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Monday night is important to Diamonds future and what a cracking match it's going to be!
Thursday 5th October 2017, 07:50 UK
Newcastle Promoter opens up over the future as Diamonds haul back Cup first leg at Glasgow to keep it tight by two points,
The stark message from Newcastle co-promoter George English could not be clearer.

“If people want to see Speedway at Newcastle in 2018, please come and show your support for Monday nights starting on October 9 (7.30) when we race the 2nd leg of the Knockout Cup Quarter final against Glasgow.”

Asked if this was a genuine alarm call, the beleaguered Diamonds’ co-boss and team manager said, “Yes, you can truthfully say that. We’ve lost over £5,000 again with Sunday night’s postponement against Workington as everyone who paid to get in was refunded immediately the call-off decision was taken. I would point out we closed the turnstiles as soon as doubts began to surface during the riders’ pre-match track inspection, but there’s still the stadium rent to pay and other expenses associated with running a speedway meeting.

“It’s our fifth home postponement and we haven’t raced a meeting at Byker since the first Sunday in September. We can’t run on a number of Sundays in any case because of shared events, and it is difficult to believe Monday night was for many, many years Newcastle’s regular Speedway race-night.

“These days, Monday nights are, as someone said to me recently, death at the box office. And while that is absolutely true, we might have to run one or two more to get all our fixtures in this season, no doubt taking a financial hit each time. We need to see a positive reaction from fans at the end of what has been an awful and disappointing year, and Alan (co-promoter Hedley) and I need to know we are not wasting our time trying to keep the sport going on Tyneside.

“We cannot afford for next Monday – and any others we might have to run this month – to be as badly attended as they usually are.

“We thought of running a double-header on Sunday, October 15 when the new league champions Sheffield Tigers are coming, but that would mean a much earlier starting time which would clash with yet another Newcastle United televised football match at 4 pm.

“And though we’ve heard many times before from some of our fans –‘forget about football, just run the speedway’ – it is a simple fact of life that, in 2017 especially, we can’t afford to lose even a handful of Diamonds’ supporters who also follow football and might well be tempted to give us a miss when there’s a game on TV.

“With four home fixtures still to fit in – it could extend to six if we make the Cup final – we find ourselves in a very awkward situation after we have done our best to deal with issues like rider availability which has disjointed our season to some extent.

“No one knows what is going to happen next year, whether we will be running on a Sunday or a Monday, but the crucial question is will Newcastle Speedway be running at all? You can help answer that by turning up in force on Monday next – it’s a 7.30 start – and cheer on the Diamonds as they seek to avenge last season’s Cup final defeat by Glasgow.”

The match in question is poised on a knife-edge after two excellent Newcastle 1-5s concluded a great first leg up at Ashfield on Friday night when Newcastle trailed by 10 points with two heats to go but ended up with a fine 46-44 final score.

Ludvig Lindgren had had a night of struggles up to Heat 14 with only three points and a bonus to his name, but stormed a vital heat 14 to soar away and win well to double his score in one fell swoop, but with Ben Hopwood battling hard in second place to hold out the hard riding Richard Hall in third, the 1-5 was in the bag.

Steve Worrall and Robert Lambert had to settle for the minor placings in Heat 13's 3-3 behind one of Glasgow's guests, Ricky Wells but when it really mattered, come Heat 15 the pair made the rocket gate and left Wells and twin Richie Worrall in their wake as Newcastle took a hugely important 1-5 ending the match with the Diamonds only trailing by two points.

Two final heats that have really set Monday's second leg (7.30pm tapes-up) to be a firecracker of a meeting with it all to play for and a Cup semi-final place the spoils for he victors.
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