A FIRST Premier League win of the year and a new signing – suddenly things are looking up for Redcar’s Ecco Finishing Bears.
After giving a good all-round team performance to come from behind and beat Rye House, it was announced that Adam Roynon would join them in time for next Tuesday’s rearranged League Cup clash against Sheffield.
Roynon, 26, enjoyed a successful spell with the Bears in 2011 and comes in on a 28-day transfer to replace Hugh Skidmore who suffered dislocated shoulder and nerve damage in a crash during last week’s heavy defeat by Peterborough.
Ironically Roynon was a spectator for that meeting, having joined the Panthers for 2015 but suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in a horror crash on the very first lap of the season.
Having now recovered from his injuries he was back at the Media Prima Arena on Saturday to practise and he’s now sealed a deal to ride for the club during Skidmore’s absence.
He comes into a side that, after a terrible start to the season, has now won two of its last three matches with a battling defeat at Newcastle sandwiched in between.
Bears team manager Jitendra Duffill had described the visitors as one of the weaker sides in the league but it looked like it was going to be another one of those nights as they trailed 13-5 after three heats.
Even reserve Dan Greenwood had beaten home No 1 as the Rockets blasted off with a 5-1 in the opening heat – surely things could only get better!
Fortunately they did.
The recovery began when Stuart Robson – who had fallen trying to find a way past Anders Mellgren in his opening ride – and Jan Graversen gave a textbook display of team riding to snuff out Michael Palm Toft and Eddie Kennett and post a big 5-1 in heat five.
After a drawn heat the sides traded 4-2s before the Bears clicked into gear with three successive 5-1s to turn the meeting on its head. One of those came after Kennett suffered bike failure at the start, but you need a little slice of luck sometimes, don’t you?
The visitors came back with a pair of 4-2s and a drawn penultimate heat left the score at 44-40, meaning the visitors could still deny their hosts victory with a 5-1 in the last race.
But Lasse Bjerre was at his fearless best to take the chequered flag, although Kennett very nearly had him on the line.
The top end all did their job to ensure the Bears clinched their first three league points of the year and lift the mood in the Media Prima Arena but they couldn’t have done it without the valuable contribution of Rafal Konopka.
The young Pole’s nine (paid 12) point return was his best ever in British speedway and was the sort of performance that demonstrated why the Bears promotion had kept faith and had patience with him. He was quick out of the gate, looked comfortable on his bike and was in the mood for a battle – you can’t ask much more of a speedway rider.
His heat seven victory was the highlight but he deserved every one of his points.
BEARS: Jan Graversen 11+1, Lasse Bjerre 11, Rafal Konopka 9+3, Matej Kus 8+1, Stuart Robson 7+1, Ben Morley 1+1, R/R for Hugh Skidmore.
ROCKETS: Anders Mellgren 11+1, Eddie Kennett 8, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 8, Michael Palm Toft 7, Kasper Lykke 5, Dan Greenwood 4+1, R/R for Robin Aspegren.