IT was quite the introduction to 2021 for Belle Vue in their opening meeting of the NDL season after being on the wrong side of a 52-38 defeat at Berwick, but there were positives to take from the night.
Bullets stars Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley had the benefit of a Championship meeting under their belt prior to tapes up, but that didn’t cast a shadow on the Cool Running Colts’ plans.
It didn’t take long for the home team to establish a sizeable 12-point advantage, though it still wasn’t enough to repel a fierce response from the visitors to try and claw back some points.
It was a proud moment for NDL debutant Sam McGurk when, in Heat 8, he bagged his first heat win in Belle Vue colours and reduced the deficit to just 10 points.
And while a disappointing final result, team boss Graham Goodwin was proud of his side for rising to the challenge and admits that, while a little rusty, a lot was gained from this opening gambit.
He said: “We expected to be a little rusty tonight. Most of the boys haven’t ridden competitively for well over a year so to have done as well as we did was encouraging.
“Having your first meeting away from home is always tough. It would’ve been nice to have had the home meeting on Friday but we’re not in control of the weather.
“The result doesn’t reflect the amount of effort these guys were putting in. They really started to pick up in the later heats but we just ran out of races to make a recovery.
“Jack [Parkinson-Blackburn] performed much better than his score reflected, and Paul Bowen got the Heat 15 call-up he’s been after for years. It wasn’t a charity race, we felt he deserved it.
“The boys weren’t happy to have lost the meeting and they’re already planning their revenge for next Friday [May 28] when Berwick come to the National Speedway Stadium.
“There are a lot of positives we can take from this meeting and plenty to build on. It’s a long season and we’ve only had one meeting, but we’re confident this team will step up as we move forward.”
The Cool Running Colts hope to launch their NDL season in Manchester next Friday, May 28 with the return fixture against Berwick at the National Speedway Stadium.
Tickets are available online only at this time via bellevue-speedway.com and must be purchased in advance of the meeting. There will be no ticket sales at the stadium.
RESULT – BERWICK V BELLE VUE – SATURDAY, MAY 22 [NDL]
Berwick Bullets 52: Leon Flint 15, Kyle Bickley 11+1, Greg Blair 11+1, Mason Watson 9+1, Ben Rathbone 3, Kieran Douglas 2+1, Ryan MacDonald 1.
Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts 38: Benji Compton 8+1, Paul Bowen 6+2, Harry McGurk 6+1, Connor Coles 6+1, Sam McGurk 5+1, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 4, Ben Woodhull 3.
NDL Points: Berwick 3 Belle Vue 0