LONESOME TOWN

Published on 7th October 2022
Author Dick Barrie

As things stand tonight, our Bandits and Bullets face long, long hauls to away fixtures in 2023.

Having apparently lost our two closest rivals within a matter of a few months our, derby visits will no longer be south on the A1 to bumpy Brough or north up the same road to awkward Armadale….

Get this, the Bandits’ closest circuits will now be Redcar – 90 miles away – or Glasgow at 103 miles!

After that, the next-nearest port of call would be Scunny, exactly 200 miles from Shielfield.

The Bullets will hopefully find their new nearest and dearest 115 miles to the west, on the left-hand coast — assuming the Northside circuit at Workington is (a) completed in time, and (b) accepted into the NDL. After that they’ll be looking at Belle Vue, a mere 160 miles away…..

Our pals up at Glasgow will be in an even worse situation, by the way – we are now their nearest neighbour, with no other current speedway in either of the upper leagues within 200 miles of Ashfield!

This isn’t good.

It puts Berwick’s two speedway teams at risk, with many fewer supporters from visiting clubs attending our meetings – and thus makes the need for a consolidated effort from everyone in our border outpost to rally round the black-and-gold banner.

Running speedway without visiting supporters in the numbers we’ve enjoyed in the past from close neighbours will be more expensive.

We will need more sponsorship, more fan-powered donations and, ideally, more spectators. Speedway is a three-headed animal, part sport, part entertainment and partly a business. If the business can’t pay the bills, the sporting entertainment will wither and die……..

We have to ensure our Shielfield Saturdays remain a focal point, both for townsfolk and the many people who reside in the ever-wider area around us where no speedway bikes will be heard….

Let’s face it, speedway is Berwick’s only professional sport featuring international stars virtually every week.. Soccer, rugby and horse-racing are our main competitors for the sporting entertainment dollar – and none of these pastimes compare with the family-friendly atmosphere we can generate among us on a summer Saturday night.

But before we descend into a discontented winter, we have at least one more Saturday to enjoy – and that’s tomorrow!

Our NDL lads have done us proud again this season, with the exuberance of Greg Blair, the emergence of 15-year-old Ace Pijper and the steady improvement of local lad Mason Watson their stand-out reasons to be cheerful.

These gallant GHT Bullets are in the play-offs – the first Berwick team to reach this stage of a league competition, I reckon – and face reigning NDL champions Mildenhall, with an away leg to follow eight days later. After that…….?

We’ll know by half-past nine tomorrow – having also watched the future of our sport in not one but two Northern Junior League mini-matches, rounding off that campaign, too.

Twenty-seven races for a tenner! £3 for under-sixteens – and a single measly quid for accompanied kids under twelve.

Book ahead on www.berwickspeedway.com/tickets to save faffing about with turnstile cash, and queuing up in the cold!

See you at speedway – let’s go skidding!
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Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do)? He is always happy to hear from interesting people on dick@crystalfm.co.uk

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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