Rebels grab a draw after a superb Witches performance
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Somerset Rebels 45 Ipswich Witches 45
Ipswich Witches gave themselves a good chance of reaching the League Cup semi-finals with a battling performance at Somerset on Friday night.
Only a last heat 5-1 from the home side salvaged anything for them, but the Witches picked up two points although Rye Houses’ win at Plymouth keeps them at the top of the table.
“It was a battling effort from the boys and there were plenty of positives,” said director of speedway Chris Louis.
The Witches got off to a sound start with Danny King and Ritchie Hawkins happy to keep Leigh Lanham at the back in heat one.
But the visitors took the lead in the next with a comfortable 5-1 maximum through Covatti and Stefan Nielsen.
Cameron Heeps hit the deck in the next as the home side rallied, but again the visitors struck maximum glory, as Covatti and Rohan Tungate made perfect starts and were gone.
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King won his first race of the night in heat five and already the Witches were four points ahead.
The Witches were gating well, although Josh Grajczonek for the Rebels was in excellent form too as he got the better of Tungate in heat six.
Covatti flew from the start in heat seven and with Heeps holding Josh Bates off for third place, the Witches were in a commanding six-point lead.
But the Rebels began a comeback that saw them shoot into the lead themselves.
After two drawn heats, Lanham and Grajczonek got a 5-1 over Tungate, in heat 10, the Somerset No.1 coming from last place to do so.
It clearly buoyed the home side and Kurtz and Bates gated to the front in heat 11, before King got past Bates, but couldn’t catch the other Rebel at the front.
It was all level now, but the home side went ahead for the first time in the meeting in heat 12 as Bates passed Covatti.
It was all Somerset, but the Witches dug deep and King and Tungate brought joy to the Witches fans who had made the trek west, as they produced some super team-riding to taking a crucial 5-1 in heat 13.
Covatti was continuing his brilliant form from Thursday night and he and Heeps got a 4-2 in a thrilling heat 14, which guaranteed the visitors a draw.
And that is what they got, despite King making a good start in the final heat, which was re-run after Kurtz fell, the Rebels flew past him to secure a 5-1 maximum.
1 Grajczonek, Hawkins, King, Lanham 57.6 3-3
2 Covatti, Nielsen, Compton, Bates 58.2 4-8
3 Wright, Worrall, Hawkins, Heeps (f/x) 59.0 9-9
4 Covatti, Tungate, Kurtz, Compton 58.4 10-14
5 King, Wright, Hawkins, Worrall 57.6 14-18
6 Grajczonek, Tungate, Lanham, Nielsen 58.5 16-20
7 Covatti, Kurtz, Heeps, Bates 58.8 18-24
8 Lanham, Covatti, Hawkins, Compton 58.8 21-27
9 Tungate, Wright, Worrall, Nielsen 58.9 24-30
10 Lanham, Grajczonek, Tungate, Heeps 59.1 29-31
11 Kurtz, King, Bates, Hawkins 58.2 33-33
12 Worrall, Heeps, Bates, Covatti 59.4 37-35
13 Tungate, King, Grajczonek, Kurtz 58.9 38-40
14 Covatti, Wright, Heeps, Bates 59.8 42-44
15 Grajczonek, Kurtz, Tungate, King 59.5 45-45
Somerset 1 pts Ipswich 2 pts
Somerset: J Grajczonek 11+2 , L Lanham 7, R Worrall 7+1, C Wright 8+1, B Kurtz 9, J Bates 2, B Compton 1
Ipswich: D King 8+2, R Hawkins 5+1, R/R, C Heeps 4, R Tungate 12+1, S Nielsen 2+1, N Covatti 14.