George Dodds's picture

It goes to show how far Berwick speedway has come over the past couple of seasons that the news of last Saturday’s postponement came as something of a shock.
The fact that as the twitter confirmation that we would not be taking on Newcastle that night landed the view from my window was of a raging blizzard which obscured Hallidon Hill made the decision perfectly understandable.
For once our covers – and they had been on the track since silly o’clock on Friday morning – could not save the season opener.
As it turned out Hail, sleet and snow are not a dodgy Wet, Wet Wet cover band but the reason that virtually all of the Easter speedway programme was wiped out.
Sometimes the sport can shoot itself in the foot but on this occasion there was little any track could do except decide how far ahead it was advisable to pull the plug on the meeting.
Except, that is, unless you lived in Manchester or Workington.
I spent almost half my life working in and around Manchester.
As a result most conversations with people from outside Cottonopolis involving the question “where do you live” were inevitably followed by one of two responses: 1) So you’re not a United fan then, or 2) You’re used to rain.
It would be fair to say Mancunians have something of a chip on their shoulders about the idea that it’s always raining in their fair city.
So much so that my former colleagues at the Manchester Evening News once commissioned a survey which measured the average rainfall in Britain’s major towns and cities over a 30 year period.
Cue celebrations when it was discovered it was came in at the eighth wettest place – Gloucester came in at number nine which surely asks questions vis v vie the credibility of Dr Foster’s widely reported puddle incident – in a list topped by Cardiff – hence the roof on the Arms Park – followed by Glasgow, Preston, Huddersfield, Blackpool and Carlisle.
Good news for young Master Etheridge and probably the reason that the Belle Vue Colts were able to beat Coventry on Good Friday in one of just two meetings raced over a Bank Holiday period which had 22 fixtures planned. Another six have bitten the mud in the days since.
The other fixture to beat the deluge was at Workington where the Cumberland Open not only went ahead but there were even reports of track watering.
Bizarre to say the least as Cumbria is not renowned as a desert county – although perhaps the shiny, happy people from nearby Sellafield have a theory?
And so it comes to pass that the opening fixture of our 51st season will see the Monarchs with their merry band of Capitalistas in tow.
It promises to be a cracker.
Tapes up, as always, 7pm.