Berwick Bullets fire themselves clear at top of National Speedway League

Mason Watson and Joe Alcock go wheel to wheel in the Bullets v Kent meeting at Shielfield.Mason Watson and Joe Alcock go wheel to wheel in the Bullets v Kent meeting at Shielfield.
Mason Watson and Joe Alcock go wheel to wheel in the Bullets v Kent meeting at Shielfield.
Berwick Bullets 53Kent Royals 37Berwick cemented their place at the top of the National Development League after an eventful evening at Shielfield Park on Saturday.

The Bullets were their own worst enemy at times: skipper Kyle Bickley, Ben Rathbone and Ace Pijper all breaking the tapes and earning their points the hard way after starting off 15 metre handicaps.

Kent arrived unbeaten and in second place and in Alfie Bowtell had the night's individual star despite having to lay his bike down at high speed to avoid fallen team-mate Ben Morley in the first running of heat 13.

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While Morley left the track in an ambulance having suffered a leg injury, Bowtell picked himself up to reappear in the re-run and enjoyed a stroke of luck as Bickley suffered a puncture on the back straight of the final lap while leading comfortably.

Joe Alcock gave support to Bowtell and Morley, but it was not enough against a more solid Bullets’ side, six of whom won one or more races even though they

dropped more points when Mason Watson slid off while second in heat 10 and Luke Crang suffered machine problems despite scoring nine points.

Reserve Kieran Douglas enjoyed a productive night for the Bullets in a fine all-round team performance with action man Greg Blair also scoring well and earning a heat 15 ride, Bickley gaining revenge over Bowtell and Alcock in the meeting’s finale.

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Bullets: Kyle Bickley 11+1, Mason Watson 4+1, Ace Piper 6, Greg Blair 9+2, Luke Crang 9+1, Kieran Douglas 8+1, Ben Rathbone 6+1.

Royals: Alfie Bowtell 13, Jamie Halden 3+1, Danno Verge 3, Joe Alcock 9, Ben Morley 7, Chris Watts 1, Sam Woolley 1+1.

*On Saturday, the Bandits return to action with an eagerly awaited home clash against the highly-rated Glasgow Tigers. They are led by track expert Craig Cook and a highlight of the night should be his clashes with Berwick number one Chris Harris.

Bandits are also in action on Friday, when they travel to Redcar in the first leg of the KO Cup quarter-finals.

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With Jye Etheridge out with a broken collarbone, Berwick are still awaiting news on the fitness of their other oinjured riders, Leon Flint and Ty Proctor, who have both been sidelined for the past three weeks.