Berwick Bullets run out of riders and machinery as they lose their last-ever outing
The Colts’ secured a remarkable victory in a race awarded after home joint top scorer Danny Phillips crashed heavily trying to secure the second place which would have forced the match into a Superheat decider.
After nine heats, the injury and suspension-ravaged bottom club – that has already announced it will not go to the tapes in 2024 – led by 12 points, only to run out of steam – and machinery – in the closing stages.
Berwick have featured in five last-heat deciders this season – and lost the lot, which – along with season-ending injuries to Josh Embleton and Connor Coles, and the suspension of Steve Boxall – explains their final league position.
Danny Phillips had rattled off four straight race wins going into heat 13 only to find himself out of contention after the visiting pairing of Pearson and Jack Smith blocked his run from the second bend in brutal fashion.
Crucially, former Bullet Luke Crang, who had himself only been beaten by Pearson in the opening heat, was pipped by the width of a wheel by Smith for a crucial 5-1 which pegged the deficit to just two points.
Pearson and the hugely impressive Hodder then outgated Phillips again in the decider, with the home man taking an uncomfortable looking tumble on the third bend as he looked in vain for the second place which would have sent the evening into a Superheat. Instead referee Jim McGregor awarded the heat, and victory, to the Colts.
Promoter Steve Dews, team manager for the night, said: “I’m disappointed for the boys because they gave us everything they had on the night, and it would have been good to see them rewarded for that.
“Senna Summers had a debut to remember while Archie [Freeman] did remarkably well after returning from such a serious injury.
“In the end we were just stretched too thin, man and machine, in the closing stages.
“I also have to congratulate all the riders who, on a testing track, simply got on with racing and served up a meeting which ended our brief National League history in fine style.”