Witches move into top four with draw at Panthers
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Championship Peterborough Panthers 45 Ipswich Witches 45 The Ipswich Witches picked up two league points at the East of England Arena today, following a battling draw against Peterborough Panthers in the Championship, writes Steve Waller.
After 14 pulsating heats, with no more than a few points separating the sides, both teams were locked level on 42 points, going into the deciding heat fifteen.
And although Michael Palm Toft made the start, to race away for the win, the Witches pairing of Rory Schlein and Nico Covatti did well to keep home star Scott Nicholls at the back and claim the draw.
On a well prepared track there was much to cheer for the visitors, who used Adam Ellis as a guest for Danny King, with the former Witch picking up 9 points.
Schlein piled into the fence in the opener, in a tight first corner and trailed home last in the re-run, with Simon Lambert winning from an improved Cameron Heeps.
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A Panthers 5-1 in the next saw the Suffolk side fall six points behind, but they immediately pulled a couple back with Covatti winning from Palm Toft.
Following a shared heat four, won by Ellis, it was all level after the fifth, with Schlien putting his first race fall behind him to win from teammate Heeps.
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Three shared heats followed before the deadlock was broken in the ninth, with Palm Toft defeating Ellis, as the home side went into a narrow two point lead and then Nicholls finally got the better of Covatti, in a spectacular heat ten battle, but with Riss away at the front it was all square again at 30 points apiece.
Panthers guest Ben Barker won from Schlein in the next and then Covatti banged in a win in the twelfth, in a race that received a standing ovation.
Schlein won the thirteenth from Nicholls and Heeps to take the Witches two points up, but Garcia packed up on the line in the penultimate heat, with Palm Toft winning from Riss to square things up going into the last heat.
This result will be viewed as a good days work for the Witches and takes them into the top four of the league where they’ll be looking to stay to qualify for the end of season play-offs.