Captain Fantastic Lanham grabs Witches draw
Scunthorpe 45 Ipswich 45
LEIGH Lanham produced a captain’s ride in heat 15 of the ‘Sackers’ Witches opening Premier League meeting of the season to snatch two valuable points at champions Scunthorpe on Friday night.
Lanham and Ben Barker went into the final race needing a 4-2 to draw and a 5-1 to win.
But with Barker on Rohan Tungate’s bike due to his own playing up, it looked a tall order, especially with Scunthorpe captain Josh Auty away and gone from the start.
But Lanham caught Auty up and passed him on the inside of the final bend and with Barker third, it was a great draw for the visitors.
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“If you had said before the meeting we would get a draw, I think we would have taken that,” team manager Pete Simmons said.
“All the boys are buzzing, it’s a great start to our Premier League campaign and at a track where we have hardly scored more than about 36 before!”
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It was the home side who struck first with Morten Risager and Tungate on the receiving end of a home 5-1 in heat three. Birks was in good form and he lowered Barker’s colours two races later, before young Adam Ellis did the same to Auty in the next.
The Witches were gating well, but being passed by the home stars, before Cameron Heeps, again impressing, and Lanham gated to a 5-1 maximum in heat nine to bring the scores to just two points the difference, with the home side leading 28-26. However, that only lasted one race as again Risager and Tungate conceded ground to the home side.
Lanham was racing well now and he won the vital heat 13, as Auty stopped the scores from levelling up by nipping past Barker on the line.
It was boiling up to a another cracker and Risager and the impressive Heeps made sure it was a last-heat decider.
In heat 15 Lanham did the business for Ipswich who travelled home south delighted with two points, the only downside being Jari Makinen’s scoreless return.
The Witches now need to beat Plymouth at home in their final League Cup meeting – by six points or more – to qualify for the semi-final stages.