Godel needs to complete the job

Published on 9th April 2020
Author George Dodds

Unbeaten, top of the Championship – on alphabetical order – surely a satisfying first weekend of the 2020 speedway season in the Borders.
Unfortunately the only “live” action for Bandits’ fans at 7pm on Saturday night was via the club’s Youtube channel as we screened the now traditional Tiger-gubbing at Shielfield – this time the 2018 Championship Shield clash with Glasgow.
More is expected to follow this Saturday – details elsewhere on this website when they are finalised – and this “as live” experience will have to do until the pandemic is over.
In all honesty sport comes pretty low down on the list of priorities when the world is seemingly going to hell in a handcart … except I was really were looking forward to seeing the new-look racing strip; Aaron’s coronation as leader of the Black and Gold army; a new track record; back-to-back wins over Redcar, the Tiggs and Diamonds.
Instead lockdown, meltdown and Porton Down – once the home of Britain’s chemical warfare boffins and apparently now the nerve (gas!) centre of finding a cure for this Covid thingy – assuming it played no part in unleashing it in the first place.
Technically we’ve only lost the first week of the speedway season so far – along with press and practice – but there seems little doubt that there will be more nights in to endure before any light is turned on at the end of the tunnel.
On the plus side it grants those recovering from winter surgery the opportunity to heal fully – although they are all chomping at the bit to get the racing wheels rolling again.
Speedway hasn’t even begun and those sports whose season has ground to a shuddering halt have been getting to grips with how to decide the ups and downs.
Locally you have to feel for Berwick Rugby Club who had enjoyed a cracking season and was odds-on for promotion to Scottish National League two when the Corona guillotine dropped – eight points ahead of second placed Lasswade with four games left to play.
Last week the Scottish RFU declared the entire season null and void, all results expunged from the records with promotion and relegation suspended accordingly.
Part of me hopes that English football’s Premier League follows suit if only to annoy the plastic Liverpool fans who have come out of the woodwork locally this season but really it seems a travesty that a season over 80% complete is consigned to the dustbin.
In all honesty the writing was on the wall as soon as the SRFU took the decision not to act as arbiters of what was best for the game and left the decision in the hands of its member clubs.
Unsurprisingly the clubs took the traditional turkeys don’t vote for Christmas approach with those facing relegation leading the charge towards null and voidery.
Inaction in action.
Shame that the bods at Murrayfield didn’t invest a few bob in hiring some of Scotland’s mathematical geniuses who are currently under home arrest, unable to fill the whiteboards of academia with their scribblings and task them with inventing the rugby equivalent of the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method which for decades has – relatively even-handedly – recalibrated batting targets when inclement weather intervenes in limited overs cricket.
Their inspired fusion of formulae, calculus and logarithms could have seen mathematically calculated points awarded for unplayed games based on previous performance, opponents’ form and suitable weighting for home advantage and the likes effectively playing the unplayable out in cyberspace and completing the leagues.
Or they could have looked at points’-haul from previous fixtures, divide it by games played and then multiply it by those abandoned.
Not exactly threatening Pythagoras, Faraday or Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem but surely worth a try – and all fairer than scrapping the season.
Indeed a variation on the theme could be used to negate the annual need for speedway to delay its play-off cut-off dates.
English rugby came up with a somewhat different solution to the same problem – sort of.
They still plan to somehow complete the top tier Premiership play-offs and all but have honoured Newcastle’s promotion to the big league next season … whenever that may start.
True the fact that the Falcons were 18 points clear of their nearest promotion rivals and the decision to relegate Saracens due to their incessant flouting of the salary cap had been announced months earlier made things a little easier.
But the RFU also announced plans to honour promotion and relegation throughout the rest of the leagues – based on a mysterious calculation referred to only as best playing record formula which is so complicated that clubs will have to wait for an official announcement from the RFU before they know how their season ended!.
Again those who will benefit – mostly with promotion – praise the decision, those who lose out and are relegated are less overjoyed – but at least the chaps and chapettes at Twickers have chosen to act rather than follow their Scottish counterparts who “bravely” chose to do nowt.
In the other rugby code there is a call for relegation from Superleague to be put on hold for a season – the leading proponent being the man who pumps the money into Toronto Wolfpack who – coincidentally or not – have lost all of the six games already played before the virus struck and would be odds-on favourites to go down if the season resumed.
Strange times give sporting administrators the opportunity to look outside the usual tramlines when it comes to breathing life into their sports.
Some will shine, many will remain dull, which camp speedway pitches its tent in remains to be seen.
Finally in these difficult time I would like to make a plea on behalf of a section of society whose difficulties has been terribly overlooked as Britain went into full panic buying mode.
Loo roll, flour, yeast, pasta, booze and baked beans have been stockpiled by a nation not exactly embracing the historical notion of British stiff upper lippedness in adversity.
It has been heart-breaking to see the crestfallen faces of this section of society, their forlorn shuffle down the arrowed shopping aisles – two metres apart from fellow shopaholics – and out through the door, bereft.
In some cases family businesses which have operating for decades are under a very real threat with little indication that the government is preparing to intervene financially.
So spare a thought for your local firms of shoplifters.
Some have been robbing supermarkets in Berwick for decades, their light-fingerdness – along with the specially adapted long jackets and rucksacks – handed down through generations.
They are suffering too.
Be kind, be safe, bebopalula.

George Dodds
George Dodds

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