Berwick Bandits 49
Newcastle Diamonds 43
by Keith Hamblin
at Shielfield Park
BERWICK avenged two previous defeats at the hands of Newcastle in the season-opening Tyne Tweed Trophy when they beat the injury-hit Diamonds at Shielfield in the Premier League on Saturday.
The visitors were much changed from the side which started out the season, and with only two riders showing any sort of dominant form they did well to leave with a losing bonus point under their belts.
Guest Jason Lyons was back to his imperious best and four straight wins gave the impression that he might go through the card, but in the heat 15 decider, with the bonus point still up for grabs, he came unstuck when he was beaten by super Swede Sebastian Alden, who had another good night for the Borderers.
Scott Robson was the other Diamond who shone, winning his first two races, but he failed to take the chequered flag in each of his last three, and as one of these was a double pointed tactical ride, it meant Berwick were able to keep their noses on front.
On another well prepared track racing was again consistent, but passing was not as prevalent as in the previous week’s classic with Glasgow.
A lot of riders chased hard from the back but only a few managed to find a way past, the majority of races being decided as the riders tussled for position up the back straight on the first lap.
There was nothing to separate the sides in the early stages, the first five races all being shared 3-3, giving a progressive score of 15-all.
Berwick then made the breakthrough in six when Alden and fellow Swede Ludvig Lingren broke the deadlock with a 5-1.
After a short interval for watering, Newcastle closed the deficit to two again with a 4-2 in the next, but with neither Lyons or Robson out in the next two Bandits took advantage and two successive 5-1s saw them open up a match-winning ten point advantage.
Robson went for double points in 10, but Alden held him at bay to maintain the ten point gap.
Lyons and Claes Nedermark won in 11 and 12 as Newcastle kept the pot boiling with two 4-2s, but there was an expensive engine blow for Jade Mudgway in 12 which saw him traipse back to the pits looking decidedly unhappy with himself.
Josef Franc’s only win of the night in 14 meant Newcastle went into the last race six adrift but with a bonus point to aim for.
Alden got the better of the previously unbeaten Lyons, but Robson kept Franc at the back which meant the Tynesiders left with something to show for their efforts.
After the match team manager Ian Rae said: “That was a very tough match as Newcastle pushed us all the way.
“However, we had more strength in depatyh and that was what carried us through.”
S Alden 13, J Franc 9+1, L Complin 8+1, L Lingren 7+2, K Smith 7+2, J Mudgway 5+1, M Davey 0. Newcastle - J Lyons 14, S Robsonj 13+1, K Newman 7+1, C Nedermark 6+1, T Jorgensen 2, R Worrell 1+1, J King rider-rep.