Berwick Bullets captain Greg Blair is ready to do his talking on the track

Berwick Bullets captain Greg Blair will be in action against Edinburgh Monarchs. Picture: Taz McDougallBerwick Bullets captain Greg Blair will be in action against Edinburgh Monarchs. Picture: Taz McDougall
Berwick Bullets captain Greg Blair will be in action against Edinburgh Monarchs. Picture: Taz McDougall
TV pundits Greg Blair and Adam Roynon can expect their own performances to be dissected when Berwick stages the second act in what promises to be a blockbuster National Development League derby double on Saturday (July 1).

Instead of adding colour to the action on livestream channel BSN, they captain their respective sides as Berwick Bullets and Edinburgh Monarchs’ Academy look for points to haul themselves away from the foot of the table.

The sides also meet at Armadale on Friday but Roynon is missing, riding for Poole in the first leg of the BSN Series Final at Glasgow. Belle Vue’s Jack Smith guests before the Cumbrian returns when the action crosses the border to Shielfield Park.

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It is repeat of the fixture which launched the Bullets in 2021 when, in the last days of Covid lockdown, a worldwide audience tuned in via livestreaming to watch the first competitive team event on a British speedway track for almost 18 months.

Current Bandits’ skipper Leon Flint wrote his name into history as he led Nathan Greaves, Ryan McDonald and Sheldon Davies home in heat one, the Bullets winning 50-40 but six days later – still behind closed doors – Armadale got their revenge with a six-point victory.

Last season the Bullets did the double – current Workington and Glasgow star Ace Pijper making a memorable professional debut as a 15-year-old at Armadale – and winning the return comfortably thanks in no small measure to Kyle Bickley’s maximum.

Danny Phillips is an ever-present in the four previous fixtures – as a Devil – but he will sport the Bullets’ number one at Armadale before Connor Coles reverts to the top of the team sheet the following night.

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Josh Embleton continues to be sidelined by injury, Berwick operating rider-replacement to cover for him, while Kieran Douglas returns to the Bullets’ line-up.

He replaces Ben Rathbone, himself a 28-day stand-in for Archie Freeman, and renews what was a prolific reserve partnership with Mason Watson.

Watson has bounced back from a torrid start to the season and over the past two home meetings in particular has been giving Blair a run for his money in the previously rarely contested “most entertaining rider” category using racing lines that few others – often with good reason – dare.

Monarchs also use rider-replacement to cover injured winter signing Alex Spooner. Mickie Simpson, initially dropped to accommodate Clegg’s near 12-point average, is back at reserve with Mark Parker, the latest from the conveyor belt of Cumbrian Moto-X talent making the switch to speedway, named as number eight.

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Bullets name a rather more experienced number eight in the shape of ex-Kent man Jason Garrad.

A first-time visitor to Shielfield will be Dayle Wood the 28-year-old Aussie who decided to follow his dream of racing in Europe, emailing clubs around Britain last October in his quest for a team berth.

Home victories over Belle Vue and Kent got Edinburgh’s campaign off to a flying start but since then they have struggled, the latest of five successive defeats coming at Leicester on Saturday night, Jacob Hook scoring 12 of their 37 points in the East Midlands.

Friday’s action gets underway at 7.30pm with the Shielfield Park meeting starting at 7pm.