Diamonds sparkle to outshine Bandits in challenge first leg

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It was advantage Newcastle after this first leg encounter in the traditional Tyne Tweed Trophy challenge at Shielfield on Saturday.

The Diamonds fell behind early on, but they kept it close throughout, never being more than four points behind, and in the end they sneaked a two point victory.

With rider replacement for the injured Stuart Robson the visitors looked as if they might be up against it, but with only ex-Bandit Chris Schramm struggling for points, Berwick were unable to develop the lead they were looking for to take to Byker for the as yet unarranged second leg.

Berwick had their fair share of race winners, but their scoring was hampered by ten last places.

After Sebastian Alden won the opening race, a 5-1 from reserves Nicki Barrett and Paul Starke put the home side in the driving seat.

But Newcastle hit back with a 2-4 in three, and after Kozza Smith won in four, a 1-5 from Richie Worrall and Shielfield debutant Anton Rosen, who passed Matty Wethers in six, saw the Diamonds go 14-16 in front.

Berwick hit straight back with a 5-1 of their own, courtesy of David Bellego and Alden, but after Smith won again in seven a 2-4 from Andrew Tully and the impressive Lewis Kerr levelled it up at 24-all and it was all to race for.

Another Berwick 5-1 from Robin Aspegren and Wethers saw Berwick go back in front at 29-25, but Newcastle produced the next five race winners, including two from Kerr and one from the previously unimpressive Ludvig Lindgren.

They took three 2-4s in the process, which meant they went into the last race 41-43 in front.

Smith, who raced hard for his points all night, won his third heat in 15, but Worrall and Tully kept Bellego at the back, giving the Diamonds a two-point victory on the night, which they just about deserved.

BERWICK 44: Kozza Smith 13, Seb Alden 7+1, David Bellego 6+1, Robin Aspegren 6+1, Matthew Wethers 5+1, Paul Starke 4+1, Nicki Barrett 3.

NEWCASTLE 46: Lewis Kerr 13, Andrew Tully 11+2, Richie Worrall 10+1, Anton Rosen 6+1, Ludvig Lindgren 5+1, Chris Schramm 1, Stuart Robson r/r.