Close, but no bonus for Bandits at Newcastle

Newcastle Diamonds 48

Berwick Bandits 41

BERWICK just missed out on a losing bonus point when they went down to a seven point defeat at Newcastle on Sunday.

The Bandits ran the Diamonds close throughout the course of the meeting and they went into the last race knowing that they needed at least a 3-3 to take something from the night.

But even though Linus Eklof, who scored in each of his five outings, managed to pass Stuart Robson, Seb Alden, who had won his previous three races, missed the gate and tailed off at the back.

The 4-2 for the home side was enough to give the Tynesiders a seven point win on the night, and the maximum three league points.

Heavy rain fellaround Newcastle for most of the day in the build-up to this meeting and many fans were under the impression that it might be called off.

But the track staff worked tirelessly to produce a surface suitable for racing. They pumped off a lot of water in the hours leading up to the start and also regraded the strip.

In the early part of the meeting both sets of rider struggled to contend with conditions.

There were several falls and stoppages, but as the meeting progressed the track started to dry out and and as a result the riders grew in confidence.

Newcastle made the better start and provided seven of the first eight race winners, the exception being Alden in heat five.

Mark Lemon was in fine form for the home side and he went on to win four of his five starts, only losing out to Alden in heat 13.

Alden won three races in all, whilst Eklof and Ludvig Lindgren were the other Bandits to take the chequered flag.

There wasn’t a lot between the sides and this was reflected in the fact that there was only one 5-1 recorded, Lemon and Derek Sneddon edging out Lee Complin and Mitchell Davey in heat six.

Berwick had previously cut the deficit to 15-14, but the maximum put the Diamonds 20-15 in front and from that moment on the home side were never headed.

Berwick managed to claw their way back with two successive 4-2s in 11 and 12, with Alden and Eklof winning, which reduced the deficit to 38-33 and a close finish was in prospect.

The next two races were shared with Alden and Robson the winners, which meant the five point gap remained going into the last race.

But sadly the bonus point, which the Bandits probably deserved for their efforts, eluded them right at the death.

Berwick’s boss Ian Rae said afterwards: “Our top men certainly adapted to the track well following the soaking it got, and the Newcastle track men deserved credit for rescuing the meeting, but one or two of our guy struggled more to get to grips and frustrating points were lost which inevitably lost us the match.”

It was later confirmed that Newcastle’s guest reserve Adam McKinna had suffered a broken collarbone during the course of the meeting.

Newcastle - Lemon 14, Robson 12, Nedermark 9+1, Sneddon 5+1, Worrell 4+1, Newman 3, McKinna 1; Berwick - Eklof 11, Alden 9, Lindgren 7, Complin 5, Mudgway 4+1, Franc 3+1, Davey 2+2.