REPORT: Monarch Cheetahs 40 Berwick Bandits 50

The Monarch Oxford Cheetahs’ hopes of reaching the end-of-season Championship play-offs ended on Wednesday night following a 40-50 defeat to Berwick Bandits at Oxford Stadium.

Jason Crump and Peter Schroeck’s men required a win against the Bandits to keep slim hopes of finishing inside the Championship’s top six frame alive.

But a 14-point return for visiting number one Chris Harris helped Berwick record a first away win of the season.

Bandits started the meeting strongly, winning all seven opening heats courtesy of Chris Harris, Jonas Knudsen, Leon Flint and Jye Etheridge to open up a 14-28 advantage.

Cheetahs staged a mid-meeting fightback between heats eight to 10, taking eight points out of their 14-point deficit by recording back-to-back 4-2s before Nicholls and Ruml paired up for a 5-1 maximum in heat 10.

Two race advantages in heats 11 and 12 confirmed the visitors would leave with at worst a draw. A shared heat 13 put any result beyond the Cheetahs’ reach.

Scott Nicholls picked up a consolation race win in heat 15 when bravely holding off Harris to deny the Brit a 15-point maximum.

The Monarch Cheetahs return to action on Tuesday, July 19, when hosting Birmingham Brummies in their first Summer Trophy fixture.

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Oxford Cheetahs = 40

1. Scott Nicholls – 1, 0, 1, 3, 2, 3 = 10
2. Dillon Ruml – 0, 1′, 1, 3, 2′, 1 = 8+2
3. Paul Starke R/R – (DR – 1′, CH – 0, CH – 1, AS – 2 = 4+1)
4. Aaron Summers – 2, 2, 3, 2, 3 = 12
5. Troy Batchelor – 2, 0, 1, 1′ = 4+1
6. Cameron Heeps – 2, 0, 1, 0, 0 = 3
7. Adam Roynon (G) – 1′, 1′, 1, 0 = 3+2

Berwick Bandits = 50

1. Chris Harris – 3, 3, 2′, 3, 2 = 13+1
2. Theo Pijper – 2′, 1, 2, 3 = 8+1
3. Jye Etheridge – Tx, 3, Fx = 3 WITHDRAWN
4. Ricky Wells – 0, 2′, 1, 1′ = 4+2
5. Leon Flint – 3, 3, 2, 0, R = 8
6. Jonas Knudsen – 3, 3, 2′, 0, 3, 2 = 13+1
7. Nathan Stoneman – 0, R, 0, 1 = 1