The Newcastle Diamonds opened their Premier Trophy campaign under disappointing circumstances. Scott Smith is yet to arrive in this country though it's hoped he will be on his way from his Australian base today. For the Berwick match Newcastle Ultrafast Gems rider Danny Hughes deputised, despite his lack of top line experience.

Mario Jirout started his Diamonds career off slowly after missing most of last season through a road traffic accident in his native Czech Republic which resulted in back injuries, and hasn't really ridden since. The Diamonds' management are 100% convinced of his star quality and know there is much better still to come.

On the upside, Richard Juul rode better than he has done for many a year to score a superb 15 points in a display of pure determination. A fact that will bode very well for his testimonial at Brough Park next Sunday (28th) at 3.00pm.