Ipswich Witches tame the Glasgow Tigers
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches proved far too good for poor Glasgow Tigers at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The Suffolk side were simply too quick and picked up their easiest three Premier League points of the season in their biggest win so far of the year.
However, while the result was never in doubt, the Witches still produced some thrilling racing with Ben Barker to the fore as he rode to a full 15-point maximum.
He was joined on a full score by Rohan Tungate and Cameron Heeps, while skipper Leigh Lanham dropped just one point.
This result will only be of real use if the Witches can now go to Workington tomorrow night and then the return leg of this meeting at Glasgow at the weekend and pick up points.
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The Tigers will be a very different team on their own track, but that can wait for now.
Last night, on a slightly slicker surface than usual, the home side pulled all the lines.
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Barker, Morten Risager and Lanham all produced fine passes, while Josh Bates, guesting for Ritchie Hawkins who has ‘personal problems’ to sort out, grabbed his chance with a string of excellent rides.
Barker opened proceedings with victory, enjoying a great scrap with Joe Screen, with young Bates holding onto a battling third place. Adam Ellis and Cameron Heeps streaked to a comfortable 5-1 in the next and when Rohan Tungate and Morten Risager put the Witches 10 ahead with another maximum in heat three it was looking ominous for the Scottish visitors.
The Witches were in control, but that didn’t stop the excitement.
In heat four, with Heeps at the front, captain Lanham chased and harried James Grieves for four pulsating laps, before nipping round the outside of him on the run-in to the line in exciting fashion.
Screen, who has announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the season, took a tactical ride in heat five. But Tungate kept him at bay and Risager just failed to get second as Screen rode a tidy line.
The Witches were 23-9 ahead.
Barker won the next easily, but Bates was doing himself proud as he passed Joey Ringwood and held third place comfortably.
Lanham won heat seven and then Bates brought the house down with a tapes to flag win alongside Heeps, who shepherded his less experienced team-mate home for a fourth Witches maximum.
The meeting was already over for the Tigers but the excitement hadn’t stopped, and Risager thrilled the crowd as he roared past poor Grieves once more on the run-in to the line in heat nine.
Bates and Barker were away in the next and although Barker looked for his young team-mate, Henning Bager split the pair of them as the Witches guaranteed themselves all three points.
Screen won Glasgow’s first race and Andre Compton won heat 14.
But in between, Barker thrilled the crowd again.
After finding himself going from first to third in an exciting heat 13, he shot up the inside of Lanham and Screen to pass both of them to go back to the front, allowing Lanham space to join him – it was breathtaking.
The same two repeated the feat in the final race, this time Lanham streaking to the front as Barker wound it up to pass Screen in thrilling fashion.