Berwick made one change, Greg Blair coming in for Kyle Bickley, for their visit to title-chasing Glasgow Tigers who drafted Richard Lawson and Tom Brennan in as guests, writes Lawrence Heppell. The Borders club lost 54-36 despite Kasper Andersen (pictured by TaxMcd) scoring 16 points.
Lawsen was in Heat One for the absent Craig Cook but it was emerging star, Leon Flint who gated fastest, holding off Lawson on bends one and two before pulling away to take an great win, but at the back Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen ground to a halt with machine trouble in a shared 3-3.
Heat Two put two points between the sides, a win for Justin Sedgmen from the gate followed by Kasper Andersen who had to work hard to keep Connor Bailey in third, while Blair also had a retirement while at the back with the score at 7-5, while skipper Jye Etheridge gated well in the third only for Sam Jensen and Tom Brennan to pass him on the back straight, however Brennan fell and remounted, to finish last in the 3-3, as Glasgow led 10-8.
Aaron Summers became Berwick’s second heat winner in Heat Four having passed Bailey on bend two, while Blair took another fall on the second lap in a third shared race, with the Bandits’ deficit still only two points, however Heat Five was looking good for Berwick with Flint away in front until Busk Jakobsen and Jensen were battling inches apart for third, when Jensen went down and the referee excluded the Berwick man as the cause calling for a re-run without him after a significant delay to fix the fence. The re-run Flint did it again having passed Brennen off bend two in a 3-3, moving the scores onto 16-14.
Heat Seven looked like another 3-3, with led by Ricky Wells ahead of Etheridge and Gappmaier, but Sedgmen then powered up and passed both Bandits off bend two in a home maximum 5-1, extending their lead to 24-18, while the 3-3s were back in Heat Eight, won by Andersen after he passed Bailey on the second bend, but out of character, Flint was stuck at the back with the score at 27-21.
Heat Nine was again shared, before Flint was brought into the 10th as a tactical substitute for Gappmaier, but it was Broc Nicol who led from the gate to win with Flint in second until Lawson turned the screws and powered up behind the Bandits, going under him off bend two of the second lap for a second home 5-1, but now Berwick trailed by 10, 35-25, but Berwick’s hard work throughout had kept them still within striking distance with five races to go.
Unfortunately, Glasgow had taken a liking to maximums as Wells and Sedgmen taking the five, although Flint in third made Sedgmen work to the flag for his points, but with the score now 40-26, things were looking bleak for the Bandits, and despite a great win for Andersen in Heat 12, after passing Bailey, the third place for Brennan over Etheridge took another 3-3, and with the scores now 43-29, and mathematically Glasgow had won with three heats remaining.
Team manager Gary Flint said: “Poor Nikolaj had a complete mare. We know he’s a class act,. We know he’ll come good again.
“Kasper was excellent again at Reserve and got us important points all through the match, while Leon started like a train, but found things harder later on.
“All-in-all, at the home of a club battling for the league title, this wasn’t half a bad Berwick performance. Pride to be had I think, just a shame we lost ground in the closing stages.”
Glasgow Tigers 54: Richard Lawson (guest) 2,3,2*,3,2 = 12+1; Broc Nicol 1*,0,1*,3 = 5+2; Tom Brennan (guest) 0,2,0,1* = 3+1; Sam Jensen 3,1*,3,3 = 10+1; Ricky Wells (c) 2,3,3,1 = 9; Justin Sedgmen (r) 3,2*,2*,2*,X = 9+3; Connor Bailey (r) 1,1*,2,2,0 = 6+1
Berwick FTS Bandits 36: Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen R,X,0,N = 0; Leon Flint 3,3,0,1,1 = 8; Jye Etheridge (c) 2,1,0,0 = 3; Dany Gappmaier 1*,0,1,N = 2+1; Aaron Summers 3,1*,2,0,1 = 7+1; Kasper Andersen (r) 2,2,1*,3,3,2,3 = 16+1; Greg Blair (guest) (r) R,F,0,N = 0