Workington Comets 46 Newport Wasps 44 (Wasps win 103-77 on aggregate).

NEWPORT Mike Manning Wasps stand to lift silverware for the first time for 12 years after reaching the final of the British Premier League Knockout Cup in Cumbria tonight.

The Wasps successfully defended a 28-point lead at Workington’s Derwent Park and will now face Glasgow Tigers in the two-legged final.

Newport built their huge advantage in the first leg of this semi final at their Queensway Meadows home ground on Saturday.

That 59-31 win proved the foundation stone to reach the final, Newport's first since they won the Premier Trophy by defeating Edinburgh Monarchs over two legs in 1999.

However having been the victims themselves of heavy defeats at Workington over the years, nothing was certain ahead of the quick-fire return.

Workington, using rider replacement for the injured Dane Peter Kildemand, brought in Scunthorpe's Finish flyer Tero Aarnio as guest for sidelined skipper Tomas Topkina, of the Czech Republic.

The Wasps were unchanged and tracked dashing Dane Charlie Gjedde in the first heat - just 24 hours after he has posted a 15-point paid maximum in the first leg.

And it was Gjedde who took the first meeting's chequered flag from Rusty Harrison - although with Anders Mellgren coming fourth, it was a 3-3 drawn heat.

Aussie duo Todd Kurtz and Mark Jones came out next and won the reserves' race 4-2, although the home team produced a similar victory in the next when Richard Lawson and Simon Nielsen got the better of Jason Doyle and Robin Aspegren.

Heat four saw Wasps skipper Leigh Lanham partnered by Kurtz - but the elder statesman of the side could only split Aarnio and Kenny Ingalls as the Comets took another 4-2.

Gjedde and Mellgren combined again in race five and the former was again on the button in winning his second-successive heat.

But it was again only a 3-3 as Mellgren came fourth again, the outcome making the score at that stage to 16-14 in favour of the Comets.

Another 3-3 was next produced when Harrison led home Lanham and Jones and that brought out Jason Doyle and Aspegren against and Gary Irving.

Lawson took it, but with the Wasps duo following him home it meant a third-successive drawn race.

The Wasps made a reserve switch in race eight with Jones coming in for Kurtz and the move worked a treat as Jones and Mellgren rode to a brilliant 5-1 maximum over Aarnio and Ingalls.

It put the Wasps ahead for the first time on the night at 25-23 and made the overall score to 84-54 in favour of the visitors.

Lawson and Nielsen scored a 4-2 against Lanham and Jones to make it all square at 27-27, but the home side suffered a blow when Aarnio withdrew from the meeting with recurrences of neck and hand injuries sustained in his country’s recent national championships.

Heat 10 was drawn 3-3 with Doyle and Aspegren finishing behind Harrison - but it was that man Gjedde who shone again in the next in taking his third consecutive chequered flag.

Mellgren managed second and the 5-1 put the Wasps back in front at 35-31 and with a place in the final now assured, it just left Lanham‘s men with the task of seeing if they could complete a rare win for the club at the venue.

It also gave ‘flu-victim Kurtz the chance to withdraw from then meeting before Workington took race 12 by 4-2 with Jones only able to split Irving and Nielsen.

Heat 13 had Gjedde seeking a fourth win on the bounce, but he was thwarted by a fine ride from Harrison with Lanham coming third.

With Kurtz sidelined, Doyle came out on his own in the penultimate heat and could only manage second and the 4-2 from Lawson and Irving meant parity at 42-42.

In the final heat, the Wasps nominated Gjedde and Doyle against Harrison and Lawson - although the race was stopped when Gjedde crashed.

The re-run saw Lawson and Harrison finish one and three with Doyle second - the outcome giving Workington the win on the night.

However nothing was going to stop Newport celebrations in at least reaching a final.

Workington Comets 46: 1 - Rusty Harrison 12(5); 2 - Tero Aarnio (Scunthorpe, guest for Tomas Topkinka) 5+1(4); 3 - Simon Nielsen 5+1(5); 4 - Richard Lawson 17(6); 5 - Rider replcaement for Peter Kildemand; 6 - Gary Irving 6(5); 7 - Kenny Ingalls 1(5).

Newport Mike Manning Audio Wasps 44: 1 - Charlie Gjedde 11(5); 2 - Anders Mellgren 4+2(4); 3 - Robin Aspegren 2+2(4); 4 - Jason Doyle 10(5); 5 - Leigh Lanham (capt) 7+1(4); 6 - Mark Jones 7+1(5); 7 - Todd Kurtz 3(2).