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Dick Barrie's picture

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With the narrowest of defeats at Birmingham on Wednesday night having finally put our play-off hopes and dreams to bed for another year, the general mood in the camp has to be that to finish fifth (again) really isn’t too bad.

I was at Perry Barr to support the Banditos, and I’ll tell you this – they tried their utmost, every one. If you weren’t there, don’t go knocking what you didn’t see happen…………..

Fifth place ain’t too shabby, you know.

Not for a thriving, small-town Saturday speedway, with a cheerful outlook and a guarantee of an entertaining night out.

So why did I headline this weblog that we don’t need to beat Glasgow tomorrow (Saturday) night?

Simply because we find (to finish fifth) we will really be racing against Sheffield Tigers tomorrow, not Glasgow Tigers!

Both clubs enter the Ashfield pits tomorrow on 30 league points. They have absolutely identical won-lost records.

Sheffield are on first, and whatever they achieve we have to match. If they win, we need to beat Glasgow by the same margin or better.

If they lose by less than seven, so do we. If both clubs should lose by more than six, then the table will be decided on race points – and we are currently on plus four, the Yorkshire Tigers stand on minus 31…….

So around ten o’clock – I’m willing to bet the Ashfield staff don’t get Heat 30 going to the tapes at 9.29, as we did – we should know where we stand. Which, I’m reasonably confident, will be fifth in the Championship. Not bad going.........

I’ll finish by repeating something I wrote in our final programme of the season last Saturday night:

We all want to win, to top the table, collect the cups and pulverise the play-offs. However, there are eleven teams at Championship level, and this means ten of us aren’t going to get lucky in any given year.

At Berwick we’ve been ‘unlucky’ at this level for half a century, but here we still are. Still going, still going home smiling on a Saturday night.

As a sidebar, can I point out that both clubs that contested last season’s Championship play-off Final are now defunct? Gone. Ceased to be. Bereft of life, etc, etc…. (insert further Monty Python phrases as you please).

A speedway team’s ‘catchment area’ is usually considered to be the area around thirty-five miles from their track – from where they can expect their regular home support to come, and should indicate what they can afford, and in turn achieve.

Our two visiting clubs last Saturday each have around two million people in their respective catchment zones. I’m not knocking that, it’s where they live, what they’re used to. Good luck to them!

Here in Berwick-on-Tweed we have a catchment area containing around seventy thousand souls. Just one-thirtieth (or 3.5%) of the city clubs.

Yet here we are, fifty-two years on and still surviving. ,

Let’s have a think, what do we want from our speedway? A trophy cabinet of majestic silverware, but a derelict stadium, no speedway and only fading memories?

Or a thriving, small-town Saturday speedway, with a cheerful outlook and a guarantee of an entertaining night out?

I know what I want, and I hope you do to.
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Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk