Double defeat for Bandits as the Diamonds sparkle

Robert Lambert ahead of Matthew Wethers, Victor Palovaara and Kevin Doolan in heat 6.
Robert Lambert ahead of Matthew Wethers, Victor Palovaara and Kevin Doolan in heat 6.

Berwick Bandits suffered a double defeat at the hands of old rivals Newcastle Diamonds in speedway’s Premier League at the weekend.

The Bandits lost 42-50 to the Diamonds at Shielfield on Saturday, when the visitors staged a dramatic late fightback.

And at Brough Park on Sunday the Tynesiders edged the Borderers 51-39, despite a best of the season showing from Seb Alden.

Berwick Bandits 42

Newcastle Diamonds 50

Newcastle got their Premier League season off to s winning start, inflicting the first league defeat of the year on Berwick in the process.

But what made the result all the more impressive was the fact the Diamonds managed to overcome a ten point deficit at one stage in the meeting, an 18-point turn-around providing them with what looked like a comfortable victory.

Berwick led 29-19 after heat eight, the gap having been generated in the main by three 5-1s from Theo Pijper and Thomas Jorgensen in heat one, Kevin Doolan and Matty Wethers in heat seven and Pijper and Liam Carr in eight.

But suddenly the Tynesiders came to life, and after Alden won his third race of the night in nine, beating Stevie Worrall, who was on a double-pointed tactical ride, the Diamonds lifted their game, providing the final six race winners.

Up to this stage, Ben Barker had failed to impress as a replacement for Robert Lambert, but he finished strongly, unbeaten in his last three outings, which included two 1-5s with Stevie Worrall in heats 13 and 15.

Stevie Worrall, as usual around Shielfield, looked a class act, and he went on to top score on 16 points, dropping his only points to Alden in nine, when Newcastle started their fightback with a 3-5 race result.

Brother Richie Worrall, in for Matej Kus, also lifted his game with a win in heat 12, and with the Diamonds dropping only one point over the last four races (a 2-4 followed by three concluding 1-5s), the Bandits simply collapsed and had no answer to their guests’ superior gating.

Berwick: Alden 12, Pijper 8, Doolan 7+1, Jorgensen 5+2, Wethers 5+2, Carr 4+1, Bager 1.

Newcastle: S Worrall 16, Barker (guest) 8+3, R Worrall (guest) 7, Rose 6+3, Lindgren 6, Palovaara 4, Phillips 3.

Newcastle Diamonds 51

Berwick Bandits 39

Berwick suffered their second defeat at the hands of the Diamonds in less than 24 hours when they went down at Brough Park on Sunday . . . but not before putting up a fight.

In particular, that was down to the efforts of Seb Alden, who produced his best form of the season so far, winning his first four races to keep the Bandits in contention going into the final three races.

Alden lowered the colours of Ludvig Lindgren and Stevie Worrall, who both dropped their only points of the night to the Swede.

And he also got the better of Newcastle’s number one, Robert Lambert, after he had won his opening two rides.

Alden’s win in eight was followed by a 1-5, awarded to Theo Pijper and Liam Carr in eight, and at 25-23 the Borderers were back in contention.

Three drawn heats in the next four, with Alden winning two, took the score on to 38-34, but the Diamonds were always likely to sparkle at the end, and so it proved, two 4-2s and a 5-1 in heat 15, when Alden dropped his only points of the meeting, giving the Byker boys maximum points.

Newcastle: Lindgren 14, Worrall 13+1, Lambert 9, Rose 7+2, Palovaara 4+1, Kus 1, Phillips 0.

Berwick: Alden 13, Carr 6+1, Pijper 6, Doolan 5+1, Jorgensen 4, Bager 3, Wethers 2+1.

Berwick manager Scott Courtney admitted to being disappointed at not taking any match points over the course of the weekend.

“We looked comfortable at home in the first leg, but lost our way over the final heats when Newcastle started gating,” he said.

“It was disappointing to lose a meeting like that, and at Newcastle Seb was fantastic but we just couldn’t get close enough.”