Danny King column: Pass the Night Nurse, I’m off to bed... Then bring on another cup final!

Nathan Greaves and Danny King hold off Todd Kurtz at Sheffield. Greaves has had a fine season for th

Nathan Greaves and Danny King hold off Todd Kurtz at Sheffield. Greaves has had a fine season for the Witches at reserve. All photos: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

What a hectic few weeks it has been and how untimely for me to start feeling under the weather.

Cameron Heeps crashes behind Sheffield guest Scott Nicholls in heat five of the Ipswich v Sheffield

Cameron Heeps crashes behind Sheffield guest Scott Nicholls in heat five of the Ipswich v Sheffield KO Cup clash last week. Thankfull Cam walked away unscathed. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

It’s been Championship Pairs finals, Championship play-off finals, Premiership promotion/relegation finals, Championship Riders’ finals, Championship KOC semi-finals.

It’s been non-stop and right at the start of it, I have come down with a heavy cold I can’t seem to get rid off.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s my job, riding speedway and I just have to get on with it, just as the average man or woman has to get on with going to work not feeling great.

But sometimes, just sometimes it isn’t good, riding a speedway bike at 60mph with no brakes and suddenly realising you can’t get your breath. It’s a bit frightening to say the least.

That happened to me at Glasgow at the weekend at the Championship Riders’ final.

I won my first race off the inside gate and shot away to victory, but already I was not feeling good.

The Witches had beaten Sheffield in the knock-out cup semi-final, second leg, the night before (more of that later) and I didn’t get to sleep till 4am Saturday morning, I was feeling pretty crap to say the least. We had to leave for Glasgow at 10am.

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I don’t like to let promoters and fans down by not riding unless it is absolutely essential and I didn’t consider a heavy cold, however rubbish I was feeling, to be a good enough reason to knock it on the head.

However, after my first race win, things went downhill pretty rapidly and in my third race I found myself struggling for breath on the final lap. It wasn’t nice and although I completed the meeting, I went home on Saturday night, getting home at 4.30am, and rested up – if only for a day before Leicester secured their place in the Premiership for next season after the Lions completed the job we had started at Sheffield the week before and won our promotion/relegation play-off clash.

By the time that finished on Monday night, I was knackered and after taking the boys to nursery on Tuesday morning, I took some Night Nurse (I’m supposed to say others are available), and slept for hours and hours...

Which is where I am up to now.

But a little back track....

As I said, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks or so since we last spoke.

From the left, Witches promotor Chris Louis, team manager Ritchie Hawkins and guests Mason Campton a

From the left, Witches promotor Chris Louis, team manager Ritchie Hawkins and guests Mason Campton and Ty Proctor pictured ahead of the Ipswich v Sheffield KOC match. Both riders proved excellent guests for us. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I won’t go over too much old ground, just to say congratulations to Sheffield on their play-off victory over us.

Over the two legs they were better than us and we were disappointed to leave Owlerton with a 16-point deficit to make up. We got close for a time, but an untimely heat eight crash by Kyle Newman sealed our fate really and the Tigers never looked back.

I just want to say a word about the fans.

The people of Ipswich and Suffolk turned out in their numbers to support us that night at Foxhall and on behalf of the riders we want to say a huge thanks.

I have never heard such a roar when Cameron Heeps and Kyle Newman got a 5-1 early on to put us ahead on the night.

Speedway is alive and kicking at Ipswich that’s for sure.

As well as that promotion/relegation clash for Leicester - again against Sheffield - me and Rory Schlein entered the Championship Pairs and after an opening 7-2 victory, we were confident and looking good.

However, in our second race, poor Rory hit a wad of dirt on the outside of the track which had built up – and took a nasty tumble.

He was pretty knocked up but fortunately not seriously hurt.

So, it left me trying to win a meeting where the winner gets four points and the second and third place riders get three and two respectively (even my maths knows that’s five!).

That meant I couldn’t possibly gain a heat advantage on my own unless another rider packed up or got excluded!

I tweeted Rory to say thanks for leaving me on my own in a pairs event!! He has a sense of humour!

It just leaves me to talk about the knock-out cup semi-final with... yes you’ve guessed it... Sheffield.

We went to Owlerton determined to get revenge for the play-off final defeat but we were dealt a blow after just a few heats when Kyle Newman crashed out of the meeting with a damaged shoulder.

That was a huge blow, as we were already without Rory Schlein after his crash in the Pairs and of course we are still without Justin Sedgmen.

But the boys stuck to their task and our brilliant guest Ben Barker rode his socks off for us before suffering a horrible crash in the final race.

That was a huge blow although I obviously didn’t see it as I was leading the race.

But everyone has told me it was nasty. I’ve spoken to Ben since, he’s back home but awaiting an operation on his lip which he badly damaged in the crash.

The second leg the next night was a triumph.

We were on it from the off and in Ty Proctor and Mason Campton we had two guests who hadn’t just come to pick up a bit of money, but knew how important it was to the club to win the meeting.

Thanks to them and the brilliant Nathan Greaves, who was outstanding, everyone did their part and now we look forward to the KO Cup final next week against either Peterborough or Glasgow.

Personally and for obvious travelling reasons, as well as for both promotions who I am sure will enjoy swelled crowds, I would like Peterborough to get through to race us.

But whoever it is, we want to end the season with silverware.

We are at home next Thursday in what could be the first or second leg of the final as far as I am aware.

See you then for our final meeting of 2017 at Foxhall.

I’m back off to bed....


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