Bandits draw at Scorpions/Peterborough tonight @7
Scunthorpe Scorpions 45
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 45
With the Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hoper, Wooler) still clinging on to a vital fourth place in the league, the hard work has really begun to ensure a play-off position, and last night they knew that only maximum effort was expected as they travelled to the Scunthorpe Scorpions in an SGB Championship encounter.
The opening three races were incredible, if not unexpected as Berwick hit two maximum 1-5s and a 2-4 to go 10 points ahead at 4-14 with Theo Pijper stamping his authority on things winning both Heats Two and Three in fine style after Jye Etheridge was excluded for a tape exclusion in the third.
Jake Allen was part of Scunthorpe's first heat advantage in Heat Five when he held off Kevin Doolan with Summers, after a superb Heat One win, ending up at the back behind Jason Garrity, with the 4-2 narrowing the gap slightly to 11-19.
Following a shared 3-3 in Heat Six, won by Steve Worrall over David Howe, returnee from injury Josh Auty and Allen took advantage of Etheridge and Dany Gappmaier's partnership well to hold the Bandits at the back in a Scorpions' 5-1 closing the gap to only four points.
Stefan Nielsen took a fall on the second lap of Heat Eight, for which he was excluded and the race re-run, in which Summers regained his Heat One form to jet away to win well ahead of his Bandits' reserve partner, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen over American Gino Manzares to reverse the previous heat in the 1-5 that extended Berwick's lead to 20-28.
Allen and Garrity hit hard however in the ninth dominating Pijper and Howe to return the maximum again reducing Berwick's lead to four points once more with Gappmaier and Etheridge due out against Worrall and Nielsen in the 10th, a tough ask in anyone's book and so it proved as the home pair romped away to hit another home 5-1 into the pot and level the match, with five heats to go 30-30.
It remained level after a Heat 11 share as Auty took the winner's flag over Summers and Doolan leaving the match set for a riveting climax, and with the expected change of Busk Jakobsen for Gappmaier in Heat 12, the move proved successful as the sub roared away to win the heat well with Pijper tucking in for a huge second place over Garrity to again put Berwick four ahead, 34-38.
Worrall and Auty kept it tight calling another home 5-1 in the 13th race over Howe and Doolan with the scores yet again tied at 39-all, and with Allen excelling for the home side in Heat 14 to win well over Etheridge and Jakobsen, it remained all square with one winner-takes-all final, but the gap guaranteed Berwick at least one league point already.
Worrall and Auty, responsible for 20 of Scunthorpe's points by this point lined up in Heat 15 against Berwick's Busk Jakobsen and Summers who had totalled 18 between them building up to an explosive end which resulted in a false start first time out with all four called back.
It was Auty however who was untouchable, but with Worrall caught at the back Summers and Busk Jakobsen did the job to pull off a shock, and very welcome draw (45-45) with Berwick taking two Championship points back to the Borders.
Berwick's team manager Scott Courtney said: "We got off to an amazing start as the guys really caught Scunthorpe well and truly out, and going 10 ahead so soon certainly boosted our confidence, but once the Scorpions took a breath they soon regrouped and started to fight back, although it took them six heats to level things up.
"Those last few heats were nerve-wracking for all of us, especially with an all-four-back, and what a race it ended up being with us getting two league points is a good night's work."
Tonight the Bandits race against the Peterborough Panthers in the league, but with the visitors sitting on top of the table, its set to be another top class encounter.
Individual Riders' Score Chart:
Scunthorpe Scorpions 45
Steve Worrall 0,3,3,3,0 = 9
Stefan Nielsen 1,0,Fx, 2* = 3+1
Jason Garrity 2,1,2*,1 = 6+1
Jake Allen 0,3,2*,3,3 = 11+1
Josh Auty 3,3,3,2*,3 = 14+1
Danny Phillips (r) 0,0,0,N = 0
Gino Manzares (r) 1,0,1,0 = 2
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope of Wooler) 45
Kevin Doolan (c) 2*,2,1*,0 = 5+2
Aaron Summers 3,0,3,2,1* = 9+1
Dany Gappmaier 1,0,0,N = 1
Jye Etheridge E,1,1,2 = 4
David Howe 1*,2,0,1 = 4+1
Theo Pijper (r) 3,3,1*,1,2* = 10+2
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (r) 2*,2,2*,3,1*,2 = 12+3