Louis heaps praise on Morris – but couldn’t risk Covatti
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Rye House Rockets 44 Ipswich Witches 46
Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches boss Chris Louis heaped praise on young reserve Ashley Morris after the team grabbed a vital Premier League win at Rye House Rockets on Saturday night.
In the fight for the final play-off spot, the Witches simply had to grab a victory to keep the pressure up on the Plymouth Devils – and they did so – with Morris coming to the fore.
The Wolverhampton-based rider scored a paid 12 points, including two vital late heat wins in heats 12 and 14, as a Danny King second place in the final race of the night, secured the Witches victory.
“Ashley was the difference, simple as that,” Louis said.
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“While Rohan Tungate and Gino Manzares had a few problems, we needed a reserve to step up to the plate and Ashley did it.
“Quite honestly we just wanted him in those two heats near the end to just go out and give it 100%. That’s what he did and he won both races. It was a great effort from him.”
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It was a hard night for the Witches who again were without finger-injujry victim, Nico Covatti.
“Nico didn’t get the practice in Italy he had hoped for and said he would race, but simply didn’t know how things may go,” Louis said.
“He left the decision to me and I felt we couldn’t take the risk of him having one or two races and having to pull out of the meeting. I know I keep saying he will be back and I would think he will against Peterborough as he has the GP Challenge the week after and is going to need to get some laps in.”
The Witches got off to a disappointing start as Edward Kennett won the first of six straight races, on his way to a brilliant 18-point maximum, and partner Robin Aspegren joined him.
But the Witches hit back straight away with Rye House reserve Danny Maassen’s bike catching fire after he retired on the centre green.
Tungate had a crash in the next before King and Cameron Heeps put the Witches ahead in heat five.
Tungate fell again in heat seven with Manzares leading. In the re-run Manzares was adjudged to have jumped the start and couldn’t catch the Rockets pair, 15m back.
Heeps and King were proving an effective pairing and they put the Witches two ahead with another maximum in heat 11, before Morris’ late show in heats 12 and 14 kept the Witches ahead.
The visitors needed a 5-1 maximum in the final race to take all four league points – winning by more than six – but they didn’t want to concede a 5-1 either, as the meeting would have been drawn.
As it was, King settled into second place behind Kennett and the Witches won by two.
The bigger play-off picture is that if Ipswich win their final meeting on Thursday at home to Peterborough, they will be 12 points clear of Plymouth who need to win their remaining three home meetings and then pick up four points on their travels at Rye House and Scunthorpe.
It’s a 50/50 call right now.
“We have done well recently and have kept the pressure up on Plymouth. That’s all we can do,” said Louis.
“We must beat Peterborough and then it’s up to Plymouth.”
Rye House: E Kennett 18, R Aspegren 4+1, A Mellgren 7+3, K Lykke 8, R/R, L Bowen 4, D Maassen 3+1
Ipswich: D King 11+2, C Heeps 11+1, G Manzares 6, R Tungate 5, R/R, T Aarnio 3, A Morris 10+2
1 Kennett, Aspegren, Heeps, King 56.1 5-1
2 Aarnio, Morris, Bowen, Maassen (ret) no time 6-6
3 Manzares, Lykke, Mellgren, Tungate (f/x) 57.5 9-9
4 Kennett, Heeps, Morris, Maassen 56.9 12-12
5 King, Heeps, Mellgren, Lykke 56.9 13-17
6 Kennett, Tungate, Aspgren, Aarnio 57.1 17-19
7 Bowen, Mellgren, Manzares (15m), Tungate (f/x) 58.6 22-20
8 Heeps, Maassen, Morris, Aspgren 58.5 24-24
9 King, Lykke, Mellgren, Aarnio (f/x) 57.0 27-27
10 Kennett, Tungate, Aspegren, Manzares 57.3 31-29
11 Heeps, King, Lykke, Bowen (f/x) 58.1 32-34
12 Morris, Mellgren, Maassen, Manzares (f/x) 58.9 35-37
13 Kennett, Manzares, King, Aspegren 58.0 38-40
14 Morris, Lykke, Tungate, Bowen 59.0 40-44
15 Kennett, King, Lykke, Heeps 57.0 44-46
Rye House 0pts. Ipswich 3 pts