Bandits bounce back after alarm bells ring with home defeats

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The alarm bells were ringing at Berwick on Saturday after the Bandits lost two home league meetings in the space of 72 hours.

Following on from their disappointing home defeat to Peterborough in front of the Sky TV cameras on Wednesday, the Borderers also lost at home to Ipswich just three days later.

Berwick Bandits Speedway

Berwick Bandits Speedway

Sandwiched between these was a 20-point away defeat at Sheffield, a series of results which prompted a team meeting after the Witches’ home reverse.

Team captain Kevin Doolan said: “Basically we asked any of the lads if they wanted to quit. No one did, so now we have to knuckle down and try and turn things around.”

And knuckle down they did, when they bounced back with an impressive 42-48 win at Rye House on Sunday in the first leg of their Ko Cup quarter-final clash.

Speaking immediately after Saturday’s team meeting, Doolan added: “Two home league defeats doesn’t do our play-off hopes any good, but we are still in the KO Cup and if we want to have more matches into September and not see our season end at the end of August we have to start winning meetings again.

“One of the biggest problems we have had recently is that we haven’t had a full team. It has put a lot of pressure on the rest of us who are left, but we know that we have some quality riders who are more than capable.”

As an example, Doolan highlighted the form of team-mate Thomas Jorgensen who has consistently top-scored for the team in recent weeks.

“I knew when Tommy signed for us that he was a good addition to the side. He is showing everyone now what he is capable of.”

Promoter and team manager John Anderson said Berwick had endured ‘a difficult week,’ but he admitted to being ‘absolutely delighted’ at the team’s performance at Hoddesdon on Sunday which puts them in pole position for a place in the semi’s when they take on the Rockets at Shielfield in the second leg a week on Saturday (July 25).

“Recent results show that we can not afford to take anything for granted,” said Anderson’ “but we have given ourselves every chance.

“The league results have definitely not gone our way, and this Saturday won’t be any easier when Edinburgh come visiting. They always go well at Shielfield, and it will be another difficult meeting for us, but hopefully we can draw on the cup win at Rye House and take some inspiration from that.”