There is no finer sporting spectacle than a good old local derby match.
In football you have the Old Firm, Merseyside, Manchester and numerous London based derbies and in every single one of them there is usually a major talking point, flared tempers and a good old bit of needle, and that is because these matches matter that little bit more.
And in a proper sport like speedway, that is no different. But as much as you always want to win these types of meetings they are important for many different reasons.
You see unlike football, there isn't the obscene amounts of money being thrown at speedway so it could still turn a profit even if the stadium was empty. There simply has to be as many people coming through the turnstiles as possible and it is these types of meetings that tend to draw the larger crowds which are crucial towards helping the clubs survive. Unlike in high level football, the fans really matter in speedway.
This weekend your Bandits will do battle home and away with the Edinburgh Monarchs and both clubs will be hoping or a bumper crowd for both meetings.
Will there be controversy? Probably!
Will there be flared tempers? There's every chance!
Will it be tense? Most definitely!
Will the Bandits do the double? Lets just wait and see!
My point is that these meetings have all the makings of a classic derby, all the ingredients are there for sure. Whilst Berwick may not be regarded as Edinburgh's greatest rival, I would argue that Edinburgh, along with perhaps Newcastle, are certainly Berwick's.
Traditionally the meetings between the two sides are tense and tetchy affairs and you get the impression that an incident is never far away and that the meeting could boil over at any point. The epic encounters between Michal Makovsky and Ryan Fisher immediately spring to mind, where you knew that no quarter was being asked or given, that is what a derby match is all about.
The Edinburgh Monarchs have been branded smug by their furry friends in the West, and they have gone on record as saying that every season, every race and every meeting they simply want to win, and that attitude is drummed into their riders. While there is nothing wrong with being confident, it is all the sweeter to see it all crashing down, to slay the beast as it were and put the beating to those who believe they are the best.
Now over the years I have poked my fair share of fun at the Monarchs and other clubs, but it is all in the interests of fun. Sure the victories over the Monarchs taste sweeter than most, and the defeats against them hurt that little bit more, but the simple fact is that no matter what anyone thinks, the league, and speedway in general would be a poorer place without them.
Take Workington as an example, they were another side who the Bandits loved to beat and loathed to lose to but you certainly can't deny that the meetings between the two sides were always of a tense and tetchy nature, with the occasional flared temper thrown in for good measure. But sadly, at least for now, that is confined to the memory box, meaning that we have to make the most of what we still have.
No matter how much we wish to deny it, the Monarchs need us and we need the Monarchs, but that friendship and mutual respect goes out the window when the tapes fly up, then it's every team for themselves.
Armadale Stadium, Friday 7.30pm,
Shielfield Park, Saturday 7pm,
The Berwick Bandits and the Edinburgh Monarchs, good friends, better enemies in a battle for speedway supremecy.
Will the Bandits batter the Monarchs into the depths of derby despair?
Get your backside trackside and find out!
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