Saturday night, simply put wasn’t in the script.
The Bandits had previously been dominant at home and Shielfield had become somewhat of a fortress, and everyone was feeling good…until about four seconds into our clash against Redcar.
Already operating rider replacement for Leon Flint, the Bandits lost Jye Etheridge, ironically in a race where he was replacing Leon Flint following a very awkward off after a typically tight first turn.
A racing incident all day long but it was all but over as a contest at that point. With seven riders it was going to be a tough test, with six it would have been a tall order but after being reduced to five made it all but impossible to beat a quality Redcar side.
In previous seasons, I would say that an incident like that would have almost knocked the stuffing out of the Bandits and result in them rolling over and having their bellies tickled. However, the 2022 version is a very different animal compared to previous incarnations and they took the fight to Redcar right to the last heat.
Okay so we fell short but I’ve long since maintained that I can stomach defeat if the team go down swinging and to a man, the remaining Bandits rode like demons and gave everything they had to get the better of the Bears.
Now I know there is a lot to say about ifs and buts, but IF we hadn’t lost Jye, we would have beaten the Bears.
I know that if you’re auntie had balls, she would be your uncle and I know that if ifs and buts were pots and pans you would be a scrap metal merchant, but the point remains that we are a quality side, and we simply haven’t had the luck so far in 2022.
Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story…
Edinburgh have been poor by their own standards in 2022 and they have weaknesses within their side which Glasgow and Leicester have exploited. They have new riders who are bedding in and they haven’t been performing and they had their best performance against the Bandits. As such we missed out on a point.
Newcastle, with no disrespect, are poor this season and most teams will be heading to Brough Park with a win in mind and so did we until heat two and we were reduced to five riders and a tough ask became all but impossible. Now, where have I heard that before? The difference being we salvaged a point there, but it could and would have been three or four if we had a full team.
The point being we haven’t had the rub of the green, the luck of the draw or the fortunes that our considerable efforts have ultimately deserved.
But one poor result simply doesn’t define a season.
We may be battered, and we may be bruised but the Bandits sure as hell aren’t beaten.
We’re too good a side not to be in the hunt and we’ve shown a battling spirit unlike anything I’ve seen from some Bandits sides of the past; all we need is a little bit of luck and an injury free run. What I would say is the ideal time for that would be when we make the playoffs and it is better to get the bad luck out of the way now than at the business end of the season.
This weekend sees an arguably welcome break in Bandits action following a gruelling southern tour of meetings at Plymouth and Poole, where our line-up will likely resemble a patchwork quilt. That break doesn’t mean a lack of speedway at Shielfield as the Bullets take centre stage once more.
Now the Bullets have served up action worthy of being televised every single time they’ve been on track and here’s hoping that trend continues. This weekend they take on the Kent Royals in what promises to be another tense encounter.
But the return of the Bullets isn’t the only big news of this upcoming weekend. For you see this weekend sees the return of myself and Marty back up the gantry and back on commentary duties, something which we both confess to have missed doing after a night off on Saturday.
We’ve been dubbed the shouty brothers which is great patter. We’ve been praised, and we’ve been criticised and it’s all in a night’s work. We’ve had feedback from everyone from those who matter as well as those who don’t know how many laps are in a speedway race.
However, the key thing is that we are enjoying what we are doing and if people are enjoying it then that is fantastic.
Long may it continue!
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply wish 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 tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time…and there will be a next time.
Right, I’ll hae’tae gan.