Glasgow’s grip on the KOC has been loosened after Newcastle fought back from a 10 point deficit with two races to go, to only lose by 2 points
With the home side being forced to use four guests, the visitors were hoping to take advantage of this and to an extent they did, although they may be disappointed not to have won the match.
The Diamonds looked like they would get off to a perfect start with Ashley Morris leading into the first turn of the opening race, with Robert Lambert swiftly passing him to briefly have a 5-1, however Ricky Wells was soon into second behind Lambert and Morris then suffered engine failure on the third lap. Up front Wells looked faster than Lambert but couldn’t find a way past.
Richard Hall was ruthless with Ben Hopwood on the opening bend of the reserves race, relegating him to third as Connor Coles took advantage of the gap. It wasn’t to last though as Hopwood swiftly regained second by the end of the lap. Coles didn’t look too comfortable but just managed to stay ahead of Ryan MacDonald.
Aaron Summers was brought out as the rider replacement in heat 3 and he and Richie Worrall took a 5-1 although Stuart Robson was never far away from Summers.
Summers was back out again in heat 4 but had no answer to Steve Worrall’s forceful pass down the back straight of the opening lap. Disappointingly MacDonald passed Coles for third for the 2-4.
Newcastle followed this up with another in heat 5 with Lambert taking an easy win over R Worrall, Morris beating Hall for third.
THe 4-2 was reversed in heat 6 with Wells beating S Worrall, with Aarnio beating Morris for third.
Connor Coles was brought in to get his third ride out of the way in heat 7 but he nearly picked up some useful points after a terrific gate took him into second behind Summers.
He couldn’t hold on though as Robson passed him into the third bend and Lindgren did likewise on the second lap.
Heat 8 looked like a pivotal heat as there was no obvious winner. Aarnio managed to get the better of Morris on the opening bends which allowed Hall to join him up front. Hall then rode a superb race to block Morris’s attempts to pass him and take Glasgow into an eight point lead.
After a medical delay due to a spectator, the Worralls then served up a cracker in heat 9. They were neck and neck going into the third bend with Steve ruthlessly taking Richie out to the fence but this only seemed to make the home man more determined. He chased his brother and made a superb inside pass coming out of the second bend on the third lap to take the win. With Hall third, Glasgow were now 10 up.
For three and a bit laps in heat 10 it looked like it would be 12 but Robson found some drive coming out of the second bend to pass Aarnio, the Finn coming to grief a bend later trying to rectify the situation. The fall ruling him out of the rest of the meeting which as it turned out, proved to be the turning point of the match.
Heat 13 was a potential banana skin for the home side but Ricky Wells came to the rescue, twice passing Lambert on the opening lap to share the heat.
With Coles having to take the R/R ride in heat 14 it was upto Hall to try and at least split the Diamonds but he missed the start and Hopwood slotted behind Lindgren and try as he might, Hall couldn’t find a way past.
Worse was to follow with another 5-1 for the visitors in the final heat, Lambert passing both Tigers on the fourth bend to join Steve Worrall up front.
It’s hard to criticise the home side for throwing away a good lead with two bad heats, as all the guests rode well and they deserved to win.
The main problem was that Newcastle had only 6 race wins but took 5 heat advantages, the home side having the majority of last places.
Tigers now have to repeat their 2016 Final draw in the return leg on Monday at Brough Park, which looks like a tough task, although they should have three of their missing riders back. Newcastle start as favourites but then so did Elit Vetlanda and Wolverhampton in their recent play off matches!!
Glasgow Tigers 46 Newcastle Diamonds 44 SGB Championship KOC-QF 1st leg 6/10/2017 Glasgow Tigers Ricky Wells 2 3 3 3 0 11 Tero Aarnio 1* 1 3 Fx 5 + 1 Richie Worrall 3 2 3 3 1 12 Dan Bewley R/R 0 0 Aaron Summers 2* 2 3 2 0 9 + 1 Richard Hall 3 0 2* 1 0 1 1 8 + 1 Connor Coles 1 0 0 0 1 Mark McIlkenny 0 Newcastle Diamonds Robert Lambert 3 3 3 2 2* 13 + 1 Ashley Morris R 1 1 1 3 Stuart Robson 1 2 1* 2 6 + 1 Ludvig Lindgren 0 1* 2 3 6 + 1 Steve Worrall 3 2 2 1* 3 11 + 1 Ben Hopwood 2 0 0 0 2* 4 + 1 Ryan MacDonald 0 1 0 1 Heat 1 - Robert Lambert ; Ricky Wells ; Tero Aarnio ; Ashley Morris(R) ; 58.34 (3-3)(3-3) Heat 2 - Richard Hall ; Ben Hopwood ; Connor Coles ; Ryan MacDonald ; 60.27 (4-2)(7-5) Heat 3 - Richie Worrall ; Aaron Summers ; Stuart Robson ; Ludvig Lindgren ; 57.73 (5-1)(12-6) Heat 4 - Steve Worrall ; Aaron Summers ; Ryan MacDonald ; Connor Coles ; 57.6 (2-4)(14-10) Heat 5 - Robert Lambert ; Richie Worrall ; Ashley Morris ; Richard Hall ; 57.27 (2-4)(16-14) Heat 6 - Ricky Wells ; Steve Worrall ; Tero Aarnio ; Ben Hopwood ; 58.59 (4-2)(20-16) Heat 7 - Aaron Summers ; Stuart Robson ; Ludvig Lindgren ; Connor Coles ; 58.95 (3-3)(23-19) Heat 8 - Tero Aarnio ; Richard Hall ; Ashley Morris ; Ben Hopwood ; 59.9 (5-1)(28-20) Heat 9 - Richie Worrall ; Steve Worrall ; Richard Hall ; Ryan MacDonald ; 58.34 (4-2)(32-22) Heat 10 - (awarded) Ricky Wells ; Ludvig Lindgren ; Stuart Robson ; Tero Aarnio(Fx) ; no time (3-3)(35-25) Heat 11 - Robert Lambert ; Aaron Summers ; Ashley Morris ; Richard Hall ; 59.31 (2-4)(37-29) Heat 12 - Richie Worrall ;Stuart Robson ; Richard Hall ; Ben Hopwood ; 59.38 (4-2)(41-31) Heat 13 - Ricky Wells ; Robert Lambert ; Steve Worrall ; Aaron Summers ; 59.19 (3-3)(44-34) Heat 14 - Ludvig Lindgren ; Ben Hopwood ; Richard Hall ; Connor Coles ; 60.64 (1-5)(45-39) Heat 15 - Steve Worrall ; Robert Lambert ; Richie Worrall ; Ricky Wells ; 59.16 (1-5)(46-44)