Berwick Bandits 49-43 Somerset Rebels

Berwick went into this meeting probably feeling that they were the underdogs, but despite all their problems they still managed to pull off a win.

By Keith Hamblin
Sunday, 17th August 2014, 9:09 am

Somerset - last season’s league champions - were the visitors, and the Bandits fielded what can only be described as an unusual looking side.

That’s because captain Matty Wethers was sidelined through injury, and David Bellego and in-form reserve Matej Kus were both missing because of commitments riding abroad.

As a result The Borderers had to use rider replacement to cover for Wethers, with two guests, Thomas Jorgensen and Anders Thomsen, drafted in to cover for the other absentees.

Under those circumstances, Somerset, who are one of only two teams above Berwick in the Premier League table, were expected to push the home side all the way, and in truth they gave it a good go.

And as they left with the losing bonus point for finishing within six points, it meant their trip to Shielfield was not entirely unrewarding.

Somerset, with Nick Morris winning heat one and Todd Kurtz and Paul Starke taking a 1-5 from heat two, led 4-8 in the early stages.

Berwick managed to turn it around with three heat advantages of their own, inspired by Steen Jensen, who picked himself up after two first races crashes, to win his opening rides.

The ever-dependable Olly Allen won heat six for the visitors, but two successive home 5-1s in seven and eight saw the Bandits establish a healthy 29-19 advantage.

Unfortunately, Berwick were then reduced to only five riders when guest Jorgensen was forced to withdraw from the meeting after feeling unwell.

Allen went for double points as a tactical ride in nine, but he was beaten from the gate by Jensen, who sped to his third win of the night, by this time on his second bike after his original machine had been damaged in an earlier incident.

After Claus Vissing won his only race of the night in ten, a 1-5 from Morris and Starke in 11 brought Somerset back into contention at 37-31, and Bandits knew they could not be too complacent.

Another two fantastic wins by Jensen in 12 and 14, split by another Allen victory in 13, saw Bandits close the meeting out at 47-39, but the bonus point was still up for grabs.

Jensen, after five straight wins, made the gate, but the race was stopped for an unsatisfactory start, and Allen popped out for his third win of the night in the re-run, inflicting the only defeat of the night on the Dane.

Morris, meanwhile, kept Vissing at the back for the vital third place, which gave the travelling Rebels’ supporters something to cheer about at the end.