexican defender came within six feet of him.
Good to see a decent crowd at Redcar on Sunday despite the sniping from the southern fans who felt it was too far to travel.
Wherever the Fours are held there will be large contingents of Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Workington fans.
It was good that, for once, they were able to get back home before last orders and, for that matter that the stadium rent at least went to a speedway organisation rather than the already sloshing coffers of the likes of the East of England Agricultural Society.
Like ourselves Workington ended the Fours qualifying with 11 points on Sunday.
We meet the Comets home and away for the second time this weekend and as yet neither team has won a match – the 45-all Championship Shield stalemate at Derwent Park in April being repeated at Shielfield the following night.
It means that Dan Bewley, who first came to our attention by being the only Bandit not stripped to his skiddies way back in May 2016, guesting for the injured Liam Carr and not quite understanding the tribute to Seb Alden, who had broken his neck in a crash at Sheffield two days before the victory over Redcar.
Comets team-mate Ty Proctor guested for the Bears at Shielfield last month and lined up in THAT heat 13 as he and Thomas Jorgensen took it in turns to be the first bend skittles in a race which took eight attempts and almost 40 minutes to complete.
Tapes up at 7pm sharp … just in case.