Well if that was it, we've had it!
The Bandits 2019 season has come to an end and while it may have ended with a whimper rather than a bang at Glasgow last Saturday, I firmly believe that we have lots of reasons to be cheerful.
By my reckoning our eventual 5th place in the league is a pretty bloody good achievement given that we were tipped by the "experts" to be struggling in the lower reaches of the table. Proving the doubters wrong with the added bonus of finishing above Edinburgh and Newcastle for good measure...I'll take that.
The fact that we were still in with a chance of making the playoffs with only a couple of meetings left shows that we have battled hard all season and that the lads have given it their all, and to be honest, you can't ask much more of them.
At times we have perhaps flattered to deceive, at times we have punched well above our weight but truthfully we haven't had many meetings where all seven guys have truly clicked on the same night and that's just the way it goes sometimes. We have had our injury problems and mechanical gremlins like every other team but we have kept battling away and regularly been in the hunt, and for that we should feel proud we finished as high as we did.
If we do wish to disect the season as a whole and analyse the very reasons we fell short of the playoffs, we could probably point to the home defeat against Redcar and the fact that we didn't pick up more points in the close run away meetings against Sheffield, Somerset, Redcar and Edinburgh.
However in no way is that a criticism of the Bandits and their performances, far from it in fact. We can be proud of the strides forward we have taken and hopefully build upon them for next season to go one, or more, better.
I know that history only tends to remember the victors, but the fact that we made the Championship Shield semi finals for the first time in 15 years would also suggest we are moving forward as a club.
To lose out to eventual winners Leicester was disappointing for sure but there was no shame in it, given the Lions won both legs against us in the semi final before disposing of Eastbourne both home and away in the final. Considering the contrast between Shielfield and Arlington, I would say that proves that Leicester are a quality side and were very worthy winners.
Will they go on to be league champions and complete the double though? That is the big question.
Well, to be honest I rank them as favourites heading into the playoffs and given that they topped the table I would say they deserve it but of course anything can happen.
Redcar were the side with all the momentum but they appear to have picked up some injury woes at the worst possible time. They will still provide very stiff opposition for Leicester but I can't help but feel that the Lions will have the edge over two legs.
But who will they meet in the final? Will it be the Glasgow Tigers or will it be the Somerset Rebels?
Both teams are as top heavy as that internet search you don't want the wife to find out about so it will be an interesting tussle. However I just feel that the Tigers will slightly edge it over two legs and that they are hitting form just at the right time after a blip a few weeks back.
As for the final... well lets just see if my semi final predictions are right first eh?!
Plus there is the small matter of some meeting at Cardiff this weekend, anyone going?
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters, you can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan