Bandits bow out of Shield to a ferocious Lions
Berwick "Mike Hope of Wooler Ltd." (Powered by Clear Energy Consulting) 42
Leicester "Watling JCB" Lions 48
Championship Shield Semi Final Second Leg
Leicester win on aggregate 78-102
Photo Credit: TazMcd Photography
The Berwick Bandits went into last night's Championship Shield Semi Final, deciding leg, 18 points behind from last Sunday's first leg, and all the home lads knew, with the likes of seven times British Champion, Scott Nicholls and Richie Worrall leading the Leicester Lions it was not going to be an easy night, and with the number of rock hard first bend clashes, that theory was well proven.
Kevin Doolan made a superb gate in Heat One to lead ahead of Nicholls and with Aaron Summers taking third Berwick were 4-2 ahead until Connor Mountain and Jack Thomas rode a superb heat two to leave Leon Flint and Coty Garcia chasing in a Lions; maximum to leapfrog the visitors up and over Berwick, 5-7.
Ryan Douglas fell after a tight opening bend in Heat Three with all four called back only for an identical situation to arise in that second bite with the same decision, all four recalled. At the third attempt, Douglas got boxed in of bend two by the two Bandits, but with Josh Bates well ahead of Jye Etheridge, the best Berwick could get was a 3-3, the same as Heat Four won well by Richie Worrall as Leon Flint recovered better than Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen following a very hard first bend which saw Mountain in the main bother, but stayed on to finish at the back.
With the score now 11-13 (and Leicester well in control on aggregate, 47-67) Nicholls shot round Etheridge off bend two to lead and win in a 2-4, followed by and Bandits' 4-2 from a great Summers gate and three points as Worrall successfully blocked Doolan from getting into second with the score on the night now 17-19, and over all, 53-73.
Bates continued his brilliant night with a second gate to flag win over Busk Jakobsen while Douglas took his first point of the night holding a lowly down on power Garcia at the back in another Lions' 2-4 as they took a solid grip on the semi.
Etheridge and Gappmaier made short shrift of Heat None taking a solid 5-1 over a shocked Worrall to haul the Bandits four points closer again, while in Heat 10, surprisingly Douglas was the Lions to pop out of the gate to lead and win well over Doolan and Summers while the previously unbeaten Bates finished stone last in the shared 3-3 result taking the one the night score to 29-31 and on aggregate 65-85.
It was all over bar the shouting after Heats 11 and 12 as the Lions justifiably rode in to the final, but in Heat 13 Summers was well out and set to take an easy three points until on the first bend of the last lap he inexplicably went hard in the fence (later revealed the result of a snapping chain), falling hard allowing Nicholls and Worrall through to share the race, moving the scores on to 36-42, and over all 72-96, but it was Leicester's night with an overall win of 78-102.
Bandits' team boss Gary Flint said: "Leicester came to us tonight in no doubt they had already qualified for the final in the solid and workmanlike way they went about the job in hand. There were time our guys just couldn't get going and while we only took six last places all night, the damning fact for us was we could only manage four heat wins which left us lacking tonight. However we wish Leicester all the best for the final and wholeheartedly congratulate them on their deserved win."
Individual Riders' Score chart
Berwick "Mike Hope of Wooler Ltd." Bandits (Powered by Clear Energy Consulting) 42 (78)
1 Aaron Summers 1,3,1*,F = 5+1
2 Kevin Doolan (c) 3,1,2,2,1* = 9+1
3 Jye Etheridge 2,2,3,3,2 = 12
4 Dany Gappmaier 1*,0,2*,2 = 5+2
5 Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 1*,2,2,1 = 6+1
6 Coty Garcia (r) 0,0,N,1,1* = 2+1
7 Leon Flint (r) 1,2,0,0,N = 3
Leicester "Watling JCB" Lions 48 (102)
1 Scott Nicholls (c) 2,3,3,3 = 11
2 Ellis Perks 0,1,3,1 = 5
3 Josh Bates 3,3,0,2 = 8
4 Ryan Douglas R,1,3,3,3 = 10
5 Richie Worrall 3,2,1,2*,0 = 8+1
6 Jack Thomas (r) 2*,0,0,0 = 2+1
7 Connor Mountain (r) 3,0,1,0 = 4