Berwick Bandits 50
Newcastle Diamonds 43
Smarting from a sizeable defeat in the League Cup at Newcastle the previous week, the Berwick Bandits were keen to redress the balance in last Sunday’s return fixture at Shielfield Park, writes Lawrence Heppell.
Ricky Ashworth warmed up a bitterly cold night magnificently in heat one, squeezing between both Mark Lemon and Christian Henry coming off bend two to lead and share the heat 3-3, but Alex Edberg and Lubos Tomicek in the second jetted away from the gate to take a decisive 5-1 over the usually dominant Worrall twins, moving the score to 8-4.
Sebastian Alden and Tomicek again made a startling gate in heat four to hammer home another unopposed 5-1, with Stuart Robson falling on lap two and retiring before the end with the Bandits well in control 15-9.
Lee Complin, Berwick’s skipper, shocked the crowd as well as Henry and Lemon in heat five by missing the gate completely and struggled to get past his partner David Bellego, but on the entrance to the last lap he wound on the power, took third and eased round Henry off bend two, caught Lemon unawares and rounded him too off the final bend to take a sensational three points, the score now 18-12.
Another Ashworth win in the sixth in a 4-2 was followed by a heat seven 5-1 to Alden and Edberg over a subdued Richie Worrall and Ludvig Lindgren, which took the score to 27-15 and allowed Newcastle Diamonds’ team manager George English to nominate Henry as a tactical ride for double points in heat eight.
Henry made a speedy gate to lead with Richie Worrall behind, but Jason King is getting to know the faster lines at Shielfield now and he took the twin from behind with ease and chased hard on Henry, but the Diamonds took the six points in the 2-7, which tightened the match 29-22.
A second consecutive win for Robson in heat 11 saw him soar ahead of Complin as Lindgren took third over King for Newcastle to hit home a 2-4 and reduce the deficit again to 34-29, but a fine first and second bend from Ashworth and Alden to relegate Lemon and Robson to one point between them and snatch a match-winning 5-1, 45-36.
Berwick team manager Ian Rae said: “We’re a solid side, and the skill is developing nicely every week.
“Ricky, Seb and Lee are simply spectacular, Lubos is scoring steadily, Alex’s confidence is coming back more and more every week, as is Jason King’s who, despite his lower scores, is not off the pace and usually is banging away in the thick of it.
“David Bellego had an off-night, but they’re all allowed one of those now and again and we already know what he’s capable of.
“Newcastle are no push-overs and to take all League Cup points from them is testament to our solidity which will carry us far in 2012.”