September 26, 1998.
A date we might have spent in the local multiplex watching ‘Titanic’, ‘Shakespeare In Love’ or ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
Or listening to Robbie Williams (‘Millennium’), those Spice Girls (‘Viva Forever’) or even the unforgettable Dutch group that was T-Spoon as they enjoyed ‘Sex On The Beach’.
A date when Tony Blair was posing about in Downing Street and Bill Clinton getting up close and personal with Monica Lewinsky in the White House.
The very first DVDs went on sale. Video-tape manufacturers commented that they felt the new technology ‘wouldn’t catch on’ – in much the way people had been certain a decade earlier that the new-fangled CDs of the mid-eighties couldn’t and wouldn’t replace cassette tapes or vinyl records!
In sport Manchester City were down in soccer’s third tier – it was Aston Villa and Derby Country who were the top two in the Premier League that September Saturday – although north of the border it was as ever the Old Firm in charge,
Speedway? Well, Tony Rickardsson had been crowned World Champion at Bydgoszcz the previous week, with all-time-Bandit-great Jimmy Nilsen runner-up and Tomasz Gollob on the bronze step.
Oh yes, and at Shielfield Park that night nearly 19 years ago, our Bandits beat Peterborough Panthers 48-42.
Well, amazingly, that was the very last time we have beaten the Panthers – home or away!
Our top dogs that night were James Grieves (14), David Meldrum (13+1) and David Walsh (11+1) while the pointless Panthers had their best return from Nigel Sadler, who managed 16 --- while a fresh-faced teenage laddie called David Howe chipped in with 7+3. Needless to say, all these figures come courtesy of the marvellous Gavin Renton, straight from his brimming archive.
Every season since then – whenever our teams have been in the same league, at any rate -- we’ve found new ways not to beat Peterborough.
I’ve stood at their Alwalton circuit in recent years and watched Bandits teams squander early leads with gay abandon, while here at Berwick – och, dearie me……..
Each season we start the match here as favourites to conquer the bogey, and every year it all goes horribly wrong….
Even when we brought in SkySports cameras to show the world we could handle the beasts – that would be in 2015 – we couldn’t do it.
Now here we are again. We’ll have four chances to lay the bogey this year, starting on Friday week down there and then on Saturday 20th in what is our next home meeting.
Panthers are called cougars in North America, jaguars in Latin America and leopards in most of the rest of the world.
Can we sort ourselves out next Saturday night, and see if we can get these creatures – by whatever name – back in their cage?
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