1 October 2022
Leicester Lion Cubs 52 GHT Bullets 37 So now we know. Mildenhall…
As we wait to discover who and when the GHT Bullets will face in the National Development League play-offs the numbers can be crunched on the 2022 Championship season.
The cancellation of Oxford Chargers match with Kent on Wednesday – now rescheduled for September 21 – and the Royals’ home meeting against Belle Vue on Sunday following the death of Queen Elizabeth, means that the identity of the fourth and final qualifier – the Bullets, Leicester and Mildenhall are already guaranteed a berth – has yet to be decided.
But the dust has settled for the FTS Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets whose averages over the season, with the two meetings against Newcastle removed, tallied up.
It should be noted that these are for the 18 eligible 2022 Championship meetings only, do not include Championship Jubilee League fixtures or KO Cup and are not rolling averages.
Not surprisingly skipper Chris Harris heads both the averages and points’ tally for a season in which only Ricky Wells and Theo Pijper were ever present. The figures for Ty Proctor and Jye Etheridge include tapes exclusions at Edinburgh and Oxford, respectively.
Leon Flint underlined his superb progress during the season by finishing second in the averages in addition to bringing the British under-19 and Under-21 crowns to the club while Jonas Knudsen underlined his potential with a points’ tally and average which exacerbated the frustration felt by the club as the delay to issuing his visa meant he missed three fixtures.
Over the injury-hit league campaign the Bandits used 14 guest riders – Nick Morris, Lee Complin twice, Kye Thompson, Dan Thompson, twice, Jordan Jenkins, Joe Thompson twice along with Luke Crang and Greg Blair whose two appearances apiece count as guest appearances despite them being very much a part of the Berwick speedway set-up.
Harris’ 18-point maximum at Poole was one of the outstanding performances in the Bandits’ long history and he only failed to reach double figures twice in his 16 outings – at Edinburgh and Redcar.
A second paid maximum came against Plymouth while a third was erased from history when Newcastle pulled the plug on the season.
From 87 starts Bomber won 44 outright and followed his partner home a further seven times – the expunged Newcastle matches included another nine race wins from ten trips to the tapes – but it is the manner in those points were won that will stick in the memory of the Shielfield faithful.
Leon Flint celebrated a maiden Bandits’ maximum in the route of the Gladiators while Jye Etheridge’s 11+1 against Oxford was the fourth paid full house of his Berwick career.
It was part of a purple patch for the popular Aussie at the start of the season which saw him score 44 points in the five meetings – and a further 11 against Newcastle – before suffering a collarbone injury in heat one of the visit by Redcar in May.
Richard Lawson, guesting for Harris in the Championship finale against Scunthorpe, became the fourth maximum man of the season – the first time four different Bandits received the celebratory bumps since 2011 (Seb Alden, Kozza Smith, Pepe Franc, Lee Complin).