Brilliant Bandits finally beat Bears!
After waiting an incredible 1,876 days, Berwick finally defeated Redcar 46-44 in a drama-filled encounter at Shielfield Park. The victorious Bandits were led superbly by their skipper, Leon Flint who hit 12 whilst Charles Wright top scored for Redcar with 12+1. In truth, it was a meeting of two halves as the Bandits controlled the early stages until Redcar bit back late on and almost made a jaw dropping comeback.
Berwick started off in the best possible manner with an opening heat 5-1 as their fast starting guest, Richie Worrall won comfortably and with Jonas Knudsen holding off Danny King for second, Berwick’s evening could not have begun any better. The spirited hosts then extended their early advantage to 6 points with a heat two 4-2 as Connor Coles won despite strong pressure from Jason Edwards, and with Berwick’s guest, Luke Killeen in 3rd, the Berwick supporters were in dreamland.
Redcar registered their first heat winner in heat 3 as Erik Riss won but with Connor Bailey at the back, Berwick’s lead remained at 6. Berwick extended their lead to 8 points in heat 4 as Justin Sedgmen made the all important gate for the Bandits and despite Wright’s best efforts, he could not hunt down the Berwick guest and with Coles 3rd, Berwick had the start they wanted.
Heat 5 saw further trouble for the Bears as the Bandits extended their advantage to 12 points with a 5-1, courtesy of their engine room partnership of Leon Flint & Jye Etheridge. Redcar finally stemmed the tide and struck their first heat advantage in heat 6 as Edwards gated and rode a superb race to hold off Richie Worrall and with Knudsen at the back, the large travelling contingent had a heat advantage to cheer.
After Sedgmen made it back to back wins in heat 7, the Bandits once again extended their lead to 12 points in a heat 8 4-2 as Knudsen won but Hume limited the damage for Redcar as he passed Coles to ensure the Bears did not concede a maximum.
After a brace of shared heats won by Wright and Worrall respectively, Gavin Parr played his tactical substitute card in the shape of Wright who joined King in heat 11. The switch paid dividends as the Bears duo gated and secured a relatively comfortable 5-1 to haul the “Agilia” Bears within 8 of the Bandits.
Heat 12 saw huge drama but most of the drama came after the chequered flag! Edwards gated but out of the 2nd bend, Bailey was at the back. However, the U21 British Champion passed Coles towards the end of lap 1 but despite Bailey’s best efforts, he could not find a way past Etheridge but the Bears did have a 4-2.
To the surprise of most, the on track action was not done as Etheridge and Bailey exchanged words after the race which culminated in a melee just before the pits gate. Both riders were eventually separated by their respective teams.
With the meeting still in the balance, the eyes focused back on track as the Bears dragged themselves within two of the tenacious Bandits with a superb heat 13 5-1. However, Berwick hit back with an important heat 14 4-2 as Flint won and with Coles doing well to hold off Edwards, Berwick edged closer to a long awaited win.
Heat 15 saw Flint gate until the Bandits skipper was passed by King on lap 3 with Wright stretching every sinew to pass Flint and going into bend 3 lap 4, we had a Bandits win & a super heat still a possibility! However, with Flint having the all important outside line, Wright had to attempt a cut back but unfortunately for the Bears, it wasn’t enough and Berwick took the spoils and 2 league points.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t all bad news for the Bears as they secured the aggregate bonus point 101-79 on aggregate.
Berwick = 46 (79)
1. Richie Worrall (G) = 9
2. Jonas Knudsen = 5+1
3. Jye Etheridge = 6+3
4. Leon Flint = 12
5. Justin Sedgmen (G) = 7
6. Luke Killeen (G) = 1
7. Connor Coles = 6
Redcar = 44 (101)
1. Danny King = 10+1
2. Danyon Hume = 2
3. Connor Bailey = 3+2
4. Erik Riss = 9
5. Charles Wright = 12+1
6. Jason Edwards = 8
7. Luke Harrison = 0