Etheridge crashes out as Bandits lose first home meeting

Berwick Bandits suffered their first home defeat of the season when they went down to a 43-47 home reverse at the hands of Redcar Bears in the Championship on Saturday.

By Keith Hamblin
Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:49 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:49 am
Jye Etheridge crashes out in heat 1 of Berwick’s home defeat at the hands of Redcar with a suspected collarbone injury.
Jye Etheridge crashes out in heat 1 of Berwick’s home defeat at the hands of Redcar with a suspected collarbone injury.

But that tells only part of the story, as the Bandits suffered another injury blow, with Jye Etheridge crashing out of the meeting on the first bend of the first race, suffering a suspected collarbone injury.

This week the club were assessing the extent of the damage.

Etheridge was withdrawn from the meeting, and as he had only dropped one point to an opponent around Shielfield so far this season, his loss was a major setback to the team already using rider replacement for Leon Flint (dislocated shoulder), and with two guests in for Chris Harris, who was racing abroad, and the injured Ty Proctor.

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The replacements, former Bandits Nick Morris and Lee Complin, did their best to try and plug the gap, and Morris’s last heat efforts to pass Charles Wright and Erik Riss were worthy of ‘Bomber’ himself.

But in the end, the team only covered three points for the loss of Etheridge, which was probably well below his expected contribution, and with only five points gleaned from rider replacement for Flint, Berwick were always up against it.

In the early stages there was nothing between the sides, five drawn heats seeing the teams tied at 15-all.

Berwick took a 5-1 from six, courtesy of Morris and Theo Pijper, but Redcar hit back with a 1-5 in the next before Ricky Wells and Kyle Bickley restored the Bandits’ advantage in eight.

But Redcar were not going away, and three successive heat advantages saw them turn the match 31-35 in their favour, and it was a lead they managed to hold on to until the end.

Berwick manager Gary Flint was in magnanimous mood afterwards when he said: “Redcar deserved the win, and congratulations go to them.

“But the loss of Jye so early in the meeting put us at a major disadvantage and we just couldn’t turn things to our advantage.”

Berwick - Morris (g) 12, Pijper 11+3, Wells 10+1, Bickley 5+2, Complin (g) 5+1, Etheridge 0 (withdrawn), Crang (No 8) 0, Flint r/rep.

Redcar - Riss 13+1, Wright 11+1, Andersen 8+1, Kerr 6, Roynon 4+2, Edwards 4+1, Jenkins 1.