King in great form but Witches thrashed at Peterborough
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Peterborough 56 Ipswich 37
Ipswich Witches were sent crashing to defeat after a below-par performance at Peterborough on Monday night.
The visitors were blown away by the Panthers in the early stages – just as Peterborough were on Good Friday at Foxhall.
But whereas the Panthers came back at the Witches on Friday, there was never any sign of a Witches comeback at the East of England Showground.
This was a hugely disappointing performance from the Suffolk side, and their many fans who had travelled up the A14 and A1 were left very disappointed. It leaves the Witches’ League Cup hopes in the balance and nothing less than a win over Somerset on Thursday at Foxhall will suffice.
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“The track was the same for both sides but Peterborough adapted best,” Witches team boss Phil Hilton said.
“As the meeting wore on it was about pride really. I do want to thank the Ipswich fans who made the trip and please stick with us.”
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Trying to find positives last night however was very difficult.
Early on, the Witches were outgated and out-thought on the track.
Only No.1 Danny King was on the pace, with Cameron Heeps another who showed decent form.
But this was overall a poor show from Ipswich.
The Panthers got off to the perfect start as Richard Lawson passed King, with captain Ritchie Hawkins, returning from a rib injury, tailing off at the back. Stefan Nielsen held second place for three laps in the next before Ollie Greenwood passed him.
It was a terrible start by the Witches and it got worse with Gino Manzares giving good chase, but the Panthers were away and with the score 15-3, the Witches’ hopes of victory were already distant.
Rohan Tungate got himself into second place in heat four as Nico Covatti passed Simon Lambert in the first shared heat of the night. And King came out on a tactical ride and was leading heat five with Hawkins in third. But Hawkins fell going into turn four and was excluded. King didn’t make the gate in the re-run and had to bust a gut to pass Robert Lambert on lap three.
The 6-3 to the Witches made the scores 21-12 to the home side but the visitors had much to do. Things got harder with Tungate left at the start as the Panthers banged in their fourth maximum in the first six heats. Heeps and Manzares shared the next and Covatti made the start in heat eight. But both Panthers passed him and Hawkins fell again in the same place as he did last time.
Tungate made a half-decent start in heat nine but the Panthers went either side of him and it was all too easy for the home team.
Heeps looked competitive in the next but King had been Ipswich’s best rider by some distance, so it was no surprise he won heat 11, with Hawkins third – the Witches’ first head advantage of the night.
Nielsen was passed by Simon Lambert in heat 12 and Ulrich Ostergaard crashed out on the first lap of heat 13.
Heeps and Covatti took the lead in heat 14 but Lewis Blackbird passed Covatti. Heeps had got to grips well now with the track but crashed heavily after racing past all three riders in the last heat. King won the re-run, but this was certainly a Witches night to forget.
1 Palm-Toft, Lawson, King, Hawkins 58.9 5-1
2 S Lambert, Greenwood, Nielsen, Covatti 62.0 10-2
3 R Lambert, Blackbird, Manzares, Heeps 61.5 15-3
4 Ostergaard, Tungate, Covatti, S Lambert 61.6 18-6
5 King*, R Lambert, Blackbird, Hawkins (f/x) 60.3 21-12
6 Lawson, Palm-Toft, Tungate, Nielsen 62.3 26-13
7 Ostergaard, Heeps, Manzares, Greenwood 61.5 29-16
8 Palm-Toft, S Lambert, Covatti, Hawkins (f/x) no time 34-17
9 Lambert, Blackbird, Tungate, Nielsen 62.7 39-18
10 Lawson, Heeps, Palm-Toft, Manzares 63.1 43-20
11 King, Ostergaard, Hawkins, Greenwood 61.6 45-24
12 R Lambert, Manzares, S Lambert, Nielsen 63.3 49-26
13 King, Lawson, Tungate, Ostergaard (f/x) 61.6 51-30
14 Heeps, Blackbird, Covatti, Greenwood 63.7 53-34
15 King, R Lambert, Ostergaard, Heeps (f/x) 62.4 56-37
*tac ride points count double.
Panthers 3pts. Ipswich 0pts.
Peterborough: R Lawson 10+1, M Palm-Toft 9+1, R Lambert 13, L Blackbird 7+3, U Ostergaard 9+1, O Greenwood 2+1, S Lambert 6+1
Ipswich: D King 16, R Hawkins 0, G Manzares 4+1, C Heeps 7, R Tungate 5, S Nielsen 1, N Covatti 4+1