Bandits aiming to reverse Glasgow result tonight
On a cold and dreek night in Glasgow, the Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope of Wooler) finally took to the speedway track in anger in 2018 in a tough away Shield match at the Tigers, and with both teams at full strength, expectation was running high for a great 15 heats which ended up a larger defeat than expected but the effort was certainly there, and Berwick are out for revenge come the reverse fixture on Saturday night.
It was the Bandits' skipper, Kevin Doolan who took to the damp conditions best in Heat One, making the perfect gate to take three points as Aaron Summers, a former Tiger held Lewis Kerr at the back as Berwick led 2-4, but better was to come in Heat Two won solidly by Dany Gappmaier (pictured above - top scorer on the night!) backed all the way by Jye Etheridge over James Sarjeant in a visitors 1-5, extending the Bandits' lead to 3-9.
New boy, John Lindman on his Bandits debut made a stunning gate in third and looked like taking an easy win until he locked up badly which threw him wildly off the bike, and while thankfully okay, was excluded from the re-run, eventually won by Claus Vissing who powered round David Howe on the third lap in a home 4-2 that narrowed Berwick's lead to four points.
After a fall for home captain, Chris Harris in Heat Four and a shared heat, the home side got their act together with Vissing taking a second win after passing Doolan off bend two as did Paul Starke as Summers tailed off to retire, but that 5-1 levelled the match 15-all.
Glasgow were on another 5-1 until Etheridge got into bother and fell with a resulting exclusion while in the re-run, Kerr led from the gate with Worrall passing Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen to join his partner and regain that maximum to put Glasgow four ahead.
Howe and Lindman brought the Bandits closer again in Heat Seven with a fine 2-4 won well by Howe over the forceful Harris but with Thomas retiring again, and Lindman's packing in, Lindman had to push home for the point in the Berwick heat advantage, but as Kerr and Sarjeant reversed the 4-2, split by Doolan, taking the score to 26-22, news filtered from the pits that Etheridge had been withdrawn on medical grounds.
Gappmaier hit back hard to win Heat Nine with Jakobsen for a 2-4, but Worrall and Kerr made no mistake over Howe and Lindman in the 10th to take a maximum and extend the home lead to 33-27,
The revived tactical substitute rule was invoked by the Bandits in Heat 12 with Howe coming in for Lindman, but unfortunately, despite the race being a superb four laps of the greatest racing, he ended up at the back as Gappmaier held on to second behind Sarjeant despite some huge chasing move from Starke in third with the 4-2 taking the score to 41-31.
Despite Jakobsen's fine Heat 13 win over Worrall and Harris, Summers' last resigned the Bandits to defeat as the resultant 3-3 took the scores to an unassailable 44-234 with two races to go.
Team manager Scott Courtney said: "We ran them so, so much closer than anyone gave us credit for and frightened the life out of the Tigers with some great points from Kevin, David and Dany , but there was always going to be clouds of rust billowing about as this was our first match of the season and some of the guys were having issues, but our new man, John Lindman has shown us his true potential and there's a lot to come from him very soon. Now we look forward to reversing the result tonight at Shielfield Park Saturday at 7 as we were really a lot better than an 18 point defeat which didn't reflect the match in reality.
"Jye has hurt his hand or wrist in his crash, but on Saturday we will use Simon Lambert as a guest, but wish him well for a swift return to the track."