Witches end poor season with mauling at Panthers

Ipswich Witches' Anders Rowe on the way to victory in heat two

Anders Rowe on the way to victory in heat two - a rare win for the Ipswich Witches in their heavy defeat at Peterborough Panthers - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

The curtain came down on the Ipswich Witches’ 2021 season tonight with another heavy defeat on the road, as they suffered a 55-35 reverse at the hands of Peterborough Panthers, at the fast Alwalton circuit.

Dubbed Dady Army, on account of their team being made up of a host of veteran riders in the twilight of their careers, the home side made light work of seeing off the Suffolk side’s challenge.

Five maximum heat advantages in a run of six first half races saw the Panthers firmly in control, with a win from Anders Rowe in heat two the only Witch to take the chequered flag, before the halfway stage.

Craig Cook won the ninth and then a tactical riding Danny King swapped places at the front with Bjarne Pedersen, before taking the chequered flag in a titanic battle in the tenth, to stop the Panthers run of heat advantages, but with their team-mates failing to score in both heats there was no recovery coming.

King and Paul Stark filled the minor places in the eleventh, but with Chris Harris winning for the home side, the Panthers were almost home and they confirmed the inevitable when Hans Andersen forced his way past both Witches riders, to join team-mate Michael Palm Toft for a maximum heat advantage, that confirmed their, win with three heats to go.

King and Craig Cook then gave the travelling supporters something to cheer, when they combined for a visitors 5-1 in the thirteenth, but that was small consolation for those who had made the trip.

Whilst King and Cook scored the bulk of the Witches points and reserves Rowe and Kemp chipped in, there were disappointing contributions from former three time World champion Jason Crump and Jake Allen, who only registered a point apiece.

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How many of the current Witches riders line up at the tapes for the team next season remains to be seen, but this defeat rounded off a disappointing year and Witches promoter Chris Louis and team manager Ritchie Hawkins are bound to be planning major changes.

Scores

Peterborough: R/R for Ulrich Ostergaard; Bjarne Pedersen (3,2*,3,2,1,0) = 11+1; Michael Palm Toft (2*,2*,3,2,3,2) =14+2; Scott Nicholls (3,3,1*,1*2*) =10+3; Chris Harris (0,0,2*,3,0) =5+1; Jack Thomas (2,3,0,3) =8; Hans Andersen (0,3, 2*,2*) =7+2

Ipswich Witches: Danny King (2,1,3,2,3,1) =12; Paul Starke (1*,0, 0,1*,) =2+2; Jason Crump (1,0,0,) =1; Jake Allen (0,1,0) =1; Craig Cook (1*,1,3,2*,3) =10+2; Anders Rowe (3,0,0,1) =4; Drew Kemp (1,2,1,0,1) =5

*bonus point

Heat details

1. Pedersen, King, Starke, Harris 3-3 59.6

2. Rowe, Thomas, Kemp, Andersen 5-7 59.7

3. Nicholls, Palm Toft, Crump, Allen 10-8 59.7

4. Andersen, Kemp, Cook, Harris 13-11 60.1

5. Nicholls, Palm Toft, King, Starke 18-12 59.5

6. Palm Toft, Pedersen, Cook, Rowe 23-13 59.8

7. Thomas, Harris, Allen, Crump 28-14 60.7

8. Pedersen, Andersen, Kemp, Starke 33-15 60.5

9. Cook, Palm Toft, Nicholls, Rowe 36-18 59.5

10. King, Pedersen, Nicholls, Kemp 39-21 60.7

11. Harris, King, Starke, Thomas 42-24 59.7

12. Palm Toft, Andersen, Rowe, Crump 47-25 59.6

13. King, Cook, Pedersen, Harris 48-30 60-1

14. Thomas, Nicholls, Kemp, Allen 53-31 60.8

15. Cook, Palm Toft, King, Pedersen 55-35 60.1

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