An agonising last heat loss did not spoil the positives from the start to the season and a new era of cycle speedway racing at Cramlington.
Northumbria Vikings proved they can live with the best as they pushed Edinburgh Falcons all the way in a 90-88 defeat.
The opening day on the brand new track could not have had a better meeting.
Sadly having lead from heat one, Northumbria could not quite hold out.
The final heat saw the Falcons needing an unlikely 7-3, but that is just what they got.
Dougie Morgan was the hero for the Scots, out-gating and out-battling Dan Redshaw from the start, then sailing off in front as Mikey Hewitson and Jason Keith had a battle behind.
At one point it looked like Keith had done it, riding Hewitson to the extremities of the track, but the Scottish No. 1 blasted round the outside going into the first corner of lap three and held on.
It had all started so well for Northumbria, Mark Mulvey and Michael Parr taking a maximum in the opener with Jake Slight looking off the pace, though Parr was lucky to be in a re-run of the heat having got his big crash in early this time.
A good couple of shared heats followed with Jack Watson looking fast and then Gavin Parr shielding new regular partner Redshaw ahead of Hewitson in heat three.
Michael Parr shrugged off the pain of earlier to win heat four, and with Scott Latimer able to take advantage of the ailing Slight, the Vikings had built up a six-point lead that they were to maintain until the half-time break.
Heat ten saw the Falcons pull back within two points, but the narrow lead was maintained thanks to a brilliant pass by Watson on Hewitson in the next race.
Better was to follow in heat 13 as Gavin Parr cleverly brought Redshaw round the pack to take a 7-3 and restore the Vikings’ lead at six again.
A bad fall for Watson in heat 14 put him out of the meeting and proved a decisive blow, the Falcons taking a 7-2 in the re-run.
Gavin Parr closed out his meeting with a straightforward win, but partner Mulvey’s fall in heat 16 cost the Vikings much needed points.
The impressive Simon Watson, who was making his competitive debut in cycle speedway (apart for a single Euro vets meeting), teamed up with Michael Parr to share the penultimate heat, meaning all Keith had to do was avoid total defeat in the finale and the Vikings would take something from the meeting.
Unfortunately it just was not to be as lady luck deserted them just when they needed her most,.
The Falcons team manager said he was glad they managed to get the two points, knowing that everyone else would now have to come and try and do the same.
If the same effort and commitment is put in throughout the season, especially with more riders to come in like Dan Wharrier and John Wilson, continued improvement from the younger group and a fantastic team and club spirit always shown, this kind of day can be a regular day at Cramlington, and maybe next time it will end with a win for the Vikings.