Ipswich Witches win at Workington Comets, but Glasgow meet is abandoned

Adam Ellis

Adam Ellis - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Witches team manager Pete Simmons hailed his side after they pulled off their best result of the season, toppling league leaders Workington Comets on their own track, on Saturday.

Only eight weeks ago the Witches had been hammered by 32 points at Derwent Park, as the Comets destroyed Ipswich’s Knock-Out Cup aspirations.

It was a result that left director of speedway Chris Louis fuming at the time.

But the Witches return on Saturday night for a Premier League encounter had revenge written all over it.

“If that doesn’t make the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice, I don’t know what will,” Simmons said.

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“It was a great performance. Every rider dug deep, even Benji Compton got a couple of points for us and it all proved crucial.

“We have showed what we can do, home and away these last few meetings.

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“Our reserves were again excellent, with Adam (Ellis) really enjoying himself.

“And typical of Ben Barker, he took a nasty crash in his second race and damaged his knee again.

“He took an ambulance ride back to the pits, but then got up and wanted to know when his next ride was!”

Barker was, as usual, in inspired form.

He passed Tero Aarnio in heat one, before Ellis and reserve partner Cameron Heeps put the ‘Sackers’ Witches ahead in the next.

Barker crashed while giving chase to Rusty Harrison and Comets’ inspired guest replacement for Kyle Howarth, Micky Dyer.

It put the home side six points ahead and there would have been few who would have given the Witches much of a chance at this point.

However, captain Leigh Lanham lowered home No.1 Richard Lawson’s colours in heat six and when Rohan Tungate and Morten Risager gated to a maximum in the next heat, it was all level and the Witches were in the ascendency.

Teenagers Heeps and Ellis were riding outstandingly and they won both the next two races before Tungate won heat 12 and Barker and Lanham notched a 4-2 victory in heat 13 to put the Witches two points ahead. Risager and Heeps shared the penultimate race and it was left to Barker and Tungate to finish the meeting off for the joyous visiting riders and fans – Barker gating to the front from the off.

“Workington haven’t been beaten at home this season and they won at Redcar on Thursday night, they are a top side,” added Simmons.

“For us to come here and win, especially after the awful time we had here last time shows character.”

The victory takes the Witches up to fourth place in the Premier League table.

The Witches’ hopes of a glorious Premier League northern double were halted by the rain at Glasgow yesterday afternoon.

The meeting started in drizzle and the rain only got worse with the decision to abandon the meeting greeted by everyone as the right one.

The Foxhall-based Witches were leading at the time after Ben Barker and Morten Risager had won heats one and three, with Ipswich’s reserves, Adam Ellis and Cameron Heeps continuing their good form from Saturday night, with a 5-1 maximum in heat two.

“There were four or five falls and instances in those opening heats and clearly the weather wasn’t going to improve,” Witches boss Pete Simmons said.

The Witches head to Redcar on Thursday night full of confidence, with Ritchie Hawkins back in the team.

He also drops to reserve, with Heeps going into the body of the team at No.2.

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