So the season that promised so much is over with more of a whimper rather than the bang that was intended as Glasgow put us to the sword for the second time this season.
Once again the Bandits had the wind taken out of their sails before a wheel was turned when Jason Crump, guesting for Nickolaj, was taken ill before the meeting and thus meaning our old pal Rider Replacement made another unwelcome appearance.
My esteemed colleague and fellow blogger Mr Barrie has already covered this in great detail and addressed some of the nonsense and associated bollocks that was banded around about it and I’m not going to comment on the matter much more than that.
The Tigers came, saw and conquered but do I think they’ll win it all? Meh, I’ll reserve that judgement for another time and come back to you on that one.
Season over for the Bandits and without wishing to dance around the subject too much, results have been below par. But with that being said, it almost hasn’t felt like a season where we have struggled and languished in the lower part of the league table.
If I was to sum our season up in a nutshell I would use the terms “almost” “nearly” and “should” a lot. Allow me to explain.
We should have gotten at least a point or two in our meetings away at Poole, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
We nearly won at Redcar and Scunthorpe, we should have done better at Plymouth and if we had done all that and not lost our home meetings, we might nearly have made the playoffs and this column would be on ice for a little longer.
I do realise that me saying this is a little like saying that if your auntie had balls she would be your uncle but hear me out…
We finished our 20 fixtures on 21 points and will likely be 9th or 10th out of 11 when everything is all said and done. But lets just say that we actually scored those points on the road that we should have, which by my calculations is around nine points, that would have put us on 30 points. Add on one home win and that’s 33, the same as Scunthorpe who currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot and will probably hang on to it, but also bear in mind that Scunthorpe would have less than their 33, had we won there.
Alright so its all hypothetical and simply put we didn’t score those points but on another year we might just have and when you look at it from a realistic standpoint it was fine margins that cost us in the end. But, that’s speedway.
There were some highlights thrown in amongst them, wins over Leicester and Poole when they were least expected immediately spring to mind and it was a season where perhaps some lesser lights shined a little brighter than expected.
Dany Gappmaier has often taken his unjust share of criticism but to his credit his away form has been much improved in 2021 when compared with previous seasons. Kyle Bickley did endure some difficult times throughout the season but in large he did the job he was signed to do and for that he can’t really be faulted.
Now, I’m going to break my own rules here and split the highly prestigious Mythman Rider of the Year award in two. Now before you hurl the abuse my way, its my award and technically there wasn’t a winner last season. Plus I’m feeling frivolous…
Step forward Leon Flint. I mean it had to be, right? Berwick’s own has had the season of his life and has improved beyond the wildest dreams of just about everyone in 2021. At times he has all but carried the team on his young shoulders and stepped up when he really shouldn’t have had to, but he WANTED to for the team, for his team, for our team. Whether he scored a single point or whether he scored double figures, Leon Flint gave us nothing less that all he had every single time he pulled on the black and gold.
On any other season, that sort of progress from a rider starting at reserve is the mark of a winning side, but fine margins and all that have been covered already.
Leon wasn’t alone in providing the highlight reel with the bulk of its content though as since his arrival, Kasper Andersen acted as a big time booster for the team and he fitted in with everyone immediately. He never shied away from giving anything less than his all in every meeting and his charismatic nature made him an instant hit with the fans, so for that he also gets the nod for me.
Congratulations to Leon and Kasper, you have joined the elite list of names to have featured on such a coveted piece of fictional silverware!
There will of course be a Bullets rider to pick up a similarly prestigious award later on but I’m focusing on Bandits duties for the time being as the Bullets season is still on-going.
I know there will be some reading this in disbelief that I can be so positive in a season where we have finished nearer the bottom that the top but let me put things a different way.
Birmingham have publicly stated they have had difficulties and may not see next season and Newcastle have also had their troubles and it looks increasingly likely that they won’t return after 92 years of action at Brough Park. This saddens me greatly and I hope these clubs return to the tapes in 2022.
Then of course there is the sad case of Eastbourne who didn’t even make it to the end of the season.
I’ve said this before but where would you rather be?
I know we may not have won the league, we fell short of the playoffs but the fact that talk of next season at Berwick is already on the lips of the promotion fills me with plenty of hope, and very little fear.
At least we’re going to get the chance to say “well there’s always next season” and in all honesty I think that in itself counts as a victory, although it would be nice to win a trophy or two.
To quote a wise man…”After all these years and miles of memories, I’m still chasing dreams.”
My point being that it’s better to still have a dream to chase, than it is to reminisce about days gone by when we should, almost and nearly won the league.
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want 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 send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time…and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan