Berwick Bandits 48 Newport Wasps 42.

NEWPORT Mike Manning Audio Wasps slipped to defeat at Berwick on Friday night, but still picked up a crucial point towards their bid for a British Premier League fourth-place finish.

The Wasps could have actually win the meeting on the English-Scottish border, but lost the final race of the night 5-1.

The Wasps were minus number-one heat leader Charlie Gjedde, who was unavailable to face the club he left in June to join Newport.

It mean the Wasps drafted in Ipswich Witches' Kevin Doolan, who had the misfortune to encounter engine problems when retiring in heat one.

Berwick also had problems at number one and started with a guest of their own, Scunthorpe Scorpions' David Howe.

By the end of the tenth heat of 15, the Wasps trailed 33-27 and at that stage had won only won race outright - Doolan and Anders Mellgren beating Josef Franc and Linus Eklof 4-2 in five.

However a brilliant 5-1 maxiumum from skipper Leigh Lanham and Doolan in 11 reduced the arrears to just a couple of points with only four races remaining.

Heat 12 went to the home side 4-2 before a similar scored was posted by Doolan and Lanham in the next against Lee Complin and Howe.

At only 40-38 down with two races left, the Wasps were still in with a shout of picking up two points for an overall win or one for staying inside seven points in defeat.

A 3-3 draw in the penultimate race meant the same scenario and soon Berwick nominated Complin and Franc while the Wasps named Lanham and Doolan for the meeting decider.

The Wasps duo took gates one and three, but found themselves out-raced by the home pair who took it 5-1 to register a good match win.

Berwick Bandits 48: 1 - David Howe (guest replacement for Sebastian Alden) 8(4); 2 - Rider replacement for Alex Edberg; 3 - Linus Eklof 5(5); 4 - Josef Franc 13+1(5); 5 - Lee Complin (capt) 14(6); 6 - Mitch Davey 0(3); 7 - Jade Mudgway 8+2(7).

Newport Mike Manning Wasps 42: 1 - Kevin Doolan (Ipswich Witches, guest for Charlie Gjedde) 12+1(6); 2 - Rider replacement for Jason Doyle; 3 - Robin Aspegren 8+2(5); 4 - Anders Mellgren 8+1(5); 5 - Leigh Lanham (capt) 10(6); 6 - Mark Jones 2+2(4); 7 - Todd Kurtz 2(4).

* Gjedde returns to Wasps colours on Saturday evening, when Edinburgh Monarchs visit Queensway Meadows Stadium - tapes up at 6.00pm.

* The venue's gates will be open from 4.30pm as Newport Speedway present an evening of speedway, pre-Halloween entertainment and it's end-of-season presentation party.