Berwick New Holland Bandits 41 Newcastle Sapphire Engineering Diamonds 49
IN FRONT of a massive local derby crowd - and the SKY TV live cameras - these two teams were determined to show up good and it was the away side that shone despite looking very much down on power.
Ludvig Lindgren was away in his native Sweden to race in a League meeting, but as the Premier match was a re-scheduled fixture Newcastle could only cover his absence with a National League guest with Adam McKinna answering the call.
Bandit’s David Bellego was also absent due to his French Authority banning him for three days due to missing a World Cup Qualification meeting, but in the rules Berwick could cover his rides with rider replacement, and that certainly looked to have give the Bandits the upper hand.
Stuart Robson shot away to take a solid Heat One win and Christian Henry battled well for second with Edward Kennett who just couldn’t get round the Newcastle man to record a surprise away 1-5.
Nicki Barrett and Paul Starke had to wind on the power to get the better of the fast gating Lewis Kerr and levelled the match with a spectacular Heat Two 5-1, but better was to come in the third race with Henry taking the early lead but Robin Aspegren made a serious challenge to soar round him off bend two only for the Bandit to almost come to grief on bend three, sending him back to third place.
Wethers wound on the power over the next lap and forced his way round Henry off bend two on the third lap to take the lead but Aspegren tried once more to get the points off Henry and going into a tight third bend on the last lap he took a hard dive under the Aussie, but drifted out into Henry who fell with the Bandit taking an exclusion for his efforts with the score now 9-9.
Kozza Smith made a spectacular pass round Richie Worrall on bend four of Heat Four in another 3-3, and following yet another share of the spoils in Heat Five the match was still level 15-all.
Kennett made amends for his sluggish Heat One by taking a solid lead off bend two in Heat Six, and with Barrett taking a good third to break the scoring in the Bandits’ favour, 4-2 taking the score to 19-17.
Another share in Heat Seven was followed by a cracking, if not unexpected win in the most determined of styles from young Kerr, but with Robson trailing at the back behind Wethers and Barrett it was another 3-3 into the record books with the score still tight at 25-23.
Kennett didn’t make the greatest gate in Heat 10, but found the grip and shot round the outside of the leading Henry off bend two to bring the house down and to the relief of the Bandits’ fans halved the race taking the score to 31-29.
Going into the first bend of the second lap in Heat 11 with Smith and Robson locked in battle Smith went off line and just avoided a fall but behind Starke went down, possibly as a result of what was going on ahead of him when Newcastle were on a 1-5, but in the re-run Smith made the perfect start to lead and win in another 3-3 taking the running total to 34-32.
In a stonking race in Heat 12 Henry was leading well but behind Steve Wiorrall rode a brilliant race to hold out everything Aspegren could hurl at him but the 1-5 put Newcastle into the lead 35-37.
Smith was involved in a mammoth chase in Heat 13 behind both Robson and Richie Worrall but losing his footing going in to the first bend on lap three and went too hard too tight ending up into the polyfoam fence with the referee awarding a Newcastle 5-1 pushing the Diamonds further into the lead 36-42.
Wether’s great win in Heat 14 with Kerr taking second after a fine battle with Starke gave the Bandits a 4-2 leaving the match on a knife edge with the Bandits needing a 5-1 to draw the match.
Richie Worrall and Robson made the better gate and hammered home the advantage leaving Smith and Kennett unable to rescue the situation with Newcastle taking the 5-1 and taking all four league points available.
Newcastle team boss George English was a very satisfied man after, saying: “We had a good team talk before this meeting and even without Ludvig we were convinced we could get something out of this meeting, but we reckoned on one league point and never believed we could get all four – which we did – and that was stunning as we really dug deep and showed how determined we were to get a result.”
The Bandits’ boss Ian Rae wasn’t quite as upbeat, saying: “We should have had the beating of this match in ourselves tonight but Newcastle – even without Lindgren – are a good side and there’s no doubt they know how to gate so once again we have to bounce back as this run can’t go one for long. The wins are well overdue.”
Individual Riders’ Score Chart:
Berwick “New Holland Bandits” 41
1, Edward Kennett 1,3,3,1,0 = 8
2, David Bellego – Rider replacement
3, Robin Aspegren Fx,1*,2,1 = 4+1
4, Matthew Wethers 3,2,2,1*,3 = 11+1
5, Kozza Smith © 3,2,3,Fx,1 = 9
6, Paul Starke ® 0,2*,1*,Fx,1 = 4+2
7, Nicki Barrett ® 3,0,1,1*,0,0 = 5
Newcastle “Sapphire Engineering Diamonds” 49
1, Stuart Robson © 3,3,0,1*,2*,2* = 11+3
2, Andrew Tully - Rider replacement
3, Christian Henry 2*,2,3,2,3 = 12+1
4, Adam McKinna (NL Guest) 1*,0,N,0 = 1+1
5, Richie Worrall 2,2,3,2,3,3 = 15
6, Steve Worrall ® F,0,0,N = 0
7, Lewis Kerr ® 1,1*,0,3,1*,2,2 = 10+3