King and Tungate secure last heat victory for Witches

Gino Manzares, left and Danny King, in good form at Peterborough. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Gino Manzares, left and Danny King, in good form at Peterborough. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Peterborough Panthers 44 Ipswich Witches 46

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches won their second league away meeting of the season in a thrilling clash at Peterborough on Friday night.

Eight points down after just four races, the Witches hit back in style and Danny King and Rohan Tungate gained a last-heat 4-2, to seal the points for the away side against a previously unbeaten-in-the-league Panthers team. It made up for the disappointing performance against Newcastle the night before at Foxhall and sent the Witches fans in the crowd home happy.

“We really needed that, the whole club needed that,” Witches team manager Phil Hilton said.

“The team showed what a really good team they are and what character they have. We were eight points down and I was nearly going for the black and white helmet!

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“Danny King and Gino Manzares rushed back from Denmark – they are both very tired – but it’s great credit to them for doing so. And Stefan Nielsen just got better as the meeting went on.

“I’m very proud of all the boys.”

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Just as they did on Thursday night against Newcastle, the Witches made another slow start against the Panthers, King getting a second place in heat one, but Stefan Nielsen and Ritchie Hawkins conceding a maximum 5-1 in the next.

Simon Lambert was out for the third heat in succession for the home side after guest Matej Kus was excluded for exceeding the two minutes after getting his bike caught in the tapes on the centre green!

It was bizarre but didn’t worry Lambert who won again.

Gino Manzares passed Michael Palm-Toft and Nico Covatti did the same, before Covatti spluttered to a halt and the Witches were eight points behind.

But King and Manzares gated to a 5-1 maximum of their own in the next to immediately reduce the arrears.

Tungate rode a terrific race to defeat Peterborough guest Brady Kurtz as the Witches started to settle into the meeting.

Indeed they pulled level as Covatti won heat seven, with Nielsen flying round the outside of Lambert and Ulrich Ostergaard on bend two of lap one, to follow his partner home.

Ostergaard won the next as Manzares passed an ailing Lambert on the final bend and the Witches took the lead for the first time in the meeting as Tungate again streaked from the tapes and Nielsen picked up third. The Witches had turned the meeting on it’s head but the Panthers were far from beaten and Kurtz won his second race of the night to bring the scores level.

And they looked set to take the lead as Ostergaard and Oliver Greenwood gated to the front in heat 11.

But King went through the smallest of gaps to take the lead and Manzares passed Greenwood,

The Panthers hit straight back as Kurtz and Ostergaard slammed home a 5-1 maximum to the home side and it was all to race for with just two heats to go. Covatti won his second race of the night in the penultimate race and with Nielsen grabbing a vital point, it was all square going into the final heat.

King made no mistake to take the lead coming out of turn one and Tungate, who backed King up well all night, held onto third as the Witches fans in the crowd rejoiced.

Peterborough: B Kurtz 13, R/R, M Kus 5+1, M Palm-Toft 6, U Ostergaard 11+1, O Greenwood 2+1, S Lambert 7.

Ipswich: D King 12, G Manzares 6+2, N Covatti 7, R/R, R Tungate 11, S Nielsen 7+1, R Hawkins 3+1

1 Kurtz, King, Lambert, Manzares 59.9 4-2

2 Lambert, Greenwood, Nielsen, Hawkins 61.3 9-3

3 Lambert, Manzares, Palm-Toft, Covatti (r), Kus (ex) 61.0 13-5

4 Ostergaard, Tungate, Hawkins, Greenwood 61.3 16-8

5 King, Manzares, Kus, Palm-Toft 60.6 17-13

6 Tungate, Kurtz, Kus, Nielsen 60.8 20-16

7 Covatti, Nielsen, Ostergaard, Lambert 61.1 21-21

8 Ostergaard, Hawkins, Manzares, Lambert (r) 61.9 24-24

9 Tungate, Palm-Toft, Nielsen, Kus 62.3 26-28

10 Kurtz, Tungate, Palm-Toft, Covatti 61.5 30-30

11 King, Ostergaard, Manzares, Greenwood 62.5 32-34

12 Kus, Nielsen, Covatti, Lambert 62.3 35-37

13 Kurtz, Ostergaard, King, Tungate 61.9 40-38

14 Covatti, Palm-Toft, Nielsen, Lambert 62.0 42-42

15 King, Kurtz, Tungate, Ostergaard 61.8 44-46

Panther 0pts. Witches 3pts.

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