Dick Barrie's picture

It is good to be in control of our own destiny.

Saturday (and Sunday) will see the return to the colours of Jye Etheridge – missing for over a month – and Coty Garcia, who hasn’t actually missed a meeting, despite suffering a busted wing on the night we de-smugged them Mondorks.

While rider-replacement, plus guests of the calibre of Josh Bates and Matty Wethers ably filled in the blanks as we marched into the Championship Shield semi-finals, it is much better to know that the boys are all back together for this weekend’s business against the Yorkshire Tigs.

Which won’t be easy.

Sheffield have assembled a good side again, and will be packing more than a few solid Shielfield scorers on their side of the pits on Saturday – Danny King and Kyle Howarth each having especially impressive records on our shale.

This is the first of twenty matches in our league campaign. Having successfully completed the early stages of the Shield campaign, we have to be reasonably confident of doing OK in the main league, too.

Saturday will tell regarding home form, and Sunday might give us an indication of how our away exploits might shape up – will we see the Banditos who demolished the Diamonds and gave the Monarchs a tremendous match – or the team that slumped to ignominious surrender at Ashfield?

Mention of the match up at Edinburgh brings me to total agreement with the Mythman’s summary in his own blog posting yesterday – it was one of the best matches I’ve seen, anywhere, for years!

OK, we lost by a point, but what a battle! Even the deciding race could have gone either way in each of the three attempts to complete it – just a great speedway match.

I’d take matches like that – although I’d prefer to win, rather than lose by the odd point of course – any day of the week, instead of the 44-point thrashing the Monarchs delivered to Scunny eight days later!

Looking ahead, we are at Eastbourne – for the first time since we won there in 1991 – on Saturday week.

Having witnessed quite a few sunny Sunday afternoon slappings down there over the years, I’m fairly sure that Tatum/Nilsen-inspired victory of 28 years ago will have been our only success in Sussex. Anoraks please confirm.

I see young Tom Brennan has been called up to race in a World U-21 semi-final in Poland that day, which can’t be the worst news for our Banditos – we saw how quick and confident Tom was around Shielfield in the British U-21 last month, imagine how good he’ll be on his home track?

Although I’m sure the Eagles will be able to find another handy two-pointer to replace him, Tom’s actual home average so far this season is a stonking 8.00, but (thankfully) his official figure will stay at an assessed two until he’s completed four home, four away – by which time our visit to Sussex will have been and gone.

Mind you, Eastbourne are also through to the Shield semi-finals, and while we await news of the fourth qualifier (Glasgow or Somerset) and for the ties to be set up, who can say if our paths won’t cross again?

But right now, we concentrate on this Saturday.


Seven o’clock.


Full team on parade for (you’ll be happy to hear) Steve to introduce.

Be there, bring everyone you know.

The boys are back in town!


Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk