NEWCASTLE and Ipswich fought out a 45-45 draw at Brough Park on Sunday with the home side battling back from six points down.
Ludvig Lindgren returned to top form for the Diamonds with a 17+1 haul from seven rides, including winning a tactical substitute ride.
But Lindgren and team-mate Tero Aarnio (9+3) were denied a match-winning advantage in Heat 15 by Witches’ top man Rory Schlein, who scored 14 from five rides and took the flag in that last race as team-mate Cameron Heeps (11+1) missed out.
Newcastle boss George English said: “What a match! Brilliant speedway as well, going right down to that last heat with our skipper on a new engine absolutely superb with some excellent racing for his paid 18 points which were very well deserved.
“The fairest result emerged at the end because with the effort both sides put in, no-one deserved to lose. Speedway certainly won out and I hope the fans went home happy.”
Ipswich promoter Chris Louis said: “We showed great character, and we showed it on Thursday when things were not very good at all in many ways.
“We showed it again at Lakeside where the team knuckled down and gave it their best and it carried on tonight.
“A lot of things are heading in the right direction. Rory was great and handled the pressure, and had to make a smart first turn in the final heat to make sure we got the draw.”
JORDAN Jenkins became Mildenhall’s latest maximum man in a 57-33 win over Kent in the National Trophy at West Row.
Jenkins scored the full 15 from five rides for the Fen Tigers, who made it three wins in four days to take control of the Southern section of the competition.
Josh Bailey added 12+2 from the No.1 berth, whilst reserve Drew Kemp dropped only one point with 9+2. Jack Thomas top-scored for the Kings with 8+1.
Midlenhall promoter Kevin Jolly said: “I think the fans saw some excellent speedway especially, from Josh who will excite supporters wherever he goes with his ability to pass riders inside or outside.
“His rides in Heats 6 and 15 were out of the top drawer just like those at the Isle of Wight on Thursday.
“Jordan scored his first full maximum and I am sure there will be many more to follow and again it was great to see Sam (Bebee) put in such a positive performance on his return to his home track.”
COVENTRY moved to the top of the Northern section of the National Trophy with an emphatic 59-31 win at Buxton on Sunday.
The Hitmen had an unbeaten rider in Ben Wilson, who scored 12 from four rides, but the Bees scored consistently down the order and were in control with five 5-1s in the first eight races.
Luke Ruddick scored 13+1 for the visitors, including taking wins in the final two races of the meeting, whilst Luke Harris added 10+2 with skipper Jon Armstrong on 9+2.
Armstrong said: “All of the lads rode really well, everybody chipped in, and this is a difficult place to come. It is quite a tricky track, but it was a convincing win for us.
“I go okay around here and Luke Ruddick rode really well – they all did, so the team is shaping up quite nicely.
“And paid-eleven isn’t bad for an old boy either – it’s early doors at the moment, and I want to be there at the business end!”
Wilson said: “It’s disappointing to lose. We are missing David Wallinger big-time - we knew it was always going to be hard covering for him and the youngsters are doing their very best and are coming on with each meeting, but they are always going to struggle to cover such an experienced rider as he is.
“All the guys need more track time with this only being our second home meeting of the season, and it told as Coventry were a lot more race-fit and have benefited from getting in a few extra meetings than us.”
RYE House are set for a mid-afternoon Bank Holiday Premiership clash with Somerset complete with World Champion Jason Doyle (Monday, 3pm).
And Rockets boss Peter Schroeck has underlined the importance of maintaining strong home form, especially as his side have struggled on the road so far this season.
Edward Kennett returns from injury for the Rockets, who now have Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen in their side as a short-term replacement for Stuart Robson, whilst the Rebels are at full strength.
Schroeck said: “We are all really looking forward to having the World Champion in town. It’s been a while since we had the defending champ riding regularly in this country, so that alone will make it special.
“I have no doubt that our boys will be out to get his scalp; they all have something to prove. But, they also know the meeting as a whole is more important.
“It’s another vital match for us. We recognise that it’s been tough so far when we’ve gone on the road, but if we stay together and work on things, I am convinced that the season will turn around for us.”
Somerset boss Garry May said: “They have a fairly potent top three, but equally so have we and this is looking quite an even match on the face of it.
“If I look at the scores recorded by our lads when they visited Hoddesdon last season I don't see too many last places, just six from a collective 48 rides so hopefully we can ride to that sort of form.”
SWINDON are braced for a Poole backlash in their big Bank Holiday Monday Premiership showdown at the Abbey (7.30pm).
The Robins were emphatic 52-38 winners when the sides met at Wimborne Road last month, but boss Alun Rossiter says that counts for little ahead of the return fixture.
Rossiter’s side lost their unbeaten league record at King’s Lynn last Wednesday but return to full strength tonight with Zach Wajtknecht back from injury, whilst the Pirates hand a debut to former Swindon man Stefan Nielsen who has replaced James Shanes.
Rossiter said: “Matt (Ford) and I both want to win. We’re both winners, and we always like to beat each other.
“This meeting will be no different, and although we won comfortably down there, I think it will be a different kettle of fish on Monday.
“We’ve already seen with several results this season that everyone has to be respected, and you can be sure we won’t be taking Poole lightly.”
Ford said: “Things are just not happening for us at the moment. We are simply not competitive enough.
“We need to turn it around, but Swindon is a far from easy task. They were champions last year and have retained the majority of their side, so that gives us an idea of what we are up against.”
