Published on 22nd August 2023
Author Dick Barrie

With a break from Shielfield action now, time to get the lap-top firing, and the wit’n’wisdom flowing again……….

As Two-Mules (Sister Sarah) wrote in her most-recent blog on here, we’ve drawn back a bit from too-frequent blogging, mostly because we’ve been busy!

George has taken on a raft of extra (and trust me, time-consuming) duties for the club, and to press the poor bloke into weekly blogging on top of all that might generate a total breakdown.

Or he might fall off his bike again.

James is doing his commentary work, here and at Redcar, as well as filing weekly copy for Speedway Star – and I can claim the same magazine’s demands, plus some extra radio programming as my reason for absence. But here I am again, so let’s see, what’s been happening?

On track, results haven’t been good. In truth, they’ve been dreadful.

The manner of defeat matters. Last Saturday, despite bowing to the Tigs yet again (it don’t sing and dance, and it don’t walk – but it sure can talk) I saw some spirited racing, good personal contests on a good surface. Leon, I thought, was especially perky – his riding was as good as I’ve seen from the young skipper all season

However, the week before was pretty depressing. Both our teams surrendered pretty meekly, and the track surface suffered terribly from a lack of matchday preparation.

Boss Jamie touched on this in his column on Saturday, and I’d underline that our lease at Shielfield – shared by the football people – is pretty clear on which organisation has the stadium at their disposal at what times, not just on a Saturday.

The double-header was planned on a date Berwick Rangers would be playing away, to give us plenty time to fully water the circuit and prepare for the early start.

To find that Tweedmouth Rangers (who?) were then playing a cup-tie on Shielfield – a match which then went into extra-time – left us with insufficient time to get the track surface into the shape we’d have wanted. Hence dust. Hence poor racing.

Jamie has stated that talks are being held with the football authorities to ensure both sides can work together and resume the long-standing amicable relationship.

I’m sure the last thing either camp wants would be a return to the open hostilities of 1980. But let’s move on…….

The injuries keep on coming, don’t they? Connor Coles took an almighty whack on Saturday – from an incident that wasn’t anything he was responsible for (although I appreciate young Ace didn’t mean to slide off into his path) – but he is only the latest victim of a cursed season.

Nathan Stoneman broke his shoulder at Armadale, and was lost for the season. Jonas Knudsen took an awful bang at Glasgow and returned a much-less-effective rider. Roo-Boy crashed out on guest duty at Oxford and missed several matches. TJ had the worst injury of all, breaking his neck at Armadale. No sooner did young Hooky appear than we lost him again to a collar-bone busted in Poland – and now Connor’s had that thump.

Add in that Leon, despite never complaining, has soldiered on through a season in which he’s had to nurse a “bad wing” – a recurring shoulder weakness that may, I suspect, force him to go under the knife when racing stops.

Compare that butcher’s bill with (say) Poole, who have had one minor change all year, Adam Roynon being replaced by a Thompson.

Some clubs sometimes have better luck with injury disruption than others.

Of course, it all started at Easter with Archie Freeman breaking a leg – he didn’t even fall off! – at Belle Vue on the first lap of the first heat of the Bullets season, his season-long disappearance preceding injuries to Josh Embleton, Mason Watson, Greg Blair and of course now Connor, all contributing to a disappointing year in the NDL. Nae luck, eh?

But onwards and upwards – the only way to go. The GHT Bullets complete their away matches tomorrow at Oxford without Connor or Greg, and recruit teenager Ben Trigger alongside a familiar rider named Replacement.

A big ask, with Oxford’s lads going so well? Maybe, but I’ll be heading down to support the cause in any case.

Watching speedway, that’s what I do……..

Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do)? He is always happy to hear from interesting people on

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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