Against all odds Berwick pulled off a tremendous KO quarter-final first leg result at Rye House on Sunday.
After losing three league meetings in the previous four nights, the Bandits didn’t travel to Hoddesdon in the best of form.
They had also been left looking for another guest rider (Ipswich’s Rohan Tungate) after their original choice (Peterborough’s Michal Palm Toft) withdraw with chicken pox.
Toft had scored a superb 21-point maximum for the Bandits at Rye House in the league just a few weeks ago, and whilst Tungate didn’t live up to those expectations, he still managed three paid wins, which was a vitally important contribution.
With Alex Edberg, Kevin Doolan and Thomas Jorgensen all winning their opening races, Berwick laid down a marker to kead 6-18 after only four heats.
Richard Hall then won in five, with Doolan taking the chequered flag again in six, and when Jorgensen and Tungate took a 1-5 in seven, the Borderers suddenly found themselves 14-28 in front.
The Rockets responded with Anders Mellgren winning two races, Edward Kennett and Nikolaj Jakobsen winning the next four, but at 28-38 Berwick were still in the ascendancy.
Tungate won again in 12 and with Jorgensen taking his fourth victory of the afternoon in 14 the Bandits knew they could not be beaten.
Jakobsen got the better of Jorgensen in 15, but overall this was a fine result for Berwick at the end of what had been a very difficult week.
Rye House: N Jakobsen 11, E Kennett 10+1, A Mellgren 10, R Aspegren 4+2, L Bowen 4+1, D Maassen 3, K Nielsen rider replacement.
Berwick: T Jorgensen 16, K Doolan 11, R Tungate (guest) 8+3, R Hall 8+1, A Edberg 5, F Garcia 0, C Vissing - rider replacement.
BERWICK BANDITS 42
IPSWICH WITCHES 48
Berwick went down to their second home league defeat in the space of 72 hours when they were beaten by Ipswich at Shielfield.
Danny King looked untouchable as he raced to a fine 15-point maximum for the Witches whilst Rohan Tungate dropped only one point from his five starts.
And with Ashley Morris turning in a competent performance at reserve, dropping only one point in his first three outings, Bandits were on the back foot from the start.
After trailing by two points early on, a 5-1 from guest Matej Kus and Fernando Garcia in heat six saw the home side edge a 19-17 lead, but this was the only stage of the meeting they were to be in front.
For wins by Tungate in seven, a 1-5 from Cameron Heeps and Morris in eight, and victories for Nico Covatti in nine, Tungate in 10 and King in 11 showed just how important it was to get out of the gate first and lead coming out of the second bend.
Not for the first time in recent weeks, it was left to Kevin Doolan and Thomas Jorgensen to lead the Berwick charge and a 5-1 from Jorgensen and Alex Edberg in 12 saw the gap cut to two points again at 35-37.
King made it four out of four in 13 but with Jorgensen eventually getting the better of Tungate in 14, the teams swapped 4-2s which set up a last heat decider at 41-43.
There was no stopping King and Tungate, however, who sped from the gate and led from tapes to flag for a match-winning 1-5, making it three defeats in four days for the Bandits, who immediately called a team meeting to try and address the slide.
Berwick: T Jorgensen 13, K Doolan 10+1, M Kus (guest) 7, A Edberg 6+2, R Hall 4+2, F Garcia 2+1.
Ipswich: D King 15 (max), R Tungate 13+1, A Morris, 7+1, N Covatti 5, C Heeps 4, G Manzares 3, N Lunna 0.