Newcastle Diamonds 53
Berwick Bandits 41
BERWICK, after two rain-offs in the 48 hours previous, finally got down to some track action when they travelled to take on old rivals Newcastle in a League Cup fixture at Brough Park on Sunday.
The Bandits arrived on Tyneside, tails-up and confident of putting together a good away performance against the Newcastle Diamonds, but 12- down by the end of heat four signalled things were going to be far harder than expected.
Ricky Ashworth crashed out of heat one when he was trying to pass Christian Henry on the third bend, but caught his rear wheel instead bringing himself and Diamond’s skipper Mark Lemon down.
Lee Complin ended up excluded too after a heavy fall on bend one of the second lap in heat three and hammered hard backwards into the fence whilst attempting a pass round Claes Nedermark.
The re-run resulted in a home 5-1 putting Newcastle 13-5 up, and another hard-fought max in the fourh for Stuart Robson who blasted around Sebastian Alden with ease put Newcastle 18-6 ahead and well on the way to victory.
The Bandits placed Ashworth on a tactical ride for double points in heat five, but his six-point lead was nullified by former Bandit Ludvig Lindgren who passed him decisively at the end of lap one with the 4-4 heat result setting the score at 22-10.
Henry took the sixth over Alden in a 4-2 whilst Robson soared ahead in the seventh as Complin swooped round Steve Worrall to split the Newcastle maximum in another 4-2 with the scores now looking heavily in the Diamonds’ favour 30-14.
Heat eight was the race of the night with Henry out in front, Complin blasted round the boards to fly round Richie Worrall, and set up a chase on Henry, but Worrall wasn’t finished and made a spectacular race of it, passing and re-passing the Berwick skipper in a surprise home 5-1 and with Berwick now 20 down Alden was nominated as a tactical in the ninth.
The Swede shot away to lead by a mile, but behind Alex Edberg dwindled, looking set for last, but a desperately woeful effort from Lindgren couldn’t pass ending the race as a 2-7 to Berwick with the score now tightened to 37-22.
In the tenth Jason King fell at the back on lap two, but up front half a lap later Lemon crashed out with Complin easing his way wide to avoid the stricken Diamond and fell as well just as Henry clattered unavoidably into his fallen skipper.
With no permanent injuries, but Lemon excluded for the stoppage and King out for not being under power at the time of the stoppage, a two-man re-run was required, won by Henry to push Newcastle one more ahead, 43-27.
Complin took a magnificent win in heat 12 whilst Alden and Ashworth fended off a massive challenge from Lemon but the five points went to Berwick with their late revival with the score now at 47-35, but despite the Bandits last ditch effort the match was lost.
Team manager Ian Rae said: “We suffered two early falls to top men tonight and then proceeded to throw too many points into the Diamonds’ pot.
“Still the lads rallied well later on and pulled themselves away from a humiliating defeat, and that’s still an achievement to be proud of.
“Seb (Alden) won his last three races, Ricky (Ashworth) was also unbeaten in his last three and Lee (Complin) also took a win, but overall we were second best on the night. Newcastle were a lot more solid than us and thoroughly deserved their win.”
Newcastle - Henry 11, R Worrall 8+3, S Worrall 8+2, Nedermark 8+1, Robson 8, Lindgren 7+1, Lemon 3+1. Berwick - Alden 14, Ashworth 11+2, Complin 8, Tomicek 5, Edberg 2, King 1, Bellego rider rep.