Berwick Bandits 47-46 Scunthorpe Scorpions

Berwick edged a tense thriller against fellow play-off candidates Scunthorpe in a last heat decider at Shielfield.

The Bandits held a ten point lead at one stage, but the Scorpions, helped by a 1-8 from a double-pointed tactical ride, forced their way back into contention, and at one point actually held a three point advantage of their own.

In the end it took all the home side’s efforts just to eke out the slenderest of victories.

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With Claus Vissing winning his opening two rides, and Berwick taking a 5-1 from heat two, the Bandits forged ahead in the early stages and led 21-15 after six, Scunthorpe seeing Josh Auty, Ashley Birks and David Howe all taking the chequered flag during that initial period.

Another 5-1 from Matej Kus and Matty Wethers in seven saw the Bandits go 26-16 in front, which put the visitors in tactical ride territory, and they made full use of the facility in heat eight when Howe sped from the gate with Birks for a 1-8 ahead of the chasing David Bellego to close the gap to 27-24.

Kevin Doolan, who had a decent meeting, took a 4-2 from nine withSteen Jensen, split by Thomas Jorgensen.

But the Scorpions then turned the meeting on its head,taking maximum points from heats 10 and 11 through Ryan Douglas and Auty, who took advantage of a first bend fall by Vissing, and Howe and guest Hugh Skidmore, which meant a 13-point swing over four heats.

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Doolan stopped the rot with a home win in 12 before Kus and Vissing led from start to finish in 13 as the Bandits got their noses back in front at 41-40.

Birks took an unfortunate fall on the second bend at the start of heat 14, bringing down Jensen, and was excluded from the re-run.

But Auty won the re-staging and the shared heat meant the teams went into heat 15 separated by just one point at 44-43.

Initially it looked as if Scunthorpe might just steal the win as they held a 4-2 lead through Douglas and Howe, but Kus managed to squeeze his way past Howe off the fourth bend on the second lap for the vital third place behind Doolan, which meant Berwick fans could breathe a huge sigh of relief, although the visitors took a losing bonus point.

Berwick 47

Claus Vissing 3, 3, F, 2’ 8+1

David Bellego 0, 2’, 1, 1 4+1

Kevin Doolan 1’, 2, 3, 3, 2 11+1

NSteen Jensen 2, 0, 1, 1’ 4+1

Matej Kus 2, 3, 1, 3, 1’ 10+1

Matthew Wethers 3, 2’, 0, 2 7+1

Alex Edberg 2’, 1’, 0, 0 3+2

Scunthorpe 46

Hugh Skidmore 1’, 1, 2’, 1 5+2

David Howe 2, 3, 6!, 3, 0 14

Ryan Douglas 0, 0, 3, 2, 3 8

Josh Auty 3, 1, 2’, 3 9+1

Thomas Jorgensen 0, 1, 2, 0 3

Tom Perry 0, 0, 0 0

Ashley Birks 1, 3, 2’, 1’, Fx 7+2