BELLE Vue host Wolverhampton in a midday Bank Holiday Monday KO Cup clash – which is also a repeat of last season’s Final.
The Aces took the silverware on that occasion against an injury-hit Wolves side, and commence their defence of the silverware in this first leg tie.
Wolves star Kyle Howarth has been declared fit to race after withdrawing from his Championship match for Sheffield last Thursday after two rides due to a knee injury.
Belle Vue, meanwhile, bring in ex-Wolves man Nicolai Klindt to guest for the injured Steve Worrall, and a positional switch with new averages sees Dan Bewley elevated to the top five whilst Damian Drozdz drops to reserve.
Aces boss Mark Lemon said: “We’ve seen some out-of-this-world racing already from the boys this season and Wolverhampton, we know, very much like our track so the challenge is on.
“We need to make sure that we’re pulling in the results at home. Seldom does it happen that a team goes undefeated all season at home but we need to make sure we get off to a good start.
“We want to take a sizeable lead into the second leg. We’ve had some epic battles with Wolves and, being our local team, they never fail to disappoint on the excitement front.”
Wolves skipper Rory Schlein said: “We go into every meeting wanting to get the win and there’s no reason why we can’t go to Belle Vue and do that if we’re all on our game.
“But if we can’t manage that for one reason or another, then we just need to keep it as close as we can to give us the best possible chance in the second leg.”
LEICESTER and King’s Lynn clash in the first leg of their Premiership KO Cup quarter-final at the Paul Chapman and Sons Arena tonight (7.30pm).
But the hosts will be without skipper Danny King following his crash at Ipswich last Thursday, with Ricky Wells booked to stand in as a guest.
The Stars, meanwhile, name a full-strength line-up including Michael Palm Toft, who had a brief spell in the Leicester team as short-term cover earlier in the season – whilst Robert Lambert guested impressively for the Lions against Somerset last month.
Leicester boss Simon Stead said: “There’s positives to take into this and we want to win everything, that’s the mentality we have here and we’ll be going out there to get through.
“The season still doesn’t really feel like it’s started yet, we haven’t really done a lot of riding because of the weather, but the meetings are starting to become more regular now.
“We’ve got plenty of racing to look forward to and we’ve got a team that can be challenging for honours this season.”
King’s Lynn manager Dale Allitt said: “The Paul Chapman and Sons Arena is another tough place to go and get a result, but we have already shown against Swindon and Wolves what we are capable of. We keep saying to the boys, just take one meeting at a time.
“We have taken four points from two meetings against the reigning League Champions Swindon, so we have to take confidence from that and look to get a result at Leicester.”
KENT finally race their first meeting of the season today (Monday 3.30pm) with a Bank Holiday clash against Buxton in the National League.
Both teams suffered Trophy defeats on Sunday with the Kings losing 33-57 at Mildenhall whilst the Hitmen were beaten 59-31 at home by Coventry.
And Buxton star Ben Wilson, who scored a 12-point maximum on Sunday, says his side know the size of the task at Central Park.
Wilson said: “It’s a massive task for us at Kent. They are really strong around their home track, but this is speedway and anything can happen.
“We will be going down there open-minded - there is no pressure on us and we will put on a show, race the bikes hard, and you never know we might just come away with something.
“But there is no doubt it will be hard, especially without David (Wallinger), and we need him back quickly.”
Meanwhile Cradley are back in action when they face Stoke at Monmore Green in the National Trophy.
The Heathens are racing trophy fixtures only this season due to a shortage of primary dates at their home venue.
But they are strongly tipped to challenge in the competition led by former favourite Adam Roynon and including star youngsters Kyle Bickley, Jordan Jenkins, Drew Kemp and Jason Edwards.
Director Nigel Pearson said: “We want to see a lot of families there on Monday, it’s a great way to spend a Bank Holiday.
“This meeting is one which almost never happened. We were on the verge of pulling the plug in November but now it’s here we can’t wait to get going.
“We have an exciting team with Adam Roynon, a club legend, back in our colours and we’ve been able to cherry-pick the best youngsters the country has to offer.”
Stoke skipper Tony Atkin said: “It’s going to be a difficult meeting at Monmore. We have a young side which I feel is getting better each meeting, and will get stronger as the season goes on.
“We have got to bring these riders through and stick with them, and I do feel we will be a stronger side with the likes of William O’Keefe and Joe Alcock come the end of the year.”
MONDAY MAY 7:
PREMIERSHIP: Rye House v Somerset 3pm, Swindon v Poole 7.30.
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 12pm, Leicester v King’s Lynn 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Kent v Buxton 3.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Cradley v Stoke 7.30
WEDNESDAY MAY 9:
PREMIERSHIP RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Poole 7.30
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Birmingham v Mildenhall 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 10:
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL: Sheffield 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Isle of Wight v Coventry 7pm
JULIE LEWIS MEMORIAL: Redcar 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 11:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Peterborough v Workington 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30
HARRISONS SCOTTISH OPEN: Edinburgh 7.30
Results Sunday May 6, 2018
Newcastle 45 – Ludvig Lindgren 17+1
Ipswich 45 – Rory Schlein 14
Championship points: Newcastle 1 Ipswich 2
Buxton 31 – Ben Wilson 12
Coventry 59 – Luke Ruddick 13+1
National Trophy points: Buxton 0 Coventry 4
Mildenhall 57 – Jordan Jenkins 15
Kent 33 – Jack Thomas 8+1
National Trophy points: Mildenhall 3 Kent 0