‘Changes of personnel must be considered’ – Hilton

From the left Lewis Kerr, Craig Cook, Simon Nielsen and Leigh Lanham leave the start in the opening

From the left Lewis Kerr, Craig Cook, Simon Nielsen and Leigh Lanham leave the start in the opening heat of the Ipswich v Newcastle (Premier League) meeting at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 11 June 2015. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches 43 Newcastle Diamonds 49

Ipswich Witches fell to a disappointing home defeat in the Premier League last night, going down 49-43 to the Newcastle Diamonds.

Only Nico Covatti and Rohan Tungate really performed with guest rider Craig Cook surprisingly under-par and Ritchie Hawkins and Stefan Nielsen struggling.

Newcastle were deserved winners though and earned three points.

Ipswich team boss, Phil Hilton, was not a happy man after the meeting: “Four heat wins out of 15 on our home track tells the story of the meeting and it was simply not good enough!.

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“Newcastle were quicker out of the gates all night and we struggled to stay with them and to be honest I’m surprised we only lost by six points.

“Nico Covatti again put on a good show and was our only rider who showed anything like his true form.

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“I would like to apologise to the fans for the poor display we put on tonight. This type of performance can’t carry on and we need to be winning more meetings, especially at home.

“If it means chamges of personnel then this must be considered. We will be looking for improvement tomorrow at Peterborough!”

After a delayed start due to a problem with the tapes, Newcastle’s Lewis Kerr and Witches guest Leigh Lanham jostled for the front, after a poor gate by Cook.

Kerr eventually edged ahead and kept his distance from Lanham who had to settle for second with Cook, who holds the track record at Foxhall, taking a tumble on the penultimate lap and finishing well back.

Simon Nielsen, who had raced as rider-replacement in heat one, gated well on the inside in his second successive race, leaving Ipswich’s Stefan Nielsen in his wake. Ritchie Hawkins, meanwhile, was hanging on for third for most of the race and eventually just held off Lewis Rose.

Heat three saw another unsatisfactory start with Newcastle’s Steve Worrall getting caught in the tape. When the race finally got going, Worrall and his team-mate Anton Rosen gated well, the latter heading to the front with his partner doing all he could to hold off the tenacious Nico Covatti.

It looked as thought the Diamonds were on for a maximum but Covatti eventually caught Worrall after a long pursuit to earn two points.

Another aborted start in heat four saw Rohan Tungate given a warning for an unsatisfactory start. The Australian failed to recover from that blow, eventually bringing up the rear in a big 5-1 for Newcastle, Ludvig Lindgren and Lewis Rose in control from the start.

The Witches were in trouble early on, eight points down after just four heats, but Covatti grabbed the Witches’ chequered flag of the night.

Diamonds maintained their lead after heat six, Lindgren taking a second win of the night, despite the close attention of Cook, who almost pipped him on the line. Lanham was third with Rose struggling to get going at the back.

The Witches’ deficit extended to ten points after the next race. Tungate got in the points after an aggressive start but Worrall did enough to win the race, despite a wobble on the penultimate lap.

Ten points behind, Witches put Lanham on a tactical ride in heat eight but the former Ipswich skipper could only finish second behind heat winner Rose. Simon Nielsen, as rider/replacement was third.

The hosts finally started getting their act together in heat nine and after Tungate and Covatti made an aggressive start, there was no catching the Witches’ pair, the former gaining a much-needed win in the rider/replacement spot and being well supported by the Argentinian.

Cook was the next to find some inspiration, hunting down Worrall and eventually overtaking him on the home straight in the second lap. Lanham could not get in the points though and Ipswich stayed six points behind.

Things went from bad to worse in the next race, Hawkins coming off on the third lap, having already hit the air fence earlier on. Kerr took the race win with Tungate second.

Covatti wasn’t giving up though and almost caught race winner Worrall in the next heat as the Witches stayed in the meeting, just.

Tungate and Cook earned three points for Ipswich in heat 13, but a lack of maximums cost the Witches on the night.

By the 14th heat, they could only earn a draw and Stefan Nielsen looked set to finish second behind the impressive Covatti, only to be pipped on the third lap by Rosen, who then fended off the youngster.

Kerr won the final tied heat.

Meanwhile Great Britain suffered heartbreak in the Speedway World Cup race-off in Denmark last night.

GB finished five points behind winners Poland who go into the final after notching 48 points.

USA were third, Gino Manzares scoring three points.

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches 43

Nico Covatti 13+2, Rohan Tungate 11, Leigh Lanham 7+1, Craig Cook 6+1, Stefan Nielsen 4+1, Ritchie Hawkins 2+1

Newcastle ‘Sapphire Engineering’ Diamonds 49

Lewis Kerr 14, Steve Worrall 9, Anton Rosen 7+1, Ludvig Lindgren 7, Simon Nielsen 6+1, Lewis Rose 6+1

Premier League points: Ipswich 0 Newcastle 3

Tonight the Witches travel to Peterborough in the Premier League. With Great Britain and USA out of the World Cup, King and Manzares return for the Witches, although Robert Lambert will not be back for Panthers.

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