Bandits hit Witches for 10 despite Schlein's 18 mx
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 50
Ipswich "Tru Plant" Witches 40
Ipswich pulled off a good draw at Newcastle just six days previous, and were fired up to do the same or better at Berwick last night, and armed with former Bandit, Ben Barker as a guest for the inured Danny King, their heads were high as Berwick replaced Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (away on Danish Championship duty) with Glasgow's Paul Starke.
It was the home side had other ideas however, and opened up the early lead in the opening two races with Aaron Summers taking Heat One with ease over Ben Barker before Jye Etheridge and John Lindman took a brilliant 5-1 to put the Bandits 9-3 ahead, with two 3-3s following won by Dany Gappmaier and Witch Rory Schlein.
However Schlein and Barker made the perfect Heat Five gate leaving Gappmaier and Howe looking for inspiration at the back with the 1-5 narrowing the gap to 16-14, but Berwick's guest, Starke took an enormous slam into the first bend fence at the state of Heat Seven when he and Danyon Hume tangled from the gate.
The referee deemed no one to blame and brought all four back, but Starke's first bike had been severely damaged with the front wheel rammed back to beyond the cylinder head necessitating the firing up of his second bike, and once he got the ok from the medics was back at the tapes for the re-run, in which Starke looked a tad second-hand at the rear, but Lindman soared away wide and high to go from third to first and win his first ever race for the Bandits, bringing the house down in a 3-3 taking the score to 22-20.
Doolan did a magnificent job of diving under Hume then Heeps on opposite bend of the opening lap to join Etheridge at the front in Heat Eight to score a good 5-1 to extend the lead to six points, before Gappmaier's read wheel bounced off Mountain's on the first bend of Heat Nine resulting in his bike stopping with Schlein taking his fourth win in the 2-4.
Summers and Haertel had a cracking scrap in Heat 10 for second place, the German taking the spoils behind Doolan in a return 4-2 to go into the interval with Berwick leading 33-27.
Etheridge and Gappmaier made easy work of the Heat 12 gate to take a fine 5-1 over Mountain and Heeps setting the home lead at 10, and with Ipswich fielding Schlein and Barker in Heat 13, Summers and Starke had their work cut out with Summers taking the early lead before Schlein took a dive under him off bend four as Stark passed Barker, but Barker never gives up and put in a fierce chase, but the 3-3 was set in stone taking the score to 44-34 meaning Berwick had sealed the win with two to go.
Team manager Scott Courtney said: "What a brilliant match that was, and proof again - if it were needed - that we are a solid side pulling together to beat the best, and Ipswich are a seriously good side. Rory Schlein should be hugely congratulated for his superlative 18-point six-ride maximum which he thoroughly deserved, while I was well impressed by our John Lindman who is finally looking like the determined and successful rider we had fully believed he was. His win was spot on and he was always on the pace in his other rides to be paid for a god solid 10.
"This was a good confidence boosting match for the guys tonight and where any points were lost, the team gel together to help anyone who needs it... as that is what we are - a team first and foremost."
Individual Riders' Score Chart:
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope of Wooler) 50
Aaron Summers 3,1*,1,2,2 = 9+1
Kevin Doolan (c) 1,2,2*,3,1* = 9+2
Dany Gappmaier 3,1,R,2* = 6+1
David Howe 0,R,2,1* = 3+1
Paul Starke (guest) 2,0,2,1* = 5+1
John Lindman (r) 2*,3,1*,2 = 8+2
Jye Etheridge (r) 3,1*,3,3 = 10+1
Ipswich "Tru Plant" Witches 40
Ben Barker (guest) 2,2*,3,0,0 = 7+1
Nico Covatti - Rider replacement
Cameron Heeps 2,E,1,0,0 = 3
Michael Haertel 1*,1*,2,0,3 = 7+2
Rory Schlein 3,3,3,3,3,3 = 18
Connor Mountain (r) 0,1,0,1,1 = 3
Danyon Hume (r) 0,0,2,0,0 = 2