Rye House Rockets 49
Berwick Bandits 43
Berwick Bandits set out on the final leg of their southern tour to wrap up their away Premier League commitments for the 2011 season on Sunday afternoon, at a venue that is normally a track of disasters for the visiting Northumbrians.
But in the opening five races, there were two race wins for Berwick guest number one David Howe, in for injured Sebastian Alden, and one for Josef Franc in the third as the match was tied at 15-15.
The fifth race saw Alex Edberg, in his ninth race in three days since being back from injury, hold a brilliant third place over Ben Morley to record a vital Berwick 2-4.
Franc took a second win in heat seven, jetting from the grid and blasting away to lead the field by a sizeable margin, while Linus Eklof put in stacks of effort to get on terms with third-placed James Brundle, but just couldn’t make the pass – the score now at 19-17.
Ritchie Hawkins and Tyson Nelson made a startling gate over Edberg and Jade Mudgway in the eighth race, and nothing either could do could stem the home maximum 5-1 as the Rockets moved ahead to 27-21.
With Nelson out in front in heat nine, Berwick skipper Lee Complin tucked into second, but had to defend his two points as Steve Boxall battled hard behind, trying everything to get round the Yorkshireman, but to no avail in the home 4-2, putting the Rockets ahead by eight.
Another 4-2 in the 10th made the difference, allowing the Bandits the chance to use a tactical ride in the 11th. The onus fell on guest Howe who got balked on bend one by the faster gating Brundle, allowing Jordan Frampton to take the lead.
However, Howe eased round Brundle at the end of lap one and then put Frampton under immense pressure throughout in the 4-4, thanks to his doubled four points.
Howe took heat 13 with ease, too, but with Franc taking two excellent wins in the last two races of the night, the last in heat 15 – a superb joint effort with Howe as Bandits took a fine maximum 1-5, ending the match at 49-43.
This gave the Bandits one league point as deserved reward in one of their best shows at Hoddesdon in years.
After the meeting returnee from injury, Alex Edberg said: “Today was only my fourth session since my big crash and I’m so unfit.
“But each race I’m closer to the pace, and more and more confident.”