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George Dodds's picture

As I made my way towards Shielfield a sinister presence appeared from near The Turret and furtively made its way to the other side of the road. Whiskers twitching, I swear it had a sly look on its face. Trouble was afoot – four-footed in fact.
I feel I wasn’t alone. Indeed each of the many hundreds of Bandits fans who turned out last Saturday must surely have had their path crossed by a black cat and carried on regardless.
There can be no other explanation for the events surrounding Scunthorpe’s victory.
At one point Mulder and Scully shrugged their shoulders and made their way from the Twilight Zone executive viewing platform near the third bend to the magnificently appointed (and staffed) Ducket Tea-bar, licensed speakeasy and pie emporium *, muttering “the truth may be out there but that's the weirdest thing we've ever seen”.
The Scorpions came, saw and conquered becoming, I’m almost certain, the only Scunthorpe team to win a meeting in the borders as the Bandits gave a fine example of a drunken octopus carrying a machine gun with a jammed trigger – shooting themselves in the foot with gay abandon.
If only Claus Vissing had been able to stowaway in Jonas B Anderson’s luggage holdall; if only referee Darren Hartley hadn’t decided to penalise another rider for jumping the start every time Lewis Bridger reached the first bend in front; if only Mr Hartley had seen the grounding of Liam Carr and the unlucky Mr Bridger in a different light (preferably white exclusion ones); if only Dimitri Berge … well the Frenchman’s escapades in heat 10 achieved the impossible and actually left me lost for words for the first time in over 50 years. Less Vavavoom and more VavaWTF.
If only I had another £990,990 I’d be a millionaire.
Saturday was one of those meetings which had the faithful talking for all the wrong reasons.
To rescue it we needed a superhero … but when Superman(ager) went to his favourite telephone box Scorpions’ team boss Dave Peet was already there and a full and frank discussion ensued, allowing our dedicated stewards to watch a few heats of racing from the unique vantage point of the pits.
Fellow boss Scott Courtney probably thought that the pain which sent him onto the operating table for a quick appendectomy was as bad as it would get on Saturday. I believe the Cramlington nurses now know some new words which loosely translated mean “I don’t believe it” and “you’re having a giraffe guv”.
Unfortunately – Lewis Bridger’s two dashes from the back aboard Liam Carr’s machinery in his last two races aside – some decent racing came largely from the visitors’ brushing the Bandits’ challenge aside.
Another set of points went missing in action and our season was setting records for all the wrong reasons.
So it came to pass that Messrs Vissing and Berge have been released and we welcome Nick Morris and Jye Etheridge into the Black and Gold.
Lee Payne is also a Bandit replacing Ryan Blacklock in the short term – RB’s departure being lamented by most fans as he certainly could never be accused of putting less than 100 per cent in for the cause – and has the injuries to show for it.
Another man who always gives everything and is no stranger to the emergency room, Lewis Kerr, came a cropper again in spectacular fashion in heat 13, going airborne after his footrest dug into the third bend fence.
Fortunately Lewis escaped serious injury but the resulting concussion sidelined him the following day when Scunthorpe came back down to earth with an almighty bump.
They were hammered at home by Edinburgh – Monsieur Berge guesting and joint top-scoring for the Scorps.
Football, it seems is not the only “funny old game” in town.
So please as Ipswich – who began April by becoming the only team beaten by us so far this season – complete their book ending of April by re-appearing on league duty I beg that all those Berwickers, Reivers and Twempies who own black cats to keep them under lock and key between 2pm and 7pm on Saturday.
Because history shows us that little good can come from any combination of black cats and Witches.

* NB: Other t-bars, burger vans, bars and club shops with equally magnificent staff are available around Shielfield Park every Saturday night.