Ipswich Witches fail to fire in point-less away defeat in Edinburgh

Leigh Lanham and Rohan Tungate

Leigh Lanham and Rohan Tungate - Credit: Archant

For the first time this season Ipswich Witches failed to pick up a point on their travels after they were well beaten at Edinburgh last night.

The Suffolk side knew that victory at the Armadale circuit would almost certainly guarantee them a first pick of play-off opponents.

But their inept display means they have now got it all to do tomorrow night at Foxhall, as Edinburgh make the trek down to Suffolk for the return fixture.

A point not lost on Witches team boss Pete Simmons.

“It’s a vital meeting now on Thursday for us,” he said.

“We just rather laid over and gave them three points tonight. Rohan (Tungate) went from first to last in his first race and then nearly went into the back of Leigh (Lanham) when they were on a 5-1 in their next and he has now hurt his wrist.

“We were never really in it and I was having to use tactical rides as early as heat five.”

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One of the few plus points from the night was the form of the returning Ben Barker however.

He won two of the Witches three race wins and would have made it three had the sensational Craig Cook not got Barker on the line in heat one.

“Ben was a real positive for us,” Simmons added.

“He’s walking about a big gingerly but he has won two races and almost beat Cook, who looked on a different planet tonight, in another race.

“So I’m pleased for him. But overall this wasn’t a good performance.”

The Witches appeared to be sharing heat one before Cook produced a great move on Barker as they raced to the line.

It looked to some as though Barker had got it, but Cook was given the verdict.

Ipswich’s reserves Adam Ellis and Joe Jacobs were well beaten in the next as the Witches left their gating boots behind.

Lanham and Tungate were away in heat three but Tungate went backwards and by heat five Simmons was using Barker as a tactical rider as the Witches went 12 points behind.

Barker, despite his absence out of the saddle, did well to win heat five and the disappointing Cameron Heeps nicked third to give the visitors a 7-2 heat advantage and reduce the deficit on the night to Edinburgh 20 Ipswich 13.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors from Suffolk. And when Morten Risager could only come second on the Witches second and final tactical ride, the game was over for the visitors.

Lanham and Risager continued to battle manfully, but Tungate’s wrist problem ruled him out of the meeting and with the visiting reserves having 11 races between them and only scoring three points, the Witches were never going to pick up even a point.

Although the Witches hopes of a top-two place are still very much in their own hands, they will have to do better than this in their final two Premier League meetings – at home to Edinburgh at Foxhall tomorrow night and at Somerset on Friday.

With Ben Barker riding for Birmingham on Friday night, the Witches have booked Aaron Summers, the Redcar racer, to ride at No1 at the Oak Tree Arena.

1 Cook, Barker, Sneddon, Heeps 57.0 4-2

2 Carr, Fricke, Ellis, Jacobs 57.5 9-3

3 Pijper, Lanham, Tabaka, Tungate (ret) 56.1 13-5

4 Vissing, Fricke, Risager, Jacobs 57.1 18-6

5 Barker*, Pijper, Heeps, Tabaka 56.6 20-13

6 Cook, Risager, Sneddon, Ellis 55.8 24-15

7 Lanham, Vissing, Carr, Tungate (f/x) 57.3 27-18

8 Sneddon, Fricke, Heeps, Jacobs 57.4 32-19

9 Pijper, Risager*, Tabaka, Ellis 57.1 36-23

10 Cook, Lanham, Sneddon, Jacobs 56.4 40-25

11 Barker, Vissing, Carr, Heeps (f) 58.0 43-28

12 Pijper, Fricke, Jacobs, Ellis 58.0 48-29

13 Cook, Vissing, Risager, Barker (ret) 57.2 53-30

14 Tabaka, Lanham, Jacobs, Carr (f) 57.2 56-33

15 Cook, Risager, Lanham, Pijper 56.6 59-36

*tac ride points count double

Edinburgh 3pts Ipswich 0pts

Edinburgh: C Cook 15, D Sneddon 6, T Pijper 11, J Tabaka 5, C Vissing 9+1, L Carr 5+2, M Fricke 8+4

Ipswich: B Barker 11, C Heeps 2, R Tungate 0, L Lanham 10+1, M Risager 10, A Ellis 1, J Jacobs 2+1

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