Newcastle Diamonds won but fell short of the big score they were looking for against Somerset Rebels in their final Premier League play-off group match last night.
With points difference playing a big part in deciding who will reach the Grand Finale the Diamonds, on -2, had to go all guns blazing to make sure they gave themselves a fighting chance.
Tension was running high with heat one stopped for a Jason Doyle fall after a close first bend with Richie Worrall. In the re-run Doyle won by a massive margin over Worrall in the 3-3.
Lewis Kerr and Chris Schramm collided going into the first bend of heat two. In the re-run Charles Wright motored well from the gate only for Kerr and then Schramm to soar round him to hit a good 5-1.
Ludvig Lindgren chased hard all heat three behind Josh Grajczonek until he found a massive amount of power to soar round the Somerset Australian and Newcastle took the score to 12-6.
Nick Morris managed to ease round Kerr on heat four and took up the lead well but at the back Oliver Greenwood went down on the third bend of the second lap with the referee stopping the race and awarding a 3-3.
Lindgren hit the dirt on bend one of heat five. In the re-run a disastrous gate for Lindgren and Tully, meant they were headed home by Morris and Kyle Newman in a visitors’ 1-5.
Worrall took heat six over Morris, while Anton Rosen excelled from the gate in seven to take the three points.
Lindgren earned a good lead in heat eight but Kerr battled hard to pass first Wright then Newman. Worrall hit the dirt in heat 10, with the referee again calling all four to make the restart, with Davies jetting away to lead, but he was soon passed by Rosen.
Kerr ran roughshod over the opposition in heat 12 as Tully battled with Wright at the back to a point, but his last-blast challenge off the final bend paid dividends with the Newcastle man taking the point in the 4-2 to move the score to 41-34.
In a vital heat 13, with Doyle out in front, Morris took a massively wide line out of the fourth bend to hit the fence and fall heavily. While unhurt, he was excluded from the re-run which was solidly won by Doyle from the front in a 3-3.
Going into the last heat the Diamonds were nine points up, but Newcastle couldn’t allow Somerset to take a 1-5 and it was down to Worrall and Rosen to restrict Doyle and Grajczonek.
Rosen forced his way round Grajczonek on the third bend of the first lap and with 2-4 gave the Diamonds the three points. Places at the Grand Finale remain up for grabs, with Somerset Rebels visiting Redcar Bears on Thursday.
Should Redcar win by around 20 points, it would give Newcastle a last-ditch chance.
Team manager George English said: “Somerset are a superbly solid and powerful side, there is no doubt, and for us to get a seven-point win was going some in all honestly.
“But we were down on power in several team positions which didn’t help.
“It’s a shame we now must rely on our neighbours Redcar to do us a favour on Thursday which they will find a very hard task indeed.
“But speedway is unpredictable and you just never know.”