The Newcastle Diamonds embarked on the road for their first major trophy of the 2013 season last night with the long trip to the Ipswich Witches for the opening leg of the League Cup Final.
Come 8pm the riders finally took to the track with light rain falling again, it was Cameron Heeps who made the best gate to keep Lewis Kerr and Richie Worrall at bay with top man Ben Barker stuck at the back in the 3-3 on a track described as looking not too bad under the circumstances.
Chris Schramm made a blinder of a start in heat two for another three points as Kerr swapped places with Ritchie Hawkins on laps two and three for the Diamonds to seal a 2-4 and take the lead on the night, while heat three had to be restarted when the referee warned Andrew Tully to remain stationary at the start.
But on the run up to the re-run Tully’s 2nd bike became the subject of a disagreement between the rider and the Ipswich machine examiner with the result the Diamond failed to beat the time allowance and was excluded with Schramm taking his place, but he ended up at the back as Leigh Lanham and Ludvig Lindgren battled hard for second place behind Rohan Tungate.
Morten Risager took the lead in heat four, rounding Anton Rosen off bend two with Kerr following in third for another 3-3 with the score now 13-11, with the 3-3s continuing in heat five won well by Lanham over Worrall and Schramm with Tungate.
Kerr was excluded from the re-run of heat six when he fell hard into the air fence leaving Rosen to hold up the Diamonds hopes. Once the fence had been repaired the lone Diamond had to settle for second in the 4-2 doubling the gap to four points, 20-16.
After holding the scores tight the Diamonds’ duo of Tully and Kerr slipped up in heat eight. Rosen took a big win in heat nine and held well for another 3-3, but in heat 10 Lindgren was warned for moving at the start with an all-four recall in which the flying Swede made another excellent start. But behind Barker fell and remained on the track causing the referee to stop the race and award the result to Diamonds’ 2-4, narrowing the all-important gap to six points.
Newcastle’s good roll continued in heat 11. With Worrall well out in front, Rosen wound on the power to roar past Risager at high speed and secure second in an away 1-5 taking the score to 34-32. The gap returned to six again when Schramm failed to get away from the gate in heat 12, and despite some good charging from Tully behind Hawkins, he and Tungate hit home a 5-1 taking the score to 39-33 which turned into 44-34 after Risager and Barker forced a 5-1 over Worrall and Rosen.
Lindgren took heat 14 well from the gate but with Kerr at the back the 10-point gap remained with one race to go to set the score to take to Tyneside for the second leg in two weeks time.
IPSWICH: Ben Barker 5+1, Cameron Heeps 9, Rohan Tungate 11, Leigh Lanham 8+2, Morten Risager 11, Adam Ellis 0, Richie Hawkins 7+3
NEWCASTLE: Richie Worrall (captain) 7+1, Stuart Robson - Rider replacement, Andrew Tully 3+1, Ludvig Lindgren 11, Anton Rosen 9+1, Chris Schramm 4+1, Lewis Kerr 5+1