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Bandits take impressive 57-32 win over Diamonds

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Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 57
Newcastle "Boiler Technical Services" Diamonds 32
SGB Championship

The Newcastle "Boiler Technical Services" Diamonds came to Shielfield Park back in April and won the first leg of the Tyne Tweed Trophy 49-41 leaving the Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope of Wooler) with a strong sense of revenge when Newcastle arrived again in the Borders last night, with SGB Championship League points up for grabs with the Bandits at full strength, and the Diamonds using rider replacement for Lewis Rose and Nico Covatti guesting for Stuart Robson.

The Bandits were in fourth place on nine points from three matches with Newcastle in eighth place on four points from four matches, and both teams were keen to improve on that, especially Berwick in Heat One as Aaron Summer blasted away and took the lead from a tough first bend, joined up front by Kevin Doolan over Ludvig Lindgren in a home 5-1.

Heat Three came to a halt after Ashley Morris went down on the third bend, but as the referee decreed he had not made a decent effort to remove his bike from the track, his partner Covatti, under the new rule for 2018 was handicapped 15 metres, and in that re-run, well won by David Howe over Covatti as Jye Etheridge also went down on the third bend mid race, with the score now 12-5.

Berwick's domination continued with two 5-1a in Heats five and six before Covatti roared from the Heat Seven gate to win well over Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen and Gappmaier who was fortunate to pick up a third after Morris suffered another engine failure with the score standing at 28-13.

Heat Nine also came to a juddering halt after a messy first bend which saw Howe and Wethers tangle and Howe's bike attach itself, having jettisoned its rider, to Wethers' machine, causing the Diamond to fall heavily with the referee calling an all-four-back result, but Wethers wasn't fit so Wilkinson took the ride instead with Etheridge wining from the gate, chased hard by Aarnio in a 4-2 before Doolan in Heat 10 made a fine pass round Morris to take another 5-1 with Summers who took another win with the match score now 41-18.

Wethers retired as the gate went up on Heat 11 having replaced Lindgren as a reserve replacement as Aarnio flew off to win comfortably over Busk Jakobsen to share the heat, 3-3, the same as Heat 12 won by Etheridge over Covatti as the Bandits held their 23-point lead.

Summers and Aarnio had a superb battle in Heat 13, the Bandit taking the most forceful first bend into the second lap to take up a massive lead in a 4-2 result, while another 5-1 to the Bandits in Heat 14 well and truly sealed the deal with the score set at 56-27 with one race to go.

That final race gave Newcastle their only heat advantage of the night as Aarnio jetted away from the gate with Covatti on his tale leaving the previously unbeaten-by-a-Diamond pairing of Summers and Doolan in third and fourth all race in the 1-5 that ended the match a 25-point win for the home side.

Berwick's team manager Scott Courtney said: "One thing is for certain, when we get that bit between our teeth, we really take the opposition to town, and Newcastle, who are in no way a bad side, felt that determination in no uncertain terms. Having Theo back in the pits felt like it had completed our 2018 jigsaw as he fitted back in so well and felt right at home, showing some brilliant moments in his races.

"As ever we are a team and everyone contributed to the solid show we put on tonight, but as for that race with Aaron Summers and Tero Aarnio - sheer brilliant with some of the widest, most thrilling passes I've seen!"

Newcastle's boss, George English added: "Berwick are in remarkable form at their home at the moment, but we suffered some bad luck too with engine failures, retirements - Ashley's [Morris] fall in Heat Thee didn't help our cause, but also points were generally hard to come by where normally we wouldn't have difficulties to come, so it was a hard night out for us, however on Sunday in the return we have a chance of instant revenge, and we'll be going for it."

Individual Riders' Score Chart

Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 57

Aaron Summers 3,2*,3,3,1 = 12+1
Kevin Doolan (captain) 2*,3,3,2*,0 = 10+2
Jye Etheridge F,2,3,3 = 8
David Howe 3,3,1,3 = 10
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 1*,2,2,1 = 6+1
Dany Gappmaier 3,1*,1*,2* = 7+3
Theo Pijper 1, 2,1,0 = 4

Newcastle "Boiler Technical Services" Diamonds 32

Ludvig Lindgren (captain) 1,0,N,0 = 1
Lewis Rose - Rider replacement
Nico Covatti (guest) 2,1,3,0,0,2,2* = 10+1
Ashley Morris R, Fx,R,1,R = 1
Tero Aarnio R,1,2,3,2,3 = 11
Carl Wilkinson 0,0,N2,0,1*= 1+1
Matthew Wethers 2, 3,2,FN,R,1 = 8