Newcastle Diamonds 51-40 Berwick Bandits

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Berwick lost their first Premier League meeting of the season when they were beaten by old rivals Newcastle at Brough Park on Sunday.

The Bandits had won their opening four league fixtures, including two on the road, but on this occasion the Diamonds’ class shone through.

Two of their riders, Lewis Kerr and Stuart Robson went unbeaten by a visiting rider as they raced to paid maximums, whilst Craig Cook - one of three guest riders in their team - dropped only one point from five starts.

Berwick, meanwhile, saw Matej Kus - riding at reserve for the first time - win his first three races, but Kevin Doolan and Claus Vissing were the only other Bandits to take the chequered flag as Newcastle raced to a comfortable victory.

Kus won in heats two and four, but Cook did likewise in one and six, with Kerr also leading the field in three and five.

After the first two races were shared with 4-2s, heats three, four, five and six all produced 5-1s, but with three of those going to the home side the Diamonds led 22-14.

Doolan won the re-run of heat seven, with Ludvig Lindgren forcing his way past Matty Wethers.

Kus’s third win of the night in eight was followed by Kerr and Cook also completing their hat-tricks, and as both these races produced advantages for Newcastle, it meant Vissing was able to be used as a double-pointed tactical ride in 12.

As the Dane followed his compatriot Steen Jensen round it looked as if the Bandits were going to make inroads on their deficit, but again Lindgren burst through to pip Vissing on the line turning a 1-7 into a 2-5.

Robson, after three paid wins, took the flag in 12, with Vissing and Bellego giving Berwick some belated hope with a 2-4 in 13, inflicting the only defeat of the night on Cook in the process, which brought the score back to 43-36.

Bandits needed two 1-5s to win the meeting, but Kerr was in sensational form and he finished the night in style, going on to complete his paid 15-point maximum with a win in 14 before following Cook home in the last race.

Joint team manager Ian Rae said: “We had hoped to take something from the meeting, but when three home riders are in such inspirational form it is difficult to break them down.”

Newcastle: L Kerr 14+1, C Cook 14, S Robson 9+3, L Lindgren 5, S Nielson 5, L Rose 4+1, D Greenwood 0

Berwick: M Kus 12, C Vissing 9, M Wethers 5+1, K Doolan 5, S Jensen 4, D Bellego 3+1, L Carr 2.