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Dick Barrie's picture

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Just a year ago, we learned “the lads” – Scott, Havvy and Jamie – were taking over the club.

So, one year on, how do we think they have fared?

Well, I think their first report card can be viewed as ‘encouraging’.

What impressed me as much as anything was that in 2017 your Bandits’ bosses were clearly prepared to think outside the box when recruiting riders.

Who saw Lewis Bridger coming? Right out of the blue – and it was clear, once he had sorted his machinery out that this was an ace for our pack.

Next, when it became obvious Vissing was missing and wee Dimitri wasn’t going to coupe la moutarde, who reckoned on Nick Morris and Jye Etheridge as likely replacements?

From the last week of April, with David Howe arriving shortly afterwards, the team had a new look and the terraces had new faith.

But rough winds shook the darling buds of May – Billy Shakespeare said that in one of his blogs, and he wasn’t wrong.

Jye copped a sore one, David was hardly in the line-up before he crashed out and worst of all, on a night we were putting the Comics to the sword, Bridger – by then looking unbeatable, and not even our No 1 – piled into the foam-fence and ended his, and possibly our, season there and then.

But as we know, attendance levels held up, and with the remaining riders knitting into a real team unit of and with spirit, we ended the term winning at home throughout August and September – and finished up soundly beating the eventual champions.

‘Way to go, Banditos!

Let me repeat that this was through the lads thinking outside the box, bringing success with riders no-one else considered.

Nick (what a signing!) had been stuck at Swindon without a Championship berth. Lewis was someone who had never raced in our league and no other club seems to have even considered. David came out of two-and-a-bit years of retirement to zoom straight back to his best, while Jye, well……

Let’s remember, after Edinburgh’s unkind verdict and his being dumped from Armadale mid-season in 2016, for some reason the name Etheridge was virtually toxic this past spring.

We live in a society which demands only success and no-one has time for an entertaining loser -- and pundits on our terraces and certainly elsewhere were offering the suggestion there would have to be a bubonic plague before they’d consider giving Jye a team place.

Thankfully, once again the lads saw something there to which others were blind.

As Jye waltzed out of Marshall Meadows last weekend with his arms full of Rider of the Year awards, we realised how savvy this new ownership has been in seeing things in unlikely riders.

As I said:

Encouraging!

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Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk