Wednesday April 25, 2007
BIRMINGHAM were given a scare by unfancied Newport before finally establishing an eight-point lead to take to South Wales for Sunday's second leg of this Knockout Cup tie.

The Wasps made an impressive start to the meeting with 5-1s in two of the first three races, and they led right up until Heat 9.

That race was awarded as a 5-1 in the Brummies favour when Chris Schramm fell, and Ulrich Ostergaard and impressive reserve Ben Powell then added their own maximum heat win to put the home side in front for the first time.

However, they were unable to significantly extend their lead as a 4-2 in Heat 11 was cancelled out in Heat 14, the latter stages featuring a couple of close battles between Powell and Michal Rajkowski, who was a constant threat at reserve for Newport.

Four points ahead going into the last race, the Brummies urgently needed maximum points, and Ostergaard and Jason Lyons were the men for the task - Ostergaard leading from the gate and Lyons, who had stopped in his first ride, powering around the outside of Schramm and Phil Morris in a sensational passing move.

But given Newport's improved home form of late, there is still work to be done on Sunday if the Brummies are to progress to the next round of the competition.

BIRMINGHAM: Ulrich Ostergaard 12+1, Jason Lyons 12, Ben Powell 10+1, Emiliano Sanchez 6+1, Brent Werner 6, Lee Smart 3+1, Aidan Collins 0.

NEWPORT: Michal Rajkowski 11+2, Phil Morris 8+1, Chris Schramm 7+2, Tony Atkin 7+1, Tom Hedley 6+1, Karl Mason 2, Nick Simmons r/r.

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