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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Nermark back with a bang

Comets 54 Scunthorpe Scorpions 39: A week ago Swedish star Daniel Nermark was the centre of attraction for all the wrong reasons.

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Maximum man: Workington's Daniel Nermark in action against Scunthorpe during Saturday evening's Comets victory

His absence at Scunthorpe and at Derwent Park the following night took on deeper implications when he rode in Poland on Sunday.

But on Saturday, with Nermark having made an abject apology to management, team-mates and fans, he was back doing what he does best – scoring points for the Comets.

Nermark completed a magnificent five-ride 15-point maximum and his efforts in the final race of the night were nothing short of sensational as he plundered his fifth win of the meeting.

As announcer Michael Max told Nermark and the fans: “I’m being selfish and was pleased you missed the gate, because what followed was absolutely magical speedway as we got a race and a half.”

Joe Parsons, the Scunthorpe guest led out of the second turn after the start and held the advantage until about four yards from the chequered flag.

Nermark had tried everything he knew to get past and the pair diced for three or more laps with Carl Stonehewer not far behind in third place.

Coming off the final bend it looked as if Parsons had done enough to hold on but the Workington number one produced a thrilling late surge to just get up for the win.

Parsons was the first to congratulate him and the best race of the season put the icing on the cake for the Comets as they moved into second place in the table.

Comets owner Keith Denham, angry and dejected after Nermark’s decision to ride in Poland, was all smiles afterwards.

“The man is a class rider and that’s why I brought him to Derwent Park. That last race win was quite phenomenal. He certainly wanted his maximum after what happened last week-end,” he said.

Nermark had also produced a thrilling pass in heat thirteen – although not so late in the proceedings – and with Stonehewer following him through the Comets had scored a 5-1 which clinched the match.

It was a comfortable win in the end for the Workington team, gaining revenge for their narrow four-point defeat at Scunthorpe last Friday.

In fact the Comets could have won even more handily but for a 7-2 for the Scorpions in heat eight.

Carl Wilkinson had been given a tactical ride and a superb split on the second turn, slicing between Joe Haines and John Branney gave him the lead which he held until the end.

Branney took second and the effect of the tactical ride would have been reduced if Haines hadn’t suffered a chain problem close to the line, allowing Byron Bekker to sweep through for third place.

Heat eight ended a run of seven successive wins for the rider in red, a fact which had helped Workington into a 30-12 lead. And before Wilkinson was handed the black and white helmet cover.

Branney’s second place in heat six meant that by then every Workington rider had collected a win or had been paid for a win.

After ten heats the Workington lead had increased to 39-24 and it was only after the interval – when the riders went into the crowd to collect for injured team-mate Barry Burchatt – that Scunthorpe seemed to find their feet.

In the final five races Workington were unable to improve on their 15-point lead as Scunthorpe enjoyed 4-2 and 5-1 heat advantages and also got a share of the points in the penultimate race.

Workington used rider replacement for the injured Burchatt and picked-up four points from the programmed rides – two to Branney, one to Charles Wright and one to Haines.

If Workington were strong at number one, they also had excellent support from heat leaders Stonehewer (11) and Kauko Nieminen (10) as well as reserve Haines (9).

Young Haines continues to make important strides and in a fortnight’s time will be up into the body of the side at number four, changing places with Wright.

But the night, in many ways, was all about Nermark – not just about his return and apology, but about his response, and really from his opening charge in heat one there wasn’t much doubt about what it was going to be.

Match facts

Workington Comets: Daniel Nermark 15, rider replacement for Barry Burchatt, Kauko Nieminen 10, Charles Wright 5, Carl Stonehewer 11, Joe Haines 9, John Branney 4.

Scunthorpe Scorpions: Andy Moore 4, Carl Wilkinson 9, Magnus Karlsson 7, Benji Compton 0, Joel; Parsons 8, Viktor Bergstrom 5, Byron Bekker 6.

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