Third successive home league defeat for Berwick Bandits speedway

Berwick Bandits suffered their third successive home league defeat when they were beaten 41-49 by table-topping Leicester Lions at Shielfield on Saturday.

After previously losing to Redcar and Glasgow, the Bandits were desperate to get back to winning ways, but they found the Championship leaders in determined mood.

It was another lesson in how to gate for Gary Flint’s side, with only Chris Harris and Leon Flint matching their opponents.

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Three successive home defeats means Berwick’s end of season play-off hopes have all but evaporated and from now on it would appear damage limitation is the main aim.

They start that process this coming Saturday when the face Redcar Bears in the second leg of their KO Cup quart-final clash, attempting to overturn a 12-point deficit from the first leg on Teesside.

Berwick were once again not at full strength with Jye Etheridge sidelined with his broken shoulder and Lee Complin guesting at reserve for Ty Proctor, who aggravated his neck injury the previous week.

As it was, they were no match for the Lions, who with an inspired guest in Jason Edwards at reserve (11+2), had plenty of back-up for their main fire power which came from Kyle Howarth, who had four race wins in his top score of 13+1 and ex-Bandit Nick Morris (11+1).

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Leon Flint (13) and Harris (12+1) were the only home riders able to offer any resistance. Harris and Morris were involved in a controversial end to the meeting when Harris was excluded by the referee after Morris fell entering the first bend at the start of lap four.

Bandits team manager Gary Flint said: “It’s hard not to be frustrated by another performance when we just didn’t have that extra bit of magic to see us home.”

Sunday’s scheduled return meeting between the two sides was postponed on Saturday because of the forecast for mealy rain in the midlands throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Berwick Bullets beat the Lion Cubs 49-41 in a National League clash, with Kyle Bickley top scoring for the home side on 14 points. Bullets coach Kevin Little said: ““I think we saw two sides likely to feature very strongly in the end of season play-offs.”

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