GOING LIVE!

Published on 30th April 2021
Author Dick Barrie

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Eighteen months on – and a real, live, official league speedway match at Shielfield Park tomorrow (Saturday 1st May) night!

Yip, as the boss says (writes me, quoting directly from Jamie’s post elsewhere on this website) “The newly-formed Berwick Bullets will be going live and you can still (up til midnight tonight) sign up to the Early Bird Livestream offer for just £6.99 – it goes up a quid if you wait until race-day – over on the Bandits TV page. The FAQ section you’ll find there has any further information you’d need to do with the stream, how to sign up, register for payment and more”.

But it all seems pretty simple. Basically, just click on https://www.berwickspeedway.com/banditstv/

Even a surprising number of folk from the left-hand coast are checking it out, I understand – especially to watch Kyle Bickley (and Whitehaven’s George Rothery) in action.

This will be the first official speedway match in the UK since 2019, and we are proud to welcome the Armadale Devils to town.

As you will presumably be well aware, this event must be staged behind closed doors, but the live stream will kick off at 6.45pm in Tweedmouth – which is 10.45am in Bakersfield, California, 2.45pm in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, 3.45am on Sunday in Brisbane, Australia and 5.45am in Auckland NZ.

Why do I list these places? Because I’ve had correspondence (e-mail address below) from all of them in reply to stuff I’ve posted on these weblogs over the past few years – and I suspect there will be more than a few folk getting themselves on stream tomorrow from faraway places with strange-sounding names…..

The team that wins tomorrow will, of course go to the top of the NDL standings. If it is the Bullets, I’m hoping that they’ll be staying there, all season long!

The opposition are making a comeback to the game of course, having previously raced in what was then the Conference League in the early years of this century.

I had a check, and find the last time the ‘Dale Devils raced at this level was in October, 2005. Their final match was at Stoke, when they won the Conference Trophy with a team comprising seven Scottish riders.

Despite the defeated Potters having a chappie called Gary Flint at No 2 that night (paid 5) his undoubted talents couldn’t prevent the Devils running out 50-43 winners, led by a 15-point maximum from current Monarch Willie Lawson.

This time around they have Nathan Greaves at the top of their team – boasting a very healthy average, higher than any of the Bullets – and very much the man to beat tomorrow.

Nathan has always been a winner – he racked up British U-16 titles at various grades in 2011/12/13, and found the quickest way around Berwick in 2017 when he won that season’s Starza at the age of nineteen.

But what a lot of folk will also recall was a really rambunctious night at Coventry in 2014, when Nathan and (fellow-Devil) Danny Phillips got all fired up in a spat with James Sarjeant – highlighted by Nathan’s over-enthusiastic leap into the crowd to “have a wee word” with one particularly-mouthy local supporter!

No danger of the same thing happening tomorrow, of course – for a start, there won’t be a crowd for him to jump into!

The fact of the Armadale line-up being 100% Scottish back in 2005 indicates the way forward for their club’s boldly-announced ambition of training and developing local talent – an ambition very much in the sights, and maybe already a little further on too, of our own Berwick promotion.

The last time Scotland could muster seven riders in one team was October of 2009, when they took on (and defeated, 41-37) a Rest of the World squad at Shielfield Park. The format used that night called for eight-rider teams however, and when the Scots had a late call-off, a ‘ringer’ – born in Ashington – was drafted in to keep the numbers up.

Name of Jamie Courtney. What happened to him, I wonder?

So, if Scotland are to find a way back – and it’ll be a long way, I regret to say – the introduction this season of NDL competition here and up the road can’t but help their cause.

Between the two sides rolling out at seven o’clock tomorrow there will be five Scots – three Bullets and two in the colours of the Stellar Devils.

It’s a start.

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Disagree with Dick – as so many do? He is always be happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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