Berwick Bandits 45-48 Edinburgh Monarchs

Picture: Kimberley Powell
Picture: Kimberley Powell
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Two falls proved costly for Berwick as Edinburgh overcame a 10-point deficit to record a vital away victory and gain the initiative in this Play-Off group.

Bandits led 29-19 after heat eight, hampered by a fall from Alex Edberg when he looked set for a 5-1 in six, only to come to grief on the very last bend.

Then, later in the meeting, the previously unbeaten Claus Vissing took a tumble on the first lap of heat 13, when the teams were only separated by three points, and a 1-5 for the visitors in the re-run meant the Monarchs took the lead for the first time in the meeting.

Berwick, without Steen Jensen and with guest Sam Samota in for the sick Matty Wethers, got off to the best possible start with a 5-1 from Vissing and David Bellego over Craig Cook.

With the next three races all drawn it was tight at 14-10 before a 4-2 from Bellego and the impressive Kevin Doolan in five gave Bandits some breathing space at 18-12.

The lead looked as if it was going to be extended in six as Vissing and Edberg looked set for another 5-1, but the Swede lost it on the last bend, enabling the Monarchs to gratefully accept a 3-3.

Wins by Matej Kus and Doolan, who passed Derek Sneddon off the fourth bend in eight, saw Berwick take two 4-2s which stretched their lead to ten.

This enabled Sam Masters to go for double points in nine, which he accepted with a tapes to flag victory before another 3-3 made it 35-28 at the interval.

After grading, and a longer than normal delay for the BEN Fund collection, it was Edinburgh who came out all guns blazing.

First of all Cook and Sneddon took a 1-5 in 11 which cut the deficit to 36-33.

Doolan made another great pass on Sneddon in 12 to keep the Bandits’ noses in front, but when Vissing fell on the apex of the third and fourth bends on the first lap of heat 13 there was a sense the meeting was starting to slip from Berwick’s grasp.

Cook and Masters took advantage to record a 1-5 in the re-run which put Edinburgh 40-41 in front and a 2-4 in 14 meant they were 42-45 up going into the last race.

Kus managed to win heat 15, but Cook and Masters tucked in behind for the 3-3 and it was the visiting fans who were left celebrating, knowing that they are now on the verge of qualification for the Play-off Final.

The victory gives Edinburgh six match points from the two meetings, Berwick have none. Both teams now go onto face Workington in their remaining ties over the coming weeks.

Berwick: Doolan 12, Vissing 9, Kus 8+1, Bellego 6+2, Samota 5+1, Edberg 5, Jensen - rider rep.

Edinburgh: Masters 14+2, Cook 11, Sneddon 10+1, Fricke 7+1, Worrall 5+2, Fox 1+1, Sedgmen 0.