Berwick Border Raiders 51 Dudley Heathens 41
In a departure from regular League racing the Berwick Bandits hosted the National League’s top team, the Dudley Heathens, in a challenge match against the Berwick Border Raiders youth side skippered by local schoolboy Liam Carr.
Micky Dyer, the Raiders’ number one took no time in establishing a massive lead in Heat One with returnee from injury, Adam Roynon taking a steady third for the Heathens in a home 5-1.
Max Clegg and Nathan Greaves, the Heathens’ reserve pairing had never seen Berwick before nor had they ever seen a track as big and found the going tough in Heat Two against the winner Carr and second Luke Crang in another big 5-1 taking the Raiders into a 10-2 lead.
Paul Starke, usually a Bandit, was racing for his National League side and took a fine victory in Heat Three to break the maximum run with a shared 3-3. In Heat Four Steve Worrall ground to a halt on the third bend of the opening lap, but coming off bend two of the second lap Carr seemed to lose concentration and drift dramatically wide, clipping the fence and hitting the deck and excluded from the re-run in which Max Fricke took the easy win in the 3-2 result.
Tamas Syke flew round Worrall off bend two in Heat Six to take the three points in a shared 3-3 with young Luke Ruddick bringing up the rear behind the Heathens’ pair to take the score on to 22-13.
Roynon took a fine gate to flag win in Heat Seven to lead the way for the visitors’ first heat advantage of the night, 2-4 to narrow the gap to 24-17, but in Heat Eight Nathan Greaves made the early gate only for Syke to fly round him off bend two and Carr to dive under him off bend four to form another Raiders’ maximum pushing the home side 29-18 ahead.
Dudley manager Will Potinger nominated Worrall as a tactical ride for double points in Heat Nine and after a false start he shot away to take a six point win in the 2-7 heat result taking the Heathens much closer to the leading Raiders with the score now 31-25.
Following a Heat 10 Raiders maximum Roynon took another expert gate to flag win for a shared 3-3 result over Fricke and Luke Crang to take the score with four races left to 39-29 which was reduced to 41-33 after a Starke win over Carr who forced his way round Clegg on bend three of the opening lap.
Roynon’s bike played up off bend two and came to a halt letting Dyer take a Raiders’ win with Worrall in second for a match winning home 4-2 which took the scores to 45-35 with two races left on the card.
Club Co-Owner John Anderson was pleased with what he’d seen, saying: “This was an exciting venture for us and to welcome the best team in the National League to our stadium was indeed an honour.
“A decent sized crowd turned out on not the warmest June night ever, and thoroughly enjoyed the racing and got right behind the teams – and it was good to see a good number of travellers from the Midlands coming up to join the fun.
The racing was good again proving you don’t need the huge speed to get the thrills and all the lads out there tonight really put in the efforts to entertain and succeeded admirably.”