Brilliant King leads the way as injury-hit Ipswich Witches dig deep to take all three points

Rory Schlein and Josh Bates leading Ben Barker in heat nine at Foxhall on Saturday night. PHOTO: STE

Rory Schlein and Josh Bates leading Ben Barker in heat nine at Foxhall on Saturday night. PHOTO: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches 54 Redcar Bears 38

Injury-hit Ipswich Witches dug deep to make it four home wins out of four, with a convincing victory over Redcar Bears at Foxhall Stadium on Saturday night.

The Suffolk side were hit by injury to Nico Covatti and illness to Cameron Heeps, but they showed their character much to the delight of another healthy crowd.

Skipper Danny King led the way with a brilliant captain’s performance – an 18-point maximum.

Along with Josh Bates, who guested for Heeps and rode to an excellent 12 points, including three heats wins, the Witches were simply far too good.

Redcar were never in the hunt after conceding a 5-1 maximum in heat one. By heat six they were already ten down as the Witches got ample revenge for the heavy defeat they suffered at Redcar on Thursday night.

King and James Sarjeant shot away from the start in heat one to repeat the 5-1 they scored in heat one at Redcar.

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It was a great start for the home team.

However, Danyon Hume went through the tapes in heat two and started 15 metres behind.

His partner Connor Mountain led the re-run, under all sorts of pressure from Jack Parkinson-Blackburn. The Redcar man eventually got past as Hume passed Richard Hall.

But Hall got Hume back on the final lap as the Bears secured an exciting 4-2 heat win.

Next, it was Charles Wright for Redar who went through the start as both teams started nervously. Wright went off 15 metres too and could do nothing, as King won easily and Bates picked up a solid third place.

The Witches led by four and it stayed that way after former Witches favourite Ben Barker streaked to victory in the next.

Jason Garrity was the next to go through the tapes at the start of heat five. It gifted the Witches a chance to stretch their lead and Josh Bates and Sarjeant needed no second chance as the Bears’ duo were left floundering.

Barker and King went flying elbow to elbow into the first bend in the next. It was great stuff, with King coming out on top as Ipswich extended their lead to 10.

Redcar’s Jonas Andersen took a tactical ride in heat seven to try to reduce the arrears.

They managed to do that, but just by a couple of points as Schlein produced a sublime first and second turn to hold off the Redcar duo.

Up to now the Witches were making light of their injury crisis and the good-sized Foxhall crowd were appreciating it.

Hume got the crowd on their feet as he flew round the outside of Cody Garcia on the third turn of heat eight, but with Sarjeant falling at the back, the Witches couldn’t extend their lead.

But they did in the next as Bates, who was proving a great guest for Heeps, and Schlein flew from the start to secure the home side’s third 5-1 of the night.

That race looked as though it could be the game clincher and when King won the next, the Witches were closing in on victory.

But there was drama in the first race after the interval when Garrity appeared to jump the start. Schlein pulled up going into turn one expecting a re-run which never came, much to Schlein and the crowd’s fury.

Redcar were now eight behind but Bates eased any fears of a Bears’ comeback as he gated to victory in heat 12.

King was away in heat 13 as Schlein and Barker had a great scrap for third. The two were side by side down the back straight before Barker flew into the fence. He got up ok but was excluded and the Witches had won the meeting.

Bates won the next as Schlein and Barker argued over starting positions in the final race, before King and Schlein finished with a 5-1 and King a maximum.

That didn’t stop Schlein and Barker almost coming to blows near the pit gate at the end of the race as things threatened to spill over.

Fortunately they didn’t and the Witches were left to reflect on a fine win.


Ipswich: D King 18, J Sarjeant 5+2, R/R, J Bates 12+1, R Schlein 11+1, C Mountain 3, D Hume 5+1

Redcar: J Garrity 7, C Garcia 5+1, C Wright 5+1, J Andersen 9+1, B Barker 6, R Hall 1, J Parkinson-Blackburn 5+2.

Heat details

1 King, Sarjeant, Garrity, Garcia 55.8 5-1

2 Parkinson, Mountain, Hall, Hume (15m) 60.0 7-5

3 King, Andersen, Bates, Wright (15m) no time 11-7

4 Barker, Schlein, Hume, Parkinson 57.4 14-10

5 Bates, Sarjeant, Garcia, Garrity (15m) 57.0 19-11

6 King, Barker, Sarjeant, Hall 56.1 23-13

7 Schlein, Andersen*, Wright, Mountain 57.1 26-18

8 Hume, Garcia, Parkinson, Sarjeant (f) 58.6 29-21

9 Schlein, Bates, Barker, Hall 57.1 34-22

10 King, Wright, Andersen, Sarjeant 56.8 37-25

11 Garrity, Garcia, Mountain, Schlein 58.1 38-30

12 Bates, Wright, Hume, Parkinson 58.1 42-32

13 King, Garrity, Schlein, Barker (f/x) no time 46-34

14 Bates, Andersen, Parkinson, Hume 57.3 49-37

15 King, Schein, Garrity, Barker 56.8 54-38

*tac ride points count double

Ipswich 3 pts. Redcar 0 pts.

The ‘’ Witches round off a busy week with the long trip to face Newcastle on Sunday in the Championship (6.30pm).

It will be the Witches’ fourth meeting of the week and Rider Replacement will once again be in operation at number three after Nico Covatti suffered a broken wrist in Thursday’s defeat at Redcar. It is the last meeting of James Sarjeant’s injury replacement period as we wait to find out the fitness of Kyle Newman and whether he is able to return to the track. Danyon Hume and Connor Mountain switch their reserve positions from Saturday for this meeting as captain Danny King returns to a track he knows well after a spell as a Diamond in 2014.

The Diamonds suffered a shock quarter-final play-off defeat in 2016 to the Sheffield Tigers but have opted to stick with the majority of the side in 2017. British star Robert Lambert leads the side with Steve Worrall at number five forming a powerful top two. Diamonds regular Ludvig Lindgren is back for another season and captains the side. Former Witch Ashley Morris is at number two with Lewis Rose hoping to avoid an injury hit season at three. A man who Witches fans know well from last season is Connor Coles who gets his Championship chance with the Diamonds as Danny Phillips completes the side.

A depleted Witches side was beaten in this fixture last year and it has not been a happy hunting ground for the Suffolk side who have just one draw from the last five fixtures.

Team Manager Ritchie Hawkins is confident his team can run the home side close on Sunday.

“I think we will run Newcastle close, it will be a tough meeting but I think we can come away with something,” said Hawkins.

“It’s busy and a couple of the boys have other meetings in-between but in general it’s really good and time on the bike is especially good at this time of year.

“They (Newcastle) have started well and Lewis Rose has stepped up and is going well, as is Ashley Morris. They will be strong at home and always go well at our place but in general I think they will stronger at home than away this year.”

Newcastle ‘Sapphire Engineering’ Diamonds:

1. Robert Lambert 8.70

2. Ashley Morris 4.98

3. Lewis Rose 5.97

4. Ludvig Lindgren (c) 7.69

5. Steve Worrall 8.47

6. Connor Coles 2.00

7. Danny Phillips 2.00

Team Manager: George English

Ipswich ‘’ Witches:

1. Danny King (c) 9.57

2. James Sarjeant 5.66

3. R/R for Nico Covatti 7.49

4. Josh Bates 5.07

5. Rory Schlein 7.17

6. Danyon Hume 2.00

7. Connor Mountain 2.00

Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

Referee: W. Dishington

Championship Table

Team Pl Pts

Edinburgh 4 12

Witches 6 10

Glasgow 4 10

Sheffield 5 9

Peterborough 5 9

Scunthorpe 8 7

Workington 2 6

Redcar 4 6

Newcastle 2 3

Berwick 6 0

Last five results at Newcastle:

18.09.16 L37-55

10.05.15 L43-48

25.05.14 L44-46

29.09.13 L27-65

09.06.13 D45-45