“IT’S a good job they don’t do the same in football, or everyone would be picking the Boro!”
The lads on the Sports Desk at Gazette Towers have been tickled pink by the draw procedure for the Jack Young Shield, and that was pretty much the concensus in the office after another defeat for Gareth Southgate’s boys at the weekend.
The concept that the teams who finish highest up the Premier League table get to choose who they meet in the end-of-season knockout tournament has been the source of great amusement. Yes lads, it really is like Manchester United deciding to play Accrington Stanley in the next round of the FA Cup.
They were just as intrigued to hear the ins and outs of the Bears’ attempts to sign James Cockle earlier this season too: They could use him as a guest at one average but, the moment he signed on the dotted line, his average would shoot up and he’d no longer be eligible.
We’re rather partial to a hot beverage or 10 at Gazettesville (all that caffiene gets the old creative juices flowing) and you could see them trying to apply the same principle: They’re saying it’s my trun to make a cuppa because I haven’t done it yet today – but yesterday when I made it there were more people in the office so, hey, I don’t have to lift a finger ’til a week on Thursday.
But I digress.
The Young Shield draw is as much about bums on seats as it is points in the bag. Whoever gets the Bears in the quarter-finals is assured of a bumper turnout of visiting fans for their home leg, and the shares in Silly String Inc will once again go through the roof.
It’s all ifs and buts at the moment, but you wouldn’t rule out a Bears v Sheffield clash in the last eight. A battling draw at Owlerton in the league suggests the Bears would fancy their progress and the relatively close proximity of the tracks should assure a healthy contingent of travelling supporters for each leg.
The conveniently-located Pizza Hut just across the road had better be prepared next time if we do head that way again, mind. I still don’t think they’ve recovered from us arriving at their jam-packed restaurant – queue right out of the door and all – ahead of the PLRC on Sunday and calmly requesting “a table for 13, please.” A hot and spicy deep pan on table 13 and a shot of valium for the head waiter while you’re at it, please.
The previous night’s narrow defeat at Berwick had Brian Havelock proudly puffing out his chest and declaring any other qualifying team would be “off their trolley” to choose them for the quarter-finals, and it’s difficult to find an argument against that.
Speedway is team sport which requires strong individual performances, and all seven of our boys will need to be on their game if we are to retain the Shield – but it can be done.
I’m ready for another long run in the competition – visit to Pizza Hut* in Sheffield or not!
* By the way, if the manager of the Pizza Hut in Owlerton is reading this – yes I’d positively love a free hot and spicy deep pan next time we’re down in return for all this wonderful free publicity. See you in a week or so!