Devils unable to shine against Diamonds
Plymouth Devils...44 Newcastle...46
PLYMOUTH Devils' season ended with a whimper rather than the victory over Newcastle Diamonds that would have put them into the end of year play-offs.
Nothing went right for the Devils from the start with Todd Kurtz's bike failing on the line in the first heat.
Next up in the catalogue of hard-luck stories for the city team was Jake Anderson being penalised for touching the tape before heat two started.
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Anderson received a 15-yard penalty and the Devils, who had drawn heat one 3-3, were 7-5 down when they badly needed to start the meeting on the front foot.
Plymouth needed to beat Newcastle by seven points or more to ensure that they did not finish bottom of the Premier League and miss out on the post-regular season plate competition, which is for teams that did not make play-offs reserved for the top six sides.
Devils failed to win a heat until race seven when Ben Barker and Kurtz at last showed what the Plymouth team is capable of by dominating to take a 4-2 victory.
But every time the Devils took a step forward they took two back.
The next heat was drawn 3-3 and Newcastle had a six point advantage for most of the meeting.
In truth the atmosphere at the St Boniface Arena was less about the team trying to avoid the wooden spoon and more of speculation of what is going to happen next season if a new consortium takes over.
Barker and Kurtz raised the temperature slightly when they won 5-1 in heat 11 to bring Devils back to within four points of their tormentors, but Diamonds re-established their six point lead in the next heat.
Barker and Fisher then pulled it back to two points in heat 13.
But in heat 14 the Devils' season was effectively over when they lost 5-1.
That left them six points behind and although Barker and Fisher repeated their double act with a 5-1 victory there was no way back for the city side.
Devils: Ben Barker 14+1, Todd Kurtz 5+1, Cory Cathercole 4, Ben Reade 1, Ryan Fisher 13+1, James Holder 6, Jake Anderson 1+1.
Newcastle: Stuart Robson 9, Richie Worrall 6+1, Mark Lemon 5+1, Christian Henry 9+2, Ludvig Lindgren 3+2, Paul Starke 5+1, Claes Nedermark 15.