No complaints from team boss Ritchie Hawkins as Ipswich Witches lose in last heat at Peterborough

Rory Schlein, left and Cameron Heeps

Rory Schlein, left and Cameron Heeps - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Peterborough Panthers 48 Ipswich Witches 42

For the second time this season Ipswich Witches fell in a last-heat decider at Peterborough Panthers.

Beaten 46-44 back in April, the Witches lost out again this afternoon as Jack Holder and Josh Grajczonek flew to a final race 5-1 to win 48-42 – the Witches getting a losing bonus point.

In beautiful weather and with an army of fans supporting them, the visitors started well, but never got a momentum going, winning just four heats in total.

The Panthers, who thrashed Glasgow last week, were good value for their win, while the Witches gated well, but couldn’t hold their positions, with the home side often coming from the back.

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It left team boss Ritchie Hawkins with few complaints.

“I think on a different day, with the rub of the green we could have got the victory,” said Hawkins.

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“I have got no complaints and we go away happy as I’m not sure there was much more we could have done. We put in a good performance.”

Danny King, two early heat wins for the Witches

Danny King, two early heat wins for the Witches - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

It is the second week in a row that the Witches have produced a battling performance on the road to claim a point and the boss says he is happy with how the team are coming along.

“I think we have looked solid away from home in the past few meetings and I am really pleased with where we are at,” Hawkins added.

“We will need to keep improving before the end of the year but at the moment I am quite happy and there are no complaints about the team or anything.”

The Witches got off to a great start as Danny King and Kyle Newman got the visitors off to a 5-1 advantage, King gating, with Newman passing Bradley Wilson-Dean up the inside on lap two.

Things looked good for Ipswich in the next as both Witches gated, but Peterborough’s Tom Bacon found a way past the Ipswich pairing, before Cameron Heeps fell foul of a twice run heat three as he was excluded after the first running, failing to make the two minutes in the re-run. Connor Mountain made a fine start from gate two in the next as Jack Holder and Rory Schlein roared past. But Mountain kept Bacon safely behind him as the Witches enjoyed a 11-13 lead. King won his second race of the night, with Newman doing well, battling with Paul Starke for third and coming through. It was a good first five heats from the Witches. However, things turned in race six with Schlein stuck in third place coming out of turn two and falling on the final bend.

Three riders hit the deck on the entrance to the first turn of heat seven, with all four back.

Sedgmen and Heeps were away in the re-run, but Holder was all over the pair of them, going outside Heeps and inside Sedgmen in thrilling fashion.

Newman got no further than turn one as he packed up and the Witches were behind for the first time in the meeting. Schlein had a tapes to flag win, and it looked for a while Sedgmen would win heat 10. But Grajczonek closed in, passing Sedgmen. Unbeaten Holder beat the unbeaten King as the Panthers stayed two points up. It was boiling up and Holder was again to the front in a frantic heat 13. Ostergaard went through the tapes in heat 14, but made up the 15 metres to pass Mountain as the Panthers led by two going into the last race – where they sealed the deal.


Peterborough: J Grajczonek 9, B Wilson-Dean 6+1, P Starke 6, U Ostergaard 7+2, J Holder 14+1, L Carr 0, T Bacon 6

Ipswich: D King 10+1, K Newman 4+2, C Heeps 4+2, J Sedgmen 9, R Schlein 7, N Greaves 3, C Mountain 5+3

Heat details

1 King, Newman, Wilson-Dean, Grajczonek 59.6 1-5

2 Bacon, Greaves, Mountain, Carr 62.1 4-8

3 Ostergaard, Sedgmen, Starke, Heeps (15m) 60.4 8-10

4 Holder, Schlein, Mountain, Bacon 60.8 11-13

5 King, Ostergaard, Newman, Starke 60.3 13-17

6 Grajczonek, Wilson-Dean, Greaves 60.8 18-18

7 Holder, Sedgmen, Heeps, Carr 62.0 21-21

8 Wilson-Dean, Mountain, Bacon, Newman (e/f) 25-23

9 Schlein, Starke, Ostergaard, Greaves 28-26

10 Grajczonek, Sedgmen, Heeps, Wilson-Dean 62.2 31-29

11 Holder, King, Newman, Carr 61.6 34-32

12 Starke, Heeps, Mountain, Bacon 63.8 37-35

13 Holder, Schlein, King, Grajczonek 62.1 40-38

14 Sedgmen, Carr, Ostergaard, Mountain 63.0 43-41

15 Grajczonek, Holder, King, Schlein 63.8 48-42

Peterborough 3 pts. Ipswich 1 pt.

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