That Was The Year That Was (Part1)
Wednesday October 28, 2015
Now its all done and dusted its time to look back on the highs, lows, and other bits in the first part of Vesprini’s annual season review That Was The Year That Was 2015.

The date for Press & Practice Day is always eagerly anticipated in the Hill household. For me it signals the end of the long winter months and the anticipation of another season of shale action. For Mrs H its the day she starts to fill her diary with things she can do on a Saturday night without me. This year was no different for her as she cheerfully set out her TV schedule for the opening months, but for me there was a different feel with Team BMR in town and a new future to look forward to. I must admit I was a bit taken a back by the earth banks at either end as I walked in but it was still good to be back at the old place.

There was a good deal of familiarity about the team with Captain K, Steve, The ‘A’ Train, the Bowen 747 and Young Kasper all back in the fold. The two new faces were Robin ‘Smiler’ Aspegren and a young man who simply became known as NBJ. There are many reasons for nick names in sport but in Nicolaj’s case its as much about shortening my commentary sentences to give Camera Ken a chance as anything else. My first sight of NBJ had been on You Tube where somebody put his warm up routine to music. To be honest I thought it was a wind up until I saw him go through the whole routine in the pits. If that was impressive enough to think that he could become the first speedway star on Strictly once he got on his bike there were wide open mouths all round except one fan who in a spirit of understatement said “ He’ll do.”

He certainly did and once the tractors had cleared the car park from an opening day 46-43 victory over our carrot crunching rivals from Foxhall everything seemed right with the world as Team Manager John set about his first post meeting apple of the campaign and Webby went about scraping the dirt off the bouncy castle. The DVD was a must watch if only for the who really won Heat 2 debate which had the result turned round by an embarrassed referee two races later. The quotes afterwards were pretty interesting as well but I'm afraid not for a family audience! Another win at Peterborough and a thumping of well fancied Somerset back at fortress Hoddesdon had us all in buoyant mood in the box but then in time honoured Rockets fashion it turned pear shaped.

Young Kasper’s comeback had seen the lad in scintillating form so much so that he got an opportunity to ride in Poland which is where disaster struck. Injuring his knee in a crash our first choice seven lasted just two meetings before Team Manager John had to consult the Big Book of Averages to find a temporary replacement. Nico Covatti did the job on Easter Monday against the Panthers, who seeking revenge for our win at the East of England Showground came back from 34-26 down to win a last heat decider thanks to Robert Lambert and Michael Palm Toft two names we were destined to hear a lot more of before the season was out.

If a home defeat wasn’t enough a day later the Bowen 747 decided to put himself back in the hangar for the foreseeable future meaning Team Manager Johns mobile was about to explode. Without Captain K riding in the big boys division for that lot by the shopping centre we had three guests at the Oak Tree Arena the following Friday as Somerset got revenge for their early season humbling. A mauling of Plymouth the following night certainly lightened the mood in the commentary box but then over the horizon came the Sheffield Tigers....

(to be continued)