PREMIER League Fours day at Workington last season was memorable to me for three reasons.
Number one was Carl Stonehewer’s outrageous exclusion by referee Dave Dowling after being blatantly knocked off by Chris Schramm.
It was an incident which pretty much cost the Bears their place in the knockout stages and, therefore, the chance to challenge for the title.
At the time I described it as “the harshest refereeing decision imaginable” – and six months later I’m still trying thing of a harsher speedway injustice.
It was akin to enjoying a quiet pint with your missus, only to have a spotty, delinquent chav come up to you and tip it over your head. And then YOU get banned from the boozer by the landlord for causing the trouble.
Number two was Burgergate.
A visit with my trusty travelling companions to the Derwent Park Bistro (the burger van on turns one and two) following the Bears’ elimination turned into a torrid affair.
A glance at the menu presented precious few options but, hey, you can’t fall off with chips in curry sauce can you.
Except they were out of curry sauce.
Chips in gravy?
No, they were out of gravy.
A burger then?
Nope – sold out of burgers.
My enquiry as to whether this wasn’t actually a food outlet at all but, in fact, a Tracey Emin art project that would one day be revered by plummy-voiced cravat botherers the world over went down like a John Terry text to your girlfriend.
In fairness the sausages (it was that or a squirt of mustard on a napkin) were very nice.
Suffice to say, however, that we were a little confused, frustrated and angry when, not five minutes after returning to our spot on the terraces, we were passed by a lady tucking in to a succulent, freshly-cooked burger. Oh wel. . . .
Reason number three was one cited by many of us: What were we doing at Workington in the first place.
Yes, it’s a ‘proper’ stadium, it’s geared up to holding a big event and, from our point of view, only entails a relatively short and very pleasant journey.
But talk about home track advantage. Was there ever any doubt that the Comets would it again? I don’t think so.
The team and their fans celebrated heartily at the end, but for me it was a hollow victory.
A bit like holding the World Hide and Seek Championships on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border and wondering why Osama Bin Laden always wins.
So this week’s news that the event is returning to its spiritual home of Peterborough – and Elite League track and therefore completely neutral – was a welcome one.
Hopefully the 2010 PL Fours will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Anyone know what the food’s like there. . . .